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Guide to help creative projects in rural Victoria

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Councils seeking to add to the 11,000 people already involved in creative industries in rural Victoria now have a new source of practical ideas and inspiration.

The Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) guide identifies opportunities to attract and better support creative industries in rural communities.

RCV’s Supporting Creative Industries through Technology: Learning to Date, provides tips, guidance and case studies for rural councils wanting to bolster creative industries in their municipalities.

The guide highlights the diversity and importance of creative workers and creative industries in rural Victoria.

RCV Chair, Cr Rob Gersch said the guide is the result of an RCV project which began with an economic analysis of the creative sector, produced an opportunities paper and then offered funding for the three pilot programs in Baw Baw, East Gippsland and Hepburn Shire councils.

“Already 5,500 creative businesses are located in rural Victoria, bringing the benefit of their entrepreneurialism to the towns and communities in which they operate. Creative people are attracted to country towns by their amenity, affordability and the quality of life in rural areas, as well as the warm country welcome. And, of course, they boost rural populations and bring welcome social and economic diversity to our towns. It’s a great fit! Our research shows creative people also have a higher propensity to business ownership and self-employment,” he said.

“The creative and cultural industries are a broad but interconnected field spanning arts, culture, screen and design. The guide and the council case studies show that telework, creative hubs, co-working, creative champions and building technological capability, particularly when communities have access to broadband, all present opportunities for rural communities,” Cr Gersch said.

“The pilot projects were quite varied and all provided valuable insights on their journey,” he said.

The guide includes examples from Lorne, Clunes and Kyneton and identifies towns in the north east of Victoria (Beechworth, Yackandandah, Bright, and Milawa) and central Victoria (Castlemaine, Daylesford, Macedon and Maryborough) among the hotspots where creative industries make considerable economic contributions to the towns.

“The guide outlines how rural councils and creative businesses can work together to promote and develop opportunity for creative workers and industries in rural Victoria. This might involve updating some of our more traditional economic development approaches to meet the needs of a contemporary industry,” Cr Gersch said.

“We hope the guide will be shared widely to assist creative people and creative industries to progress their ideas for rural Victoria with their local council.”

RCV is the alliance of Victoria’s 38 rural councils. It supports and promotes sustainable, liveable and prosperous rural communities, including a program of activities focussed on developing practical solutions to issues shared by the state’s rural councils and communities. The Supporting Creative Industries through Technology: Learning to Date Guide is part of the Changing Role of Rural Councils Series.

Rural Councils Victoria is supported with funding from the Victorian Government’s $3.3million Networked Rural Councils program.

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