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Future plans focus on our strengths

The launch of ‘The Future of the Upper Murray’ project in Corryong last Thursday drew an audience of more than 60 people who heard what plans are in place for the region’s growth.

The project is headed by Dr Juliette Milbank, a mechanical engineer, researcher and writer who has lived in the North East for the past 18 years.

At the launch, she emphasised that the project will truly encompass the Upper Murray, covering an area on both sides of the Murray River stretching from Biggara and Khancoban to Tooma, Jingellic and Walwa, Burrowye, Koetong, Lucyvale and the Nariel Valley.

“It will focus on the development of strategic and innovative long-term plans to take advantage of local regional strengths, natural assets and community passions” she said.

Dr Milbank started in her role late last year and has been getting to know local organisations and people in various sectors ahead of starting interviews next month.

“We will undertake an in-depth analysis of the region, identify potential economic opportunities and then develop the preferred community concepts,” she explained.

These will be considered by a number of stakeholders and at a later stage, they will also be guided by a steering committee of community representatives and those to be progressed will ultimately be decided by Upper Murray Inc. (UMI).

The initiative will deviate from traditional methods in that multiple organisations will be brought together to develop opportunities instead of one organisation developing a single project. This may include opportunities for economic activities, training, research and other community programs.

“One of the advantages of the project is that it has a sound base from previous strategic work that has taken place in the region including the Upper Murray 2030 Vision, Towong Shire Strategic Plans and the 2021 Upper Murray Community Recovery Plan,” Dr Milbank added.

Several regional organisations and community groups also had displays at the launch.

Over the next three months Dr Milbank will conduct a comprehensive regional analysis by talking to local people in business, farming and the community to find out their perspectives on the strengths and underused gems of the region and their ideas for the future.

The project is expected to run for two years with scope to extend it.

‘The Future of the Upper Murray’ is a collaboration between Upper Murray Inc, the Upper Murray Community Recovery Committee, Towong Shire Council, RMIT University and the Victorian government.

Funding for the project is part of the Victorian Forestry Plan as the timber industry transitions out of native forest logging.

The local economic development program is separate to the support packages that are being provided to the forestry businesses and their employees.

For further information visit the ‘Future of the Upper Murray’ Facebook or Instagram profiles or subscribe to newsletter updates at https://uppermurrayinc.

Corryong Courier 23 February 2023

This article appeared in the Corryong Courier, 23 February 2023.

Related story: Take a fresh look at our future


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