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State Government of Victoria

Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership

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Our region
Our Regional Partnership: bringing you up to date
Our Regional Partnership: latest news
Our Regional Partnership members
Have your say

Our region

Our region in central western Victoria encompasses one of the world’s great grain growing areas. It is home to many small, vibrant communities and is served by the major regional centres of Horsham and Stawell. The region has relatively low levels of unemployment and provides residents and visitors with recreational and outdoor pursuits in vast and open landscapes.

Home to some of Victoria’s iconic natural attractions, including the Grampians National Park, the Wimmera River, major deserts, wetlands and lakes, our region includes:

Map of the Wimmera-Southern Mallee partnership region

Our Regional Partnership: bringing you up to date

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership is one of nine Partnerships across the state, established by the Victorian Government, recognising that local communities are in the best position to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by their region.

We started work in 2016 and held our first public Assembly in Horsham in October 2016. Following this, we presented the priorities which came from our first Assembly to Government.

Our priorities covered areas including improving early childhood development, securing vital community infrastructure (focussing on Local Government sustainability), creating a Networked Grains Centre of Excellence, supporting a vibrant tourism industry and improving mobile and digital connectivity.

The 2017/ 18 Victorian Budget brought outcomes for the Wimmera Southern Mallee region including:

  • Funding to develop a business model for a Networked Grains Centre of Excellence to advance the WSM region’s competitive advantage in agri-science;
  • Funding for future planning to develop a thriving tourism industry in Wimmera Southern Mallee;
  • More than $500 million to improve regional roads including the Western Highway from Stawell to the South Australian border;
  • The $45 million Connecting Regional Communities Program which will bring better broadband, mobile coverage and WiFi hubs to regional Victoria.

Find out more about the Victorian Budget 2017/18 outcomes for Victoria's regions

We held our second Regional Assembly, also in Horsham, in August 2017 where the Premier announced the region would be home to innovative early years service delivery trials.

Partnership newsletter

Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership newsletter - February 2018

Regional Assembly snapshot


The Partnership has since taken the learnings from our 2017 Assembly and distilled these into priorities to present to Government.

Our 2017 Regional Priorities can be found here.

Who are the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership members?

David Jochinke

David Jochinke – Chair

David Jochinke is a third generation grain and livestock farmer living in north west Victoria.  David holds numerous positions of responsibility, at a regional, State and National level.  He is currently, President of the Victorian Farmers Federation, a Board Member of Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water and Board Member of the National Farmers Federation.

David is a past recipient of the Nuffield Australian Farming Scholarship, completed his Diploma in Applied Science (Ag Services) and is an active contributor to his local community including membership of the Wimmera Machinery Field Days Committee, the Wallup Ag Group, the Northern Wimmera CFA Brigade and Committees for Birchip Cropping Group and Wimmera Farming Systems.

Emma Vogel

Emma Vogel – Deputy Chair

Emma is  a partner in Belyana Partnership (north west Victoria) and Director of  Sustainable Project Services, a company that provides project management services and advice to the public and private sector, wanting to invest or develop projects in regional Victoria. Emma has worked for Rio Tinto in QA, planning and production and in Development, Technical Services and Management roles for Astron and Australia Zircon. An active member of her local community, Emma provides pro bono professional services  to community groups and is the  President  of the Donald Kindergarten. She has a passion for keeping  rural communities  viable and economically sustainable.

Robyn Gulline

Robyn Gulline

Robyn Gulline is a Director of Gulline Farms, she is a member of the Regional Development Australia Grampians Committee, a board member of Wimmera Development Association, and is Vice Chair of Partners in Grain Victoria/Tasmania. Robyn is passionate to see the Wimmera Southern Mallee become a bright and vibrant region, with a diverse and growing population, a prosperous economy, strong employment, numerous TAFE and tertiary educational course opportunities, quality health services, a great place to live and a must visit tourist destination.

Ralph Kenyon

Ralph Kenyon

Ralph Kenyon is the Executive Director of the Wimmera Development Association.  Ralph is also a Director of Victorian Regional Community Leadership Program, holds a Masters of Business Administration and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Ralph is passionate about the sustainable development of the Wimmera balancing economic, social and environmental issues and working closely with the community to build resilience and strength.

Catherine Morley

Catherine Morley


Wendy Sturgess

Wendy Sturgess

Wendy Sturgess is Chief Executive Officer of Wimmera Uniting Care, a not-for-profit community service organisation. Wendy has a strong background in community and the social services sectors. Wendy is committed to working with the region to create effective strategies aimed at lowering suicide rates and preventing  violence against women and children.

Regional Development Australia representative

John AcklandJohn Ackland
John Ackland is Chief Executive Officer of Skillinvest Ltd (incorporating Longerenong College). John is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Group Training Association of Victoria. John is currently the Chair of the Wimmera Settlement Committee and a member of the Regional Development Australia Grampians Committee. John is committed to assist young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and migrants into employment.

Victorian Government representative

Terry Garwood - Deputy Secretary, Local Infrastructure - Department of Environment Land Water and Planning

Local Government CEOs

Greg Wood

Greg Wood - CEO, Hindmarsh Shire Council

Mr Greg Wood has more than 13 years’ executive and management experience in local government. Prior to being appointed CEO at Hindmarsh Shire in 2016, he was Director of Community Services and Emergency Management at the City of Casey. Greg has also held the position of Manager of Community Services at Port Phillip City Council.  Greg has a strong reputation for delivery of quality services to the community, and had previously been responsible for budgets and managing large numbers of staff. Greg’s aim is to build on the considerable strengths of Hindmarsh Shire Council by supporting the needs and aspirations of the people of Hindmarsh.

Michael Bailey

Michael Bailey - CEO, Northern Grampians Shire Council

Michael Bailey is the Chief Executive Officer of Northern Grampians Shire. Michael returned to the region in 2015 after 4 years in Bendigo as CEO of Bendigo Regional YMCA. Michael has a long history in community development and has worked in the recovery roles after bush fire (2006) and drought. Michael is committed to working with the community to grow and develop in all forms from financial, social and environmental. Michael is passionate about the region and all it has to offer.

David Leahy

David Leahy - CEO, West Wimmera Shire Council

Mr David Leahy joined West Wimmera Shire Council as its CEO on 1 February 2016. He previously spent seven years as Infrastructure Director with Swan Hill Rural City Council. During that time he was acting CEO on a number of occasions Previously David has worked at Naracoorte-Lucindale Council in infrastructure roles, including two as Operations and Technical Services Director. David started his career at Whyalla City Council, followed by sixteen years with the SA State Road Authority, where he oversaw multiple construction sites within the State.

Ray Campling

Ray Campling - CEO, Yarriambiack Shire Council

Yarriambiack Shire Council CEO since 2003 prior to that Director Community Services and Director Operations at Mildura Rural City Council for 6 years. Director Community Services and Manager Recreation Services at Parramatta City Council for 5 years and prior to that Manager Parks and Recreation at Lake Macquarie City Council for 3 years. Commenced Local Government career with Portland City Council as the Municipal Recreation officer.  Previous to being employed in the Local Government sector worked for the Canberra YMCA, ACT and Western Australian Basketball Associations. Very proud and passionate White Ribbon Ambassador and support Richmond Tigers, Canberra Raiders and the ACT Brumbies.

CEO, Horsham Rural City

Have your say

Our Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership engage page is the place to go to let us hear your views or to contact the Partnership.

2017/18 Victorian Budget outcomes for Wimmera Southern Mallee

State-wide Budget Investments benefiting regions:

Regional Victoria will share in a range of significant state-wide investments that address a range of Regional Partnership priorities including:

  • $29 million for priority initiatives by the Partnerships, as well as funding to enable more comprehensive engagement in each region and to undertake further development of regional priorities.
  • $45 million to the Connecting Regional Communities Program to support digital initiatives such as broadband trials, digital agricultural applications and blackspot minimisation.
  • $1.45 billion for upgrades to regional rail infrastructure across the state.
  • 25% reduction in the payroll tax rate for regional businesses – expected to benefit 4,000 businesses.
  • $50 million to double the First Home Owner Grant to $20 000 for new homes in regional areas.
  • $1.7 million to re-establish the Victorian Rural Women’s Network (RWN) to promote women’s economic participation and professional development.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership highlights include:

  • Funding to develop a business model for a Networked Grains Centre of Excellence to advance the Wimmera Southern Mallee region’s competitive advantage in agri-science
  • Funding for future planning to develop a thriving tourism industry in the Wimmera Southern Mallee region.

Find out more about the Victorian Budget 2017/18 outcomes for Victoria's regions

Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership 2017 Priorities

Theme Regional Partnership Priority
Investment in Early Years 1. Support WSM children aged 0-6 to flourish
Regional Capability Development   2. Ensure Local Government can operate sustainably  
Diversified Economy   3. Activate prosperity through Economic Diversification, with a focus on Agriculture and Tourism
Enabling Infrastructure -Digital Connectivity 4. Increased access to high quality mobile and Internet connectivity.
Integrated Regional Planning 5. Facilitate Integrated and publicly available Regional Planning across the whole WSM region
Regional Service Delivery 6. Enable Co-ordinated Regional Service Delivery
Enabling Infrastructure- Roads & Public Transport 7. Increase connectivity & prosperity through improved transport infrastructure,  including roads and public transport


Regional Matters Spotlight

Last Updated: 13 March 2018