Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Tools to help small townships online

An online toolbox which aims to help small townships adapt to change, was launched in Axedale last week.

BARBARA SUNGAILA September 19, 2013 4:36am

Transformative Towns Steering Group chair Keith Baillie and Loddon Mallee Regional Development Australia Committee chair Jenny Dawson.

An innovative online toolbox, which will help small townships adapt to change, was launched in Axedale last Wednesday.

The Transitioning Towns Toolbox, developed by the Transformative Towns Steering Group, was a key priority identified in the Loddon Mallee Regional Strategic Plan.

Group chair Keith Baillie said small towns dominated the Loddon Mallee landscape, with the majority of them undergoing significant social or economic change.

‘‘This toolbox recognises the vital contribution of small towns to the region and provides them with tools to assist in this change,’’ he said.

Eighty-four per cent of the Loddon Mallee region’s townships are classified as small towns, having a population of less than 3000.

Mr Baillie said all small towns faced challenges, whether from changes in population or in the economy.

‘‘The aim of this project is to provide new tools to assist communities to make positive and sustainable changes, drawing on the drive and entrepreneurial spirit that our small towns are known for,’’ he said.

The toolbox guides the reader through understanding their community, its role in the region, and what actions make an impact in small towns now and into the future.

‘‘In developing the toolbox, we worked closely with local government as well as community leaders, through workshops held earlier this year,’’ Mr Baillie said.

‘‘Local government has an important role to play in supporting small town communities to plan for their future, and using the toolbox, will take an active role in partnering to strengthen outcomes.’’

Loddon Mallee Regional Development Australia Committee chair Jenny Dawson said the regional priority recognised the importance of small towns to the region and aimed to create a shared understanding of the changing nature of such towns and how they could meet their future needs.

‘‘Our region has strong communities with dedicated local leaders that are working hard to strengthen their towns,’’ she said.

She said the toolbox was an additional resource that offered a fresh perspective and new ideas.

The toolbox includes more than 30 practical, evidence based and interactive tools and is available online at

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