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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

How to Achieve Effective Business Planning for Rural Community Groups.

Based on the case study: Watershed 2000 rural community development group, the areas covers a 30km radius around Mortlake, South West, Victoria.

Name of Leader:

Lee-anne Mintern, NRE, Hamilton, South West, Vic.

Names of Participants:

John Barker, Roy Murray-Prior, Robert Chaffe, David Kennedy, Peter Holden, Stephanie Andereata, Jeremy Kimon, Terry Parmiter, Jim Lewis, Mardi McLeod, Laurie Lumsden, Peter Tonelli, Megan McNichall, Roger Tyshing.

Main points of discussion

  • All stakeholders need representation ie. Better representation from town people.
  • All stakeholders need ownership of the business plan development process.
  • Having someone from completely outside the community to facilitate the initial process.
  • Need to look at the business development from a hierarchy viewpoint.
  • All stakeholders need to have similar core values and principles.
  • We need to find ways of how to engage the urban and rural community to come together.

Major outcomes (what have you achieved from this discussion; how can this make a difference; what else do you need to do?)

  • Need to develop key relationships with town and country i.e. Bank managers, school principal, shire representative, local butcher etc.
  • Develop a rolling network to spread the word to assist in community engagement and involvement in helping the development of an effective community business plan.
  • Start to plan for a community bank before the other close shop. (Ask existing banks to leave the town first).
  • Invite a motivational speaker to come and speak to create enthusiasm.
  • Concentrate on the education arm of the community business plan first to start to engage the community.
  • Encourage greater shire participation and get them to take on some of the community group’s issues and ask for more resources for new and existing community projects.
  • Invite a facilitator from outside the community to help develop the business plan process i.e. Viv Waters, Terri Parmiter (has papers about developing facilitated discussion with community groups- try his email for more information)
  • Need to attract funds i.e. Local Rural Solutions funding, to put on a rural community development officer to assist in the implementation of the business plan.
  • To be effective the business plan needs to be visionary in approach but also needs to be inclusive in regard to the whole community realistic and achievable in terms of short term (1 year), intermediate (3-5years) and long term (10 + years).

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