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The Upper Yarra Valley Local Development Strategy (LDS) project will identify and develop ideas for innovation and diversification that support local growth and bring long-term economic, environmental and social benefits to the Upper Yarra.

The Upper Yarra region was identified as one of eleven communities to benefit from the Forestry Transition funding for a LDS. The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) has partnered with RMIT University, and are supported by Council to deliver the project.

How to be involved

After reading about the draft and about the innovation opportunities, please share your feedback or suggestions in the feedback form below.

Interested in being involved in Stage 2 Entrepreneurial Discovery Workshops (EDP)?
They will commence in February 2024 and will review, refine & assess the innovation opportunities!

Submit an EOI here.

The team will be out and about across Yarra Ranges while the consultation is open.

Friday 24th November @ YV ECOSS Market in Wesburn 3.30pm - 8pm

Friday 1st December @ Waterwheel Twilight Market, Warburton
3.30pm - 8pm

Monday 4th December outside Woolworths Yarra Junction 1pm – 4pm

Monday 4th December DEECA Office Powelltown 6:30pm-7:30pm

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You will need to sign up to Shaping Yarra Ranges, but then we can keep you in the loop with updates and opportunities to be involved in this project.

Innovation Opportunities

Earlier in 2023 we undertook research, analysis and conducted stakeholder consultations. We gained valuable knowledge, insights and identified the following six proposed innovation opportunities.

Review the draft Upper Yarra Context Analysis for more information on each of the proposed opportunities and share your feedback on the form below.

What we heard

Stage 1A: Developing the draft Context Analysis

From February to September 2023 we conducted research, analysis and consultations with community, business, education and government.
The data from the desktop analysis and community interviews helped shape the draft Upper Yarra Context Analysis and identified the following strengths, challenges and innovation opportunities which have been recommended for further investigation in the Stage 2 - Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP).
  • Natural environment
  • Community strength
  • Proximity to Melbourne
  • Tracks and trails
  • Agriculture
  • Community diversity
  • Rural character
  • History and heritage
  • Sports and sports clubs
  • Tourism
  • Yarra River
  • Forest
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Transport
  • Risk of bushfires, floods, storms
  • Abandoned and underutilised buildings
  • Tourism
  • Lack of local employment
  • Divided community
  • Poor infrastructure
  • Limited affordable housing
  • Limited opportunity for growth
  • Lack of trust in government
  • Low socio-demographics
  • Planning restrictions and bureaucracy

Nature Based Tourism – The “Walking Economy”

Multi-day walking routes with accommodation options along the Yarra Valley and in the surrounding mountains and forests, that take in the natural beauty of the region.

Artisan Agriculture and Food Production

Artisan food and drink production that supports producers and provides healthy and locally branded food and drink. Embraces the circular economy.

Energy Resilience and Renewable Energy

Using renewable energy to power community buildings, new enterprises, and transport infrastructure.

Repurposing Abandoned and Under Used Buildings

Re-purposing ageing public buildings and spaces that currently are not being used or can be shared with existing uses.

Ecological Maintenance and Enhancement

Using existing facilities and create a Social Enterprise to provide meaningful work opportunities to protect and enhance the Upper Yarra Catchment.

Improving Transport and Access

Enabling easier movement of people within the Upper Yarra region using an electrified and flexible bus system, powered by renewable energy.

Want to be part of the workshops?

Would you like to register your interest to attend a workshop to review the innovation opportunities?