As of June this year Greater Shepparton City Council released its Stage 2 Economic response to COVID-19 package which consisted of $2 million of financial support for the community to continue to strengthen the ongoing resilience for local businesses. This included a total funding pool of $125,000 to assist one of our hardest hit sectors, the visitor economy.
Grants of up to $5,000 were offered to local businesses in the visitor economy to help strengthen the industry’s sustainability and to enhance the visitor experience and increase visitation during the pandemic recovery phase and into the future.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Councillor Seema Abdullah said these projects would help play a crucial role in our region’s covid recovery.
“Our region is currently seeing major tourism infrastructure investment in the new Shepparton Art Museum, the Museum of Vehicle Evolution (MOVE), Fish Hatchery, Australian Botanical Gardens development, shared path network upgrades and the redevelopment of the Maude Street Mall. All of these investments are shaping Greater Shepparton as a major visitor destination.
“This year has seen a devastating loss for our community and visitors, as our major events were put on hold and travelling restrictions in place to help fight the spread of COVID-19,” Cr Abdullah said.
“For our region to bounce back from this pandemic, we need to welcome people to Greater Shepparton, and remind them that our region is an incredible place to visit”.
“These projects will boost our visitor economy and assist local businesses by growing visitation, enhancing the visitor experience and storytelling, increasing the length of stay and economic stimulation in the region.”
12 businesses were awarded funding to support innovative product development and to help grow the region’s tourism offerings which included:
- MOVE – Museum of Vehicular Evolution: For the installation of an interactive Kenworth Cut Cabin Truck to provide a virtual experience of heavy rigid driving, including horns, engine noises, road vibrations and gear changing.
- Longleat Wines: To commission an artwork mural of locally made ceramic tiles increasing public art in the region and linking in with the story and heritage that is Longleat Wines.
- Merrigum Museum: a new and suitable display space for donated items, enhancing visitor experience and preservation of items of historical significance.
- Belstack Strawberry Farm: For the installation of an Electric Vehicle (EV) car charger site.
- Greendale Grove Olive Shop: To assist with the development of a video presentation educating visitors of the farm to plate operations at the grove.
- Tallis Wines: To assist with outdoor weatherproofing and barbecue facilities to allow increased seasonal usage and a comfortable visitor experience all year round.
- Bangerang Keeping Place: To produce an online virtual tour of the premises showcasing details on artefacts and enabling increase visitation via online tours.
- Garden Kitchen Café at Billabong Gardens: Upgrades to their Bali Hut allowing an increase in seasonal usage of the facility to include cooking classes, gardening programs, private lunches and functions, all linking back to a paddock to plate experience.
- Wild Life Brewing Co: To develop an expansion of brewing range and infrastructure to enable purchasing of additional beverages on tap at the venue.
- Delightful Rainglow: For the installation of rare gemstone fairy/angel wings display allowing interactive photography.
- Tatura and District Historical Society Inc: To assist with securing and showcasing an art exhibition of selected works by “Dunera Boy” Paul Mezulianik.
- Chocolate Apple Factory: To assist in developing an interactive space for visitors and locals to create their own chocolate products.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Councillor Seema Abdullah said the community will have lots of new experiences to enjoy with the easing of restrictions in place.
“I strongly encourage our community to venture out and support local businesses as we welcome the easing of restrictions, the industry has been working hard to navigate through this pandemic and provide safe services to the community,” Cr Abdullah said.
“We also welcome Regional Victorian visitors to our region and hope they will enjoy the new offerings once they are available.”