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    Kevin Erwin.

WImmera Development Association undergoes change

The Wimmera’s peak advocacy body is changing its operational structure and status to open the door for greater corporate flexibility.

Wimmera Development Association, which has run as an incorporated association since its inception 30 years ago, has plans to transform to a company limited by guarantee.

The association represents the councils of Horsham, Northern Grampians, Hindmarsh, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack municipalities under a shared support arrangement. 

It has grown in its role in instigating regional projects, supporting business growth, promoting economic development opportunities to investors, providing a link between industry and government and lobbying for improved infrastructure and regional issues.

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Chair Kevin Erwin from Northern Grampians Shire said the association had been a regional development organisation for three decades and the time had come to ensure it was fit-for-purpose into the future.

He said a transformation would present WDA with new opportunities.

“As an incorporated association, Wimmera Development Association was using a structure suited towards community groups and sporting clubs, with governing rules very much based around member engagement and rights,” he said.

“It was limited in the avenues of funding it could seek, in being limited in its ability to run any business and in the governance structure it adopted. 

“With the change to a company limited by guarantee, WDA will have the benefit of being able to attract talented directors to a company working within a corporate structure, which will have greater flexibility to attracting funding and being engaged in enterprises for the benefit of the communities it serves. It also means the councils that fund the company can keep control of the company and have it aligned to the needs of the region.”

Board reduction

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission lists a company limited by guarantee as ‘a common company structure used for not-for-profit and charitable organisations in Australia that re-
invest any surplus or profit towards the organisation’s purposes’.

A change would reduce the association’s board from 25 members to 11 and include skill-based directors from representative councils and industry representatives. It will include an independent chair.

A memorandum of understanding is before the five member councils for endorsement. The councils will determine their representative to the new board following statutory meetings. 

The representatives, along with council chief executives, will then recruit the independent chair and the collective will negotiate parameters of industry representatives. The association expects a full board to be in place by March. 

The association’s annual meeting is scheduled for December 7, followed by an extraordinary general meeting to officially endorse the transition.

Cr Erwin said WDA had a proud history and was an important player in attracting infrastructure projects, funding and people to the region. 

He said these included running a gateway process for Wimmera Agricultural and Livestock Hub, formerly Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal, involvement from inception of a Wimmera pulse protein plant project and developing a business case to build Rainbow Weather Radar.

He added WDA was also heavily involved in advocacy for the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline Project and was a long-running supporter of Regional Living Expos – including its ‘The Wimmera: Everything you need’ project, supported migrants and refugee communities to relocate to the region, oversaw Leadership Wimmera and hosted Wimmera Business Awards. 

The entire November 10, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!