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Data – it’s your past, present and future


Data is something we all use, and we collect, but it probably isn’t something that you think about often, or that gets you excited. However data underpins decisions that shape our community, and even our lives, in every possible way. From our shopping habits, to where we live, to what services our community needs, data collected and data modelling will determine future direction.

Speaker Simon Kuestenmacher, Co-Founder and Director of Research at The Demographics Group had us getting excited about data, and what the future may hold with some very interesting statistics. We learned ‘the aging of the Australian population has just begun’ and with that, what the future may look like, and what services will be pushed beyond their limits such as healthcare. The data tells us in 2023 there are over 550,000 people in Australia aged over 85. There will be an additional 15,000 people added to this pool this year and this number will increase dramatically as our baby boomers continue to age. Of those 50% will require assistance of some sort. Using this data, we can see the healthcare sector will require more services, funding and employees to help fill the need that this aging society will require. We have seen the healthcare and social assistance workforce has grown from 8% to 15% in the past 20 years, and we know that will only need to increase in order to look after our aging population.

Knowing this information should assist governments and councils in their planning processes and budget allocations, giving more money to attract and retain staff in the aged care sector. This will greatly benefit our local communities.

By collecting and analysing data, businesses, councils and governments can make more informed decisions and plan for a better, more connected future for their communities.

Many thanks to our speakers Simon Kuestenmacher, Lisa McLeod, Co-Founder Populus Data and Claire Dagley, 2022 Alumni.

Alexandra Stoupas – 2023 Program Participant





Through community engagement we can create value – and expand opportunities with and for the community. The Strategic Alignment and Community Impact program day heightened our knowledge and invigorated our curiosity and left wanting to ask more questions.

The speakers showed us ways to build strategic partnerships that unite our WHY with the WHAT! WHY! HOW! of other people and organisations to work together with the community!

It appears that a fundamental component of the Leadership Great South Coast’s Community Leadership Program is gaining a comprehensive and accurate understanding of working through our values. The program challenges us to rethink at a deeper level to be acquiring and reflecting on our WHY – the compelling higher purpose that inspires us to ask people what they think about ideas, plans or proposal so they can contribute to, and influence, the decisions that affect them. This assists in clarifying the why of community engagement to contribute to sound decision making.

Community engagement is a crucial part of both public and private sector decision making. Its important to consider the whole picture of what community engagement entails before leaping straight in. It is about creating the two-way dialogue and for the collective feedback to be focussed into a decision. The level of your community engagement is based on the why and the impact of the decision on the community and the influence of the stakeholders.

Communication and Engagement Specialist, Ailiche Goddard-Clegg, had us understanding:

    • collaboration and connections
    • mobilising resources and influence systems
    • changing the relationships among partners, and
    • serving as catalysts for changing policies, programs, and practices, as we worked through a number of sample project concepts.

This elevated the discussion regarding strategic profiles and community engagement. Together they create more beneficial linkages, and the community connections improves the overall outcomes by engaging, listening, and learning from community.

Prompt questions to consider project concepts included:

What is the

    • Need
    • Opinion
    • Opportunity?

Why do it?

    • Mandates
    • Co-ownership
    • Sustainment
    • Better outcomes

How to do it?

    • Define / map
    • Engage
    • Refine
    • Communicate

Robust communication and engagement with community is a pivotal process in the planning process to ensure the plan’s long-term or overall aims, interests, and the means of achieving them are met.

Thank you to all our speakers for sharing your valuable time and knowledge.

Nigel Harper – Acting Manager Regional Operations, Regional Development Victoria, Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions. Brett Davis – CEO Moyne Shire, and Member of South West Victoria Alliance and Great South Coast Regional Partnership. Katie Hearn – Manager Community Services, Corangamite Shire. Ashish Sitoula – Manager Strategic Community Planning and Policy, Warrnambool City Council. Ailiche Goddard-Clegg – Communication and Engagement Specialist.

Jo-Anne O’Brien  2023 LGSC Participant.


Welcome to our 2023 participants


ALEX STOUPAS: Manager Operations and Workforce Systems, South West Healthcare

CATE CORBET: Business Analyst, Southern Grampians Shire Council

CATHRYN WALDER: Community Engagement Coordinator, Youth Live4Life. Sponsor: The A.L. Lane Foundation

CHRIS RODDA: Communications Officer, Corangamite Shire Council

CLAUDIA KLUNKER: Dairy Farm Manager, Rosemount Dairy Pty Ltd. Sponsor: Gardiner Foundation

COURTNEY MATHEW: Marketing & Communications Advisor, Wannon Water

EMMA SHORTIS: Lecturer, RMIT University. Sponsor: Corangamite Shire Council

JANE HINDS: Sport and Recreation Coordinator, Corangamite Shire Council

JO-ANNE O’BRIEN: Administration Officer, Warrnambool Legacy Club Inc. Sponsor: The Thomas O’Toole Foundation

JODY KEMBER: Corporate Business Coordinator, Moyne Shire Council

KRIS PENNY: Senior Development Officer, Wannon Water

MARK BARLING: IT Facilitator, Mpower

MICHAELA MEADE: Owner/Operator Dairy Farmer, Boonderoo Pastoral and Meade Livestock Carriers. Sponsor: Gardiner Foundation

MITCHEL SPENCER: Director, Broadvue Heights Pty Ltd. Sponsor: Community Bank Port Fairy and District

NICOLE WOOD: Travel Smart Officer, Warrnambool City Council

RACHEL CAMERON: Communications Officer, Corangamite Shire Council



The Arts – an underappreciated and undeniable commodity


I’ve read and heard the comment “I’m not really into art” quite a bit over the past few months. The commentary stems from a current review of the Warrnambool Art Gallery and its need for an update. What does it mean for the health and prosperity of our community when people seemingly don’t recognise the role art plays?

The contribution of the Arts to local and global economies is undeniable. At our Volunteering and Creativity Program Day Gareth Colliton, a local artist and advocate for the arts, provided a stunning comparison of the relative contribution of art to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to that of sports. Gareth said, “the Arts contribute about 6% of GDP compared to 3% for sport”. Beyond just the financials, art is also a vital point for community reflection and growth, it is the foundation of our culture and shapes our collective identity. The retention of knowledge in song and stories by First Nations people, the iconic western Victorian landscape paintings of Von-Guerard, Streeton and Chevalier and the relatively unknown fact that Australia’s first ever sound recording was captured in Warrnambool, all point to the Great South Coast being no exception as a region defined by art.

Despite some people thinking they are not into in art, the contemporary presence and passion of the Arts in Warrnambool is on full display, through the various laneways and streetscapes around town and in the volunteer run F-Project Arts hub. The Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG), given the right opportunity, has an impressive collection around which to grow a world class cultural institution. We only need to look at MONA (Hobart) or the Bendigo Art Gallery to see the potential opportunities this offers in terms of tourism. Investment in the Arts also motivates and attracts creative thinkers, the very people we need to keep evolving socially, and economically. The fact that some people think they are not into art makes this necessity even greater.

The program day also offered a unique insight into the workings of the SES with Bernadette Northeast, a chat with Jaimee Millar, a lunchtime chat with Dan Tehan MP, a tour of One Day Studios with Gareth and a tour of the F Project gallery and workspaces with Helen Bunyon. Thank you to all these speakers for sharing your stories and inspiring our civic participation.

Lachie Farrington, 2022 LGSC Participant.

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