One of the most significant challenges we face in Baw Baw Shire is the growth of the community particularly along the highway corridor towns such as Longwarry, Drouin, Warragul, Yarragon and Trafalgar. Baw Baw remains one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the state, with forecasts estimating our population to be approximately 84,000 in the Shire by 2041, with an additional 30,000 new residents.
There are also other challenges:
- Council’s ability to raise funds for services and infrastructure to meet the needs of the community and keep up with our growth. This includes Council services, and also those of other providers, such as utilities like communications, and schools and health services.
- We also expect a changing community demographic and growth as new residents, state-wide, are making their way to rural areas through the recent COVID-19 pandemic and more opportunities for remote working.
- Through the engagement process in developing the Community Vision and Council Plan, our community were focusing on the health and wellbeing of the community, particularly mental health as the community responds and recovers from COVID-19.
- Availability and access to business and employment, education and skills development for all residents to enable them to stay and prosper in the local community.
- And also significantly, how we as a community prepare for significant disruption and transition, with changing technology, social and workplace norms, changes in industries and climate change.
These all bring both opportunities and challenges for our community, and for Council as we plan for those new residents and the services, facilities and infrastructure they will need in the next four years and beyond.