Exploring Export Market Opportunities for Gippsland Agriculture

Pip Courtney speaking at a Gippsland Global Series event in Warragul.

Host of ABC’s Landline program, Pip Courtney was in Warragul recently to speak with leaders from our Gippsland agriculture sector as part of the Committee for Gippsland’s Gippsland Global Series.

Committee for Gippsland CEO Tony Cantwell said it was a delight to host Pip and have her share the latest agricultural news as well as her story with Committee for Gippsland members.

“As host of Australia’s highly regarded agricultural program, Pip offers a powerful voice for rural and regional Australia, while telling the stories of our farmers and producers,” Tony Cantwell said. “It was a privilege to hear Pip’s experiences reporting on what is currently facing the industry. These included innovation in agriculture to climate change impacts on extreme weather events and embracing principles of sustainable farming practices such as zero-tillage, and regenerative agriculture.”

Following Pip’s presentation, a panel of Gippsland producers and leaders provided lively discussion, delving into everything from water security, circular economy, challenges accessing global markets, and finance. The panel featured South Gippsland celery and leek grower Chris Schreurs of Schreurs and Sons, Gippsland Water’s Simon Aquilina, NAB Agricultural Economist Phin Ziebell and Burra Foods CEO Stewart Carson.

“These conversations are critical in laying the foundations for Gippsland to continue as a leading region in agriculture. Our region has long been regarded as a food bowl for not only for our state, but the world,” Tony Cantwell said.

Bolstering our agricultural industries and communities is a strategic priority for the Committee for Gippsland to support Gippsland farmers and producers, who combined, produce more than half of Victoria’s dairy, beef and vegetables adding to our region’s $7 billion agricultural sector.

Ongoing Funding Opportunities in Gippsland

Invest Gippsland Ongoing Funding Opportunities


Timber Innovation Grants Program

The program is designed to provide grants for innovation that supports businesses to transition from native timber to plantation fibre or investigate manufacturing opportunities.

Local Development Strategy grants program

The Local Development Strategy grants are designed to provide assistance to 11 towns or communities significantly impacted by the Victorian Forestry Plan to begin to plan for their future.

Digital Jobs Program

The demand for digital skills in Victorian businesses is growing rapidly. The Digital Jobs Program is building a new talent pool of great people with digital skills to help meet this demand. Over 3 years, 5000 experienced and highly-capable mid-career workers will be supported in their transition into digital careers. Businesses are invited to join the program to host these freshly trained candidates through subsidised 12-week internships.

Investment Fast-Track Fund

The Investment Fast-Track Fund (IFF) will support regional and rural projects to strengthen their investment evidence base by funding activities that support planning and preparation, thereby fast-track projects to investment ready stage. Funded activities must be completed by 30 June 2022.

The IFF is a contestable fund with applications received throughout the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years, or unless the funds are exhausted prior. Please contact the RDV Gippsland office (details at the bottom of this email) for further discussion about a proposed project.

Regional Jobs Fund

The Regional Jobs Fund (RJF) supports projects which create employment opportunities across industry sectors where regional competitive advantage exists. The aim of RJF is to attract new investment, create new jobs, and in some cases retain existing jobs in regional Victoria and to support businesses to improve their productivity and competitiveness.

The RJF is a competitive fund with applications received throughout the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years, or unless the funds are exhausted prior. Please contact the RDV Gippsland office (details at the bottom of this email) for further discussion about a proposed project. Otherwise, access this link, to read more about the Fund and access the guidelines.

Small Business Energy Saver Program

The Small Business Energy Saver Program provides a bonus for small businesses, discounting the cost to upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment which will lower their operational costs. On average each business could receive a discount of about $2000 for eligible equipment upgrades.

Closes: 31 May 2022

Solar for Business Program

The Solar for Business Program is a new initiative designed to support Victorian small businesses to reduce their energy costs by accessing the benefits of renewable energy. From May 2021, rebates will cover 50% of the net cost of a rooftop solar system up to a rebate value of $3,500. Rebates will remain at $3,500 until all 5000 forecasted rebates for 2020-21 have been fully allocated, and will be up to $1,750 thereafter. Rebates remaining for this release are 1654.


On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

Eligible farmers can claim up to 25% (of which at least 50% of the rebate will be provide by the relevant state or territory government) of expenses for on-farm water infrastructure up to a maximum total rebate of $25,000.

The scheme closes 30 June 2022, or when funds are exhausted.

Advanced Manufacturing Commercialisation Fund

The AMGC Commercialisation Fund will support project collaborations between industry and research partners to commercialise new manufacturing products and processes. Projects will be supported within Government’s six National Manufacturing Priorities: Medical Products, Food & Beverage, Resources Technology& Critical Minerals Processing, Recycling & Clean Energy, Defence and Space. Grants between $100,000 and $1 million are available and must be matched by industry.

Applications close 30 June 2022.

Local Jobs Program

The Local Jobs Program brings together expertise, resources and access to funding at the local level to support job seekers and their communities in each region. The program has a particular focus on re-skilling, up-skilling and employment pathways and is part of supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will run to 30 June 2025.

Accelerating Commercialisation

Accelerating Commercialisation provides small and medium businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers with access to expert advice and funding to help get a novel product, process or service to market.

Defence Industry Grants

Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry grants provide businesses servicing the defence sector with upskilling and training opportunities to build skills capacity and capability to meet current or future Defence needs. Grants are available between $5,000 and $500,000 to undertake various defence skills training activities.

Research & Development Tax Incentive

The Research and Development Tax Incentive helps companies innovate and grow by offsetting some of the costs of eligible research and development.

COVID-19 Programs

Business Support

COVIDSafe Deep Cleaning Rebate

Rebates to help businesses cover the cost of cleaning after closing a worksite due to a suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID‑19) case.

For Employers

Jobs Victoria Fund

A wage-subsidy program is currently open to applications from employers to hire people whose employment has been most affected by the pandemic. Up to $20,000 per eligible employee will be provided to employers to meet the costs of taking on new workers for the first 12 months of their employment.

Boosting Jobs for Women in Logistics

Women in Warehousing is supported by the $250 million Jobs Victoria Fund, which is creating 10,000 steady and secure jobs for those most affected by the pandemic. Jobs Victoria works with employers in sectors with workforce demand and supports people who are looking for work to secure and train for new roles. More information about the program is available at jobs.vic.gov.au.

‘Working for Victoria’ Program

A program designed to connect employers who require workers with job seekers.

Regional Tourism Investment Fund Applications Open

Bass Walk
Bass Walk

A fantastic new opportunity has just been announced for business in Gippsland: the Regional Tourism Investment Fund Competitive Round is now open. This fund supports new and innovative tourism infrastructure projects that will increase visitation, drive private investment, and deliver more jobs to the region.

 The fund will deliver grants up to $10 million per project, with a minimum funding amount of $150,000 per project, focussing on four growth sectors: nature, epicurean, arts and culture, and First Peoples’ led experiences.

Registrations of Interest are accepted until 11:59pm on Friday 7 January 2022.

Find more information and how to apply on Business Victoria.

2021 Federation University Gippsland Business Awards Winners

Congratulations to the following winners for 2021:

Moe’s TM&H Mitre 10 has won the top honour at the annual Federation University Gippsland Business Awards after being named Gippsland Business of the Year at a virtual awards ceremony on Friday 8th October 2021. Operating for more than 30 years, TM&H Mitre 10 has continually evolved in response to both changing customer needs and developments within the hardware sector, while also demonstrating its generosity as a staunch supporter of the community.

The awards were held virtually for the first time with 51 businesses from throughout Gippsland joining the event which also named winners in 11 industry and specialist categories as well as the new Business Agility Award.
O’Connors Transport from Morwell joined an impressive list of Gippsland businesses to be inducted into the GBA Hall of Fame.

Each GBA finalist is assessed and independently rated by five different judges across 10 judging criteria.

The category winners came from across the region and are listed below:

Accommodation – Mansi on Raymond, Sale
Beauty and Personal Care – Amity Alice, Warragul
Business and Professional Services – FGM Consultants, Warragul
Food & Wine Producers – Burra Brewing Co, Korumburra
Health and Well Being – Olivia’s Place, Warragul
Hospitality – The Cape Kitchen, Newhaven
Manufacturing / Export – Elite Pack, Drouin
Mechanical Trades and Construction – Gippsland Land Services (GLS), Moe
New Business – Regional Migration Australia, Traralgon
Retail – TM&H Mitre 10, Moe
Tourism Activities and Attractions – Wyncity Morwell, Morwell
Business Agility Award – Big Bears Donuts, Lakes Entrance

For further information refer to the Federation University Gippsland Business Awards website at

Gippsland Regional Plan 2020 – 2025

The Gippsland Regional Plan 2020 – 2025 is the regional’s strategic plan for improving the economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes for the Gippsland region and our community.

Map from Gippsland Regional Plan 2020 – 2025

Out of Town Guide to Wineries of Gippsland

Broadsheet and Visit Victoria have compiled a brilliant guide to wineries of Gippsland. The guide shares some of eastern Victoria’s best cellar doors to explore, whether you’re after a relaxed tasting, a sprawling meal or a longer stay in country country digs. Check out the guide here.

Innovation Centre Boosts The Latrobe Valley Economy

The Morwell Innovation Centre, officially opened in January 2021, is now home to nearly one hundred workers.

It houses the customer operations hub for one of Victoria’s largest energy suppliers, Alinta Energy, and is supporting a growing network of local businesses.

The Victorian Government funded the $17 million project which is the centrepiece of the Hi-Tech Precinct in Gippsland, through the $40 million Latrobe Valley Economic Development Program established in 2016.

Since the centre opened in January, it has welcomed its first wave of tenants. Alinta Energy has begun transitioning their offshore operations to the centre – already recruiting 125 local people for the 230 roles in its new customer contact centre.

The purpose-built centre is quickly becoming a hub for innovation in the region and has hosted 80 events.  Work has also started on a new research hub that will bring together academic and industry stakeholders to help transition the economy.

Innovation programs funded as a part of Government’s overall investment will continue to be rolled out over the next three years and will support the growth and capability of at least 140 local businesses.

Contact the Hi-Tech precinct at their website, here, if you would like to use this brilliant facility for an upcoming meeting or event.

FREE WORKSHOPS for Gippsland Makers, Producers, Artisans & Farmers

Get hands-on, practical experience with tools that will make your life easier, cut down on admin time and help you get noticed by customers.

The Gippsland Digital Toolkit Series is for makers, producers, artisans, and anyone who runs a food or agriculture business where the real work doesn’t happen in the office. In these four sessions, you’ll learn how to set up and manage your own social media, website, and online sales, organise your bookkeeping and admin, use technology to better manage stock and inventory, and more.

Social Media25 Feb 2021
1pm – 5pm
Bairnsdale, RSL Club
Digital Marketing4 March 2021
1pm – 5pm
Bairnsdale, RSL Club
Better Business Bookkeeping11 March 2021
1pm – 5pm
Sale, Criterion Hotel
Inventory Management18 March 2021
1pm – 5pm
Sale, Criterion Hotel
For more information or to book a spot at any, or all, of the above workshops, please access this link.

A new offshore wind industry for Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley

Star of the South – Australia’s first offshore wind project – is proposed to be located off the south coast of Gippsland near towns such as Port Albert, McLoughlins Beach and Woodside.

The project involves wind turbines in the sea, generating electricity from the strong and consistent Bass Strait winds. It would connect into one of the strongest points in the energy grid in the Latrobe Valley, supplying around 20% of the State of Victoria’s electricity needs.

Star of the South would continue Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley’s proud history of power generation into the future by harnessing Gippsland’s unique offshore wind resource for a clean energy future.

Jobs and training opportunities would help to re-skill and transition workers, creating a new local offshore wind industry. 

Offshore wind is a proven driver for jobs and supply chain opportunities. The project has the potential to contribute to a new clean energy hub in Gippsland, boosting domestic job and manufacturing capabilities and building exports from other technologies such as hydrogen.

Businesses interested in supplying to Star of the South can register their details at the project’s Industry Capability Network (ICN) Gateway.

Star of the South is in the early feasibility phase, with site investigations and environmental data collection underway.

A Victorian-based team with global offshore wind experience and local ‘know how’ is progressing the project, with investment from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners – a world leader in offshore wind.

Drop into the project’s Gippsland office at 310 Commercial Road in Yarram to chat to the team. From Monday 7 December, the office will re-open with a COVIDSafe plan. Opening times are advertised on the project website and will initially be Mondays and Thursdays from 10am-4pm.

Visit Star of the South’s website to find out more about the potential for offshore wind in Gippsland or follow Star of the South Project on Facebook for the latest news.