An official report says Victorian councils need better methods to measure the outcomes of economic development projects.

The new Victorian Auditor-General’s report notes that “a number of Victorian Councils, particularly non-metropolitan Councils, have experienced a decline in their economic growth over the past 10 years”.

The report examines how effective Councils’ economic development projects are in helping to improve the economic viability and sustainability of their municipalities.

Regional and rural Councils were the focus of the report because they face greater economic challenges than metropolitan ones. The Councils included Bass Coast Shire Council, Corangamite Shire Council, Loddon Shire Council, Melton City Council and Southern Grampians Shire Council.

Also examined were the roles of Regional Development Victoria and Local Government Victoria in assisting Councils to facilitate local economic development.

The report found the Councils focus on economic development, align their economic development strategies with state and regional priorities, establish teams responsible for economic development and engage with relevant stakeholders at the local level.

It did make a number of recommendations for Councils, including:

  • Regularly reviewing alignment between economic development strategies and Council plans to improve the continuity of longer term initiatives
  • Development comprehensive performance measures for economic development with clearly articulated targets and benchmarks
  • Monitor and report on economic development outcomes and clearly link actions to intended outcomes

The full report can be viewed here.