Upper Yarra Local Development Project


The Victorian Government is assisting the transition away from native forest harvesting.

Warburton, Yarra Junction and Powelltown have received funding for the development of a Local Development Strategy, which will support workers, businesses, and the community with this transition.

The purpose of the Local Development Strategy is to assist these communities to plan for innovation, explore possibilities and create economic, environmental and social benefits that will a create a sustainable future for the community.

The Project

There is opportunity over the next two years to explore and discover innovation ideas that will benefit these communities by bringing economic prosperity, and creating long-term jobs and opportunities.

Council has received Local Development Strategy funding through the Victorian Forestry Plan to support Upper Yarra Valley communities.

The Local Development Strategy grants program aims to assist Upper Yarra communities in planning for innovation, exploring possibilities and creating economic and social benefits to create a sustainable future.

Community Involvement

The Upper Yarra Valley Local Development Strategy project is an opportunity for everyone in the community to participate, and share insights, experiences and knowledge to shape the ‘Future of Upper Yarra Valley’.

Over the next two years, the project will be immersed in the Upper Yarra communities to explore the area's strengths, challenges, and opportunities. With your help, we can identify and shape innovation opportunities that will bring sustainable economic and social prosperity and create long-term jobs for the area.


Smart Specialisation

The project uses the Smart Specialisation methodology. It is an approach that promotes innovation and economic transformation and sustainability by focussing on a region’s existing strengths and unique, local opportunities.

Representation from the community, business, education, and government ensures that all the sectors are included for transformative solutions to be identified.

A short video helps explain the methodology.


The process will move through three stages, each containing a number of steps to ensure that the process involves community consultation, collaboration and is truly reflective of the community’s assets, challenges and opportunities.

Stage 1

Stage 1A: Regional Context Analysis - Development 

  • Desktop analysis and research
  • Community consultations undertaken
  • Strengths, challenges and innovation opportunities identified


Stage 1B: Regional Context Analysis – Draft for review

  • Draft open for feedback
  • Expressions of interest open for workshops


View the Stage 1 Regional Context Analysis(PDF, 3MB)

Stage 2

Stage 2: Entrepreneurial Discovery Process

  • EDP workshops to review, refine and assess viability of identified innovation opportunities

Stage 3

Stage 3A: Innovation Working Groups – Part 1

  • Innovation working groups test the initial three innovation opportunities
  • Seek technical/specialist advice as required
  • Preparation and implementation of project scope


Stage 3B: Innovation Working Groups – Part 2

  • Innovation working groups test the remaining innovation opportunities
  • Seek technical/specialist advice as required
  • Preparation and implementation of project scope


Stage 4

Stage 4: Local Development Strategy Complete

  • Local Development Strategy finalised
  • Ongoing governance established
  • Potential project funding identified

Victoria's Native Timber Transition

An announcement was made on 23 May 2023 regarding a revised timeline for Victoria’s native timber transition.

If you are an impacted worker, business or a community member unsure what support is or will be available, please visit the Forestry Transition Program Webpage to learn more. 

A Word From The Project Manager 

The Upper Yarra Valley is a wonderful place to live and work – a place that has outstanding natural beauty and has vibrant communities.  I joined Council in 2016 and during this time I have been involved with a number of community led projects such as the Warburton Community Hydro Project and I have served as a Council representative on the Yarra Valley ECOSS Committee of Management.  My spare time is devoted to tending our 1.5 acre garden in Warburton where I have an orchard, run chooks and grow other fruit and vegetables.

With communities playing a key role in developing an Upper Yarra Valley Local Development Strategy, I look forward to working with residents and community groups, local businesses, educational institutes and state and local governments.  The prospect of turning the Upper Yarra’s strengths and challenges into sustainable economic opportunities for the region is exciting.

Please reach out if you are interested in the project and be part of this exciting project.


Julian Guess on 0417 678 950 or j.guess@yarraranges.vic.gov.au