Vibrant economy, agriculture and tourism

sketch of the valley and hills

Our tourism, agriculture, health, manufacturing and other industries are leading and dynamic. Strong investment and attraction underpins sustainable economic growth and job creation.

Key strategies to achieve our objective include:


Current projects

Find out what we’re doing to support a vibrant economy, agriculture and tourism in Yarra Ranges.


Our major initiatives

Economic development

  • Delivered an extensive business support program aimed at starting, growing and supporting businesses in Yarra Ranges through a period of significant economic impact as a result of Covid-19.  The program included events, training, mentoring and regular communications through business e-bulletins and social media.
  • Through Council’s Priority Investment Projects and Better Approvals services, we facilitated more than 250 enquiries to support developers, business start-ups including tourism and hospitality investors and small businesses growing/diversifying their operations.
  • Council shifted its Economic Development service to provide increased and dedicated outreach activities to support Yarra Ranges business owners navigate through government stimulus programs, advocate for and influence business support and development programs, and provide online programs.

Chirnside Park urban design

  • The Green Spine project continues to develop with Stage 3A complete and construction of the final missing link commencing in January 2021 to include a 200m elevated walkway.
  • The final parcel of land for the Urban Park has now been secured by Council enabling recommencement of the Masterplan process with consultation scheduled for February 2021.

The Lilydale Project

  • The Lilydale Place Plan was formally endorsed in September with several project and initiatives progressing well.
  • Community-led projects and groups continued to progress areas for improvement, focusing on Lilydale’s main street, community gardens and the establishment of the Lilydale Township Action Group. 
  • A new Design and Place department has been formed at Council to guide the design and planning of place plans, including finalizing the Lilydale Place Plan.

Tourism attractions

  • Council continues to engage with all Yarra Ranges businesses, agencies, investors and community groups such as Yarra Valley Railway, Yarra Ranges Tourism and Committee for Economic Development Australia via Council's communication channels, forums and events.
  • Council has been advocating to State Government Ministers and agencies for changes to Regional Development Victoria guidelines and additional funding support that will leverage the major infrastructure investment in Warburton Mountain Bike Hub, the Yarra Valley Trail and RidgeWalk to drive economic investment into these regional parts of Yarra Ranges.

Other highlights

  • The Warburton Mountain Bike Destination project progressed through significant community engagement, design reviews and specialist Consultant reports. The trail network alignment is nearing completion and a Draft Master Plan will be released to the community in coming months. We engaged World Trail to finalise the design and construct of the trails. Their industry-leading experience will deliver an iconic destination that will put Victoria on the national and international radar for mountain biking enthusiasts. This is being done in close collaboration with land managers, environmental and heritage experts to ensure it is delivered sensitively within the landscape.
  • Increased reach with small businesses operating in Yarra Ranges through Yarra Ranges Business Facebook (up 37%), and Yarra Ranges Business e-bulletin (up 6%).
  • Lilydale successful in being selected as one of the key centres in the Victorian Government’s Suburban Revitalisation Program.
  • Council made a substantial submission to the State Government consultation on Planning for Melbourne’s Green Wedges and Agricultural Land Project.
  • Facilitation of more than 220 Small Business Better Approval checklists and 102 full applications.

A broad range of advocacy campaigns have been mounted from across the organisation on behalf of the Yarra Ranges Community, including:

  • Securing the future of Forest Industry Workers following the announcement by the State Government that native forest timber harvesting will end by 2030 and that the supply to timber mills will be substantially reduced from 2025.
  • Requested a review and amendment to the exemption of Land Tax guidelines for tourism related primary production activities and ancillary uses.
  • Direct advocacy to State Government Ministers and agencies for changes to Regional Development Victoria guidelines.
  • Submission to the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions in response to the State Government's Regional Tourism Review.
  • Submission for $20,000 for the development and implementation of the Rivers and Ridges Business Accelerator Program.

83% of Council Plan actions are on track.