The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL: Keep ‘thinking big’

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017

At first look, a project to develop a Networked Grains Centre of Excellence or agricultural ‘innovation cluster’ across the Wimmera and southern Mallee is hard to grasp.
It is, after all, a concept that apart from an administration hub involves a broad region and many rural centres working collectively for a common cause.
Some have described it as ‘project octopus’, because it is based on a lot of ‘legs’, representative of our regional areas, helping the overall ‘creature’ work.
The idea is to exploit, embrace and develop industry potential surrounding everything from grain production to agricultural technology, research and education in our region and streamlining them – with an overall aim of generating economic progress and success.
The beauty of the project is that it reflects what our part of the world is all about – satellite centres working together for the common good and progress of the overall region.
Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Assembly chairman David Jochinke, awaiting results of a business case study, is right when describing it as a ‘bold’ project. It is large, potentially complicated and will need considerable planning and drive from all involved across an area representing about a quarter of Victoria.
Some might suggest there is more than a touch ‘pie in the sky’ about it all.
But the regional grandness of the concept has a familiar ring.
It wasn’t that long ago that it was ‘impossible’ to build a pipeline across the Wimmera-Mallee to guarantee regional communities a secure water supply.
Yet it happened and we are seeing the benefits today of the persistence in pushing an idea that at the time many believed represented something well beyond the realms of possibility.
Regardless of the intense heat we’ve experienced of late, heat that would have sucked our old open channels dry, we have a more than adequate supply of water.
Considering the size of our region, we have every right to and should push for the ambit of the regional-scale projects that are easily identifiable as having merit.
We should also never underestimate the role that agriculture plays in our national economy.
Sure, we might be a little fish in a big pond, but that doesn’t mean we can’t become a bigger fish.
The lesson is that if we think big enough and act big enough, the ‘big’ often happens.

The entire January 31, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jan 31 2018

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