What is the Welcome to Central Goldfields project?

Businesses and community leaders are partnering to lead a pilot project to attract skilled migrants to the Shire – and specifically Maryborough. It's an ambitious initiative but an exciting opportunity to create a long-term plan for relocation to the Shire.

The 12 month pilot - Welcome to Central Goldfields - is in response to staff and skills shortages that are affecting businesses big and small – both locally and nationally and will provide a platform for advocacy at all levels of government on workforce and housing needs.

But this project is not only about filling jobs. It’s about the Shire becoming more culturally diverse and learning and growing together with residents from various backgrounds. Through the Community Vision locals said they want to be an inclusive place and this pilot is another step towards that goal.

The pilot project will be filmed by Blackfella Films from mid-October until the end of 2022.

Who is leading the project?

Key leaders of the project have formed a Community Reference Group, they are:

Community Reference Group members are happy to be contacted by members of the community about the project.

For more information about the Community Reference Group, see the Statement of Intention on the right hand side of this page.

How can you get involved?

It's important that the right support networks are in place prior to the arrival of new residents / skilled migrants in mid-October, to foster a sense of connection and belonging.

Throughout September, members of the Community Reference Group and the broader community will come together to design these welcoming activities which will be activated in October onwards. These activities will be coordinated by the project lead and project liaison (see the right side of the page).

Here are some of the activities planned to date:

Communications campaign - Join with communications professionals to:

  • Share key information
  • Build capacity
  • Shared lived experience stories

Welcome packs - Help Council create:

  • Culturally appropriate welcome packs for new residents

Mentoring / buddy system - An interested group of community members is preparing to welcome our new residents and to provide mentors/buddies to help with:

  • Settling into the community
  • Places to buy culturally appropriate food
  • Links into culturally appropriate services

Join with the Maryborough Volunteer Resource Centre and the Youth Council to link our new residents to community groups and sporting groups.

Calendar of events - Volunteer at a range of exciting events happening in Central Goldfields:

  • Youth Fest (September)
  • Energy Breakthrough (November)
  • Pride Festival (January)

Do you see an activity that you would like to be involved in? Please contact Angela Tucker, Project Liaison at Angela.Tucker@cgoldshire.vic.gov.au to find out how you can get involved.

In the media

Fast facts about the project

Over a number of years, local business leaders have been in conversation with Council regarding increasingly complex issues with attracting and retaining staff, particularly for skilled roles.

This issue was also recognised in Council’s Economic Development Strategy 2020-2025 and to better understand the problems facing local businesses, Council’s Economic Development Team invited over 200 businesses to respond to a detailed survey (see the survey results under the Key documents section - right hand side of this page).

While grappling with workforce issues, local business and community leaders were approached by a documentary film maker, interested to shine a light on the divide between urban and rural Australia, and to elevate and promote all the ‘gold’ to be found in rural and regional Australian towns.

Local business and community leaders quickly grasped the mutually beneficial opportunity presented by Blackfella Films and determined to work alongside the company for a pilot project which would involve relocating skilled migrants to the Shire by matching them with vacant jobs (not being filled by local people).

Welcome to Central Goldfields is a 12-month pilot project which aims to attract skilled migrants to Central Goldfields Shire to address staff shortages and promote a younger, more culturally diverse community overtime.

Key intended outcomes include:

Retention of skilled workers recruited through the pilot project

  • New skilled workers choose to stay longer term in Central Goldfields
  • A Relocation Playbook is delivered to repeat and scale the process of attracting and retaining skilled migrant workers to Central Goldfields

Deeper insights into how to expand as a diverse and inclusive community

  • Deeper insights into what it means to be an inclusive community
  • A growth and expansion of community leadership
  • A model for integrated, place based, partnership work for leading change (community groups, services and local government)

Deeper insights into how to facilitate sustainable growth through workforce and housing strategies

  • Deeper engagement with local business leaders and Council
  • Insights into how to access housing that's not on the market (solving a key workforce challenge)
  • Data and insights to develop an Attraction and Retention Strategy for Central Goldfields
  • Advocacy on workforce and housing needs in the medium and long term


  • Deliver on and expand existing economic development and; community wellbeing strategies
  • Deliver real research to feed into others projects including social and affordable housing and proponent led development
  • Lead by example and help other regional communities learn how to solve their problems through innovative approaches

Phase one - Project planning (July – August)

  • Community Reference Group
  • Project plan
  • Communication plan
  • Skills and housing audits

Phase two - Welcoming new residents - October - December (and ongoing)

  • Communications campaign
  • Welcome pack
  • Buddy system
  • Events

This stage will be filmed by Blackfella Films

Phase three - Refine the economic development strategy for the Shire - January – June 2023 (and ongoing)

  • Documentation of progress and key learnings (inc. community benefits)
  • Advocacy
  • Relocation playbook
  • Attraction and retention strategy

Blackfella Films will document the journey of the new residents through a three-month period in October – December 2022.

Their work will focus on the positive impact that people from migrant backgrounds can have on communities and how migrant families can themselves benefit from life beyond our capital cities.

Blackfella Films is an independent television production company with offices in Melbourne and Sydney that specialises in making high quality and innovative factual/documentary (Books that Made Us, Addicted Australia) and drama programs (Redfern Now, Total Control).

There is significant strategic precedence for the pilot project as well as range of opportunities to better align with local and regional programs, plans and strategies currently under development.

Local strategies (Central Goldfields Shire Council)

CGS Community Vision 2021 - 2031

  • We are a welcoming shire

CGSC Council Plan 2021 - 2025

  • Changing the narrative
  • Multicultural celebration

CGSC Economic Development Strategy 2020 – 2025

  • Invest in People and Place
  • A Thriving Business Community
  • Tailored Economic Development Practice

Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025

  • Advocate for social change
  • Foster social connection and diversity

Tourism and Events Strategy 2020 - 2025

  • Shift the narrative around the Shire’s Identity and Perception

Regional strategies

Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan

  • Strengthen our communities, especially in our small towns
  • Strengthen and diversify our economy