Situated along the Victorian-South Australian border, West Wimmera covers 9,200 square kilometres of predominantly agricultural land and includes the townships of Apsley, Edenhope, Harrow, Goroke, Kaniva and Serviceton.
Home to about 3800 people, the region prides itself in its welcoming communities and a wide diversity of industry and environment.
Consisting of untouched desert parks, vast wetlands and fertile plains, West Wimmera is equally known for its acres of wheat and legumes, and as a home to the famous Malleefowl, red-tail black cockatoo and a unique abundance of wildflowers.
Our West Wimmera communities are healthy, thriving, diverse, harmonious, prosperous and self-sustaining, with regional and global connectivity.
West Wimmera Shire Councillors have a positive image of the region, which can best be described by the following statement:
Our West Wimmera communities are peaceful, prosperous and connected.
Our farmers have added value to their commodities and embrace the very latest technologies to drive efficiency and commercial success. High-quality transport and digital infrastructure are enabling our agricultural producers and other businesses to thrive and compete globally.
There have been significant investments in renewable energy infrastructure within the Shire and this has generated many new local jobs. Several new and expanded businesses now operate very profitably within the Shire, and this has created significant opportunities attracting many new residents from diverse backgrounds.
Visitors are flocking to our stunning wetlands and recreational water, and are making a significant contribution to the local economy. Tourism itineraries and quality signage guide visitors through the Shire.
Our major centres have high-quality service options aligned with community need. Our small townships and communities feel well supported and are connected within the broader West Wimmera community.
Many of our young people have returned to the place where they grew up, to raise their own families. Residents of all abilities and ages are well supported.
Sporting clubs within the Shire have quality facilities and continue to be a hub for community connection and positive well-being outcomes.
The Council has a tremendous reputation for innovation and professionalism and is skilled at advocacy, which is attracting funding to drive service and infrastructure investments.
Our organisation is structured into two key business units:
- Infrastructure Development and Works
- Corporate and Community Service
The Senior Management Team comprises the Chief Executive Officer and the Director from each business unit.
David Bezuidenhout - Chief Executive Officer
David Bezuidenhout was born in South Africa and spent his school years in Schweizer-Reneke, in the old Western Transvaal. He did his National Service directly after school where he was commissioned as Officer and involved in active warfare in Angola. He remained in the Defence Force Reserves and eventually had a career of nearly 20 years in the Defence Force. After his two years National Service, David qualified as a lawyer and worked in private practice for 16 years in South Africa and later in Queensland after migrating to Australia in 2006. Over the next 12 years, David worked in both the legal space and also in senior project and general management roles for firms including Warley Parsons and Spotless in Queensland. David made the transition into the public sector in 2015 as head of Capital Projects for the Gladstone Area Water Board and in 2018 joined Cloncurry Shire Council in North West Queensland as their CEO.
David and his wife Carine both grew up in rural areas, their families were involved in agriculture and they have previously owned properties that farmed cattle, sheep, dry land crops and irrigation. David understands the challenges that rural communities face, but also appreciate and see it as a privilege to live in and be part of a rural community. David is excited by the prospect of settling into the West Wimmera region for the long term.
- Overall staff management
- Strategy and direction
Ram Upadhyaya - Director Infrastructure Development and Works
After migrating to Australia, Ram has worked for several Wimmera councils over the past 11 years. His key strengths include asset management, project management, leadership, and stakeholder management. He has a very young family and thoroughly enjoys the rural lifestyle. Having worked in the Wimmera for over 10 years, Ram understands the challenges faced by the community and the Council.
- Animal control
- Emergency management
- Environmental health
- Fire prevention
- Infrastructure engineering
- Local laws and ranger
- Natural resources
- Parks and gardens
- Planning and environment
- Project and contract management
- Transfer stations
- Workshop services
James Bentley - Director Corporate and Community Services
After commencing his career in corporate risk and underwriting in Sydney, James transitioned to local government in 2006. He has held senior roles in customer experience, finance and revenue in Councils across New South Wales and Queensland, and brings with him genuine enthusiasm about the power of positive culture to deliver improvement for our community. James has completed his Master of Professional Accounting through RMIT, and believes that working in Council is one of the most satisfying ways to contribute to the prosperity and sustainability of the place we call home.
- Human resources
- Community support
- Customer service
- Early years
- Economic and community development
- Home and community care
- Information technology
- Living at home/regional assessment service
- Maternal and child health
- Occupational health and safety
- Rates and GIS
- Wimmera Regional Library Corporation
- Youth services