The population is around 50,000 with almost a third of residents living on farms or in small townships of less than 2,000 people. The median age of farmers is 57 and 10% are 75 years or older. The economy is worth $5.7 billion annually with 25% of residents relying directly on agriculture for income. Rural landholders live where they do because of the lifestyle it provides. This is true whether a farmer, a retiree, or living on a lifestyle property.
The community acknowledges that land is fundamental to indigenous cultural heritage and wellbeing.
The Wimmera Natural Resource Management (NRM) community is committed to exploring opportunities to incorporate and increase indigenous participation in NRM. It is essential that the NRM practitioners continue to build strong ongoing partnerships and working relationships with the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. This underpins management of the legal native title and cultural heritage obligations, as well as recognising opportunities to expand their role and interests in:
- land and natural resource planning and management
- cultural recognition activities such as ‘welcome to country’ acknowledgements use of traditional knowledge, language, lore, and custom
- employment, business, training, and economic development opportunities that affect traditional owners.