Ararat Rural City Council has handed out five new residents' kits in the past quarter, with the municipality's newest residents comprising nine adults and five children.
Affordable housing and employment opportunities were listed as the main reasons for moving to the municipality with two of the families moving to Elmhurst and Streatham and the remainder moving to Ararat.
The main sources for information on making the move to Ararat were word of mouth and having previously visited the area as a tourist.
In a report to Council, information on population projections was provided which showed that revised population projections have been recently released by the State Government. They indicate a slight downward adjustment in the rate of population growth for Ararat Rural City but this is in line with a slight downward trend for Victoria as a whole.
The population projections show a percentage change of 0.6 per cent from 2011-2016, 0.5 per cent from 2016-2021, 0.5 per cent from 2021-2026 and 0.6 per cent from 2026-31.
Council heard that projections do not take into account current projects such as the Hopkins Correctional Centre expansion and the growth in employment and population that such a project brings.
For those that do move to the region, Council provides a New Residents' voucher booklet, which is currently in the process of being revamped while the process of welcoming new residents is under review.
It is proposed that new residents will receive a welcome basket containing local produce and Ararat Active branded items as well as vouchers that can be redeemed in local businesses.
As a part of the welcoming process it is intended to hold welcome morning teas every three months. This will enable new residents to make contact with other recent movers and will also assist Council employees in gathering information that can be used in future population attraction marketing on how and why people move to Ararat.
Council's recent attendance at the Regional Living Expo held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre also gained attention for the municipality for prospective new residents.
The Ararat Active branding and accompanying branded clothing set the Ararat stand apart from others and was highly complemented by visitors. The Biggest Loser participants who attended were a real attraction and were outstanding ambassadors for Ararat. The online competition gathered a large database of potential new residents and the 'Ararat is' App was downloaded approximately 200 times.
Council heard that a large number of the visitors had very specific questions about Ararat and the surrounding towns and had undertaken research prior to coming to the expo. The attractive environment, affordable housing, relative closeness to Melbourne and having jobs waiting to be filled were all cited by potential residents as reasons for the interest in Ararat Rural City.