Nowa Nowa

Futures Project

The Nowa Nowa Futures Project is an exciting, innovative project for community and industry development as the region transitions away from being a ‘timber town’. The Futures Project commenced in December 2022.

The project will look at the strengths, challenges and opportunities within the community, and with the community’s help, we will brainstorm innovation themes and ideas that could build economic diversity and prosperity. Together we will discover the best and brightest opportunities, create a strategic report with recommendations, and create business cases for the most viable project ideas.

The Nowa Nowa Futures project uses Smart Specialisation Strategy and is supported by the Nowa Nowa Community Development Group, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action and RMIT University.

Gathering the information.

Between January and August 2023, project manager Hayley Hardy conducted nearly 90 interviews with community members, business owners, farmers and government representatives, who all live, work in or for the Nowa Nowa area. From these  interviews were distilled the key assets and opportunities, as well as challenges and opportunities identified by the interviewees.  Overwhelmingly, those who live in the area are very positive about it’s strengths and opportunities.

Whilst many assets were identified, the five most commonly spoken about are:  the natural environment, Lake Tyers, Walking trails, Unique Nature (fish, frogs, orchids) and the Rail Trail and Bridges.

Similarly, amongst the many challenges the five most frequently mentioned are: no pub / evening meal venue in town, poor signage around town, fire protection, activities for youth and water security.

As well as interviews, desktop research examined strategic, tourism, economic, land use and community plans and data from East Gippsland Shire Council, the Victorian State government, Destination Gippsland and health and education institutions.

Progress Update

December 2022: 

Project Officer appointed

January – February 2023: 

Initial and in depth interviews with community members and groups started.

Desktop Background research on relevant government policies commenced.

Community BBQ to meet Project Officer and introduction to project.

April 2023

Community Newsletter started.

July 2023

End of interview phase of project

August 2023

Draft Regional Context Analysis for review by Project Control Group and NN CDG committee

October 2023

Regional Context Analysis taken to local community for feedback.

December 2023

Three Discovery Workshops held (Primary Industry, Health and Aging and Nature Tourism) with positive outcomes. These will now move into the “Innovation Working Group” stage

February 2024

Four remaining Discovery Workshops to be held (Unique Nature, Visitor Economy, Culture and Creative Arts and Alternative Education). Details for these workshops can be found below. A Forestry Transition Fund Drop-In Information session will also be held on February 9th between 10am and 2pm at Nowa Nowa Primary School for any current or future businesses in and around the Nowa Nowa area. DEECA and East Gippsland Shire representatives will be present to answer questions about the fund and eligibility. 


The Regional Context Analysis (RCA)  is the central document on which the Nowa Nowa Futures project will base it’s development of new economic opportunities for the area.  The RCA is the result of months of interviews and desktop research undertaken by Hayley Hardy, the Project Manager for the Nowa Nowa Futures Project, compiling the results of nearly 90 interviews with the local community and it’s stakeholders, key findings from 19 studies relating to the area and demographic data.

The first section of the RCA contains a ‘snapshot’ of the area; it’s history, geography, demographic statistics and key industries. The next section summarises the findings from interviews across the community this year and identifies the key assets and challenges revealed by the interviews. The final section of the RCA outlines seven broad ‘innovation opportunities’ indicated by the research.

Upcoming Workshops

Are you interested in being part of the upcoming workshops about the below innovation opportunities? Details as follows: 

  • 31st January: Unique Nature
  • 1st February: Visitor Economy
  • 6th February: Culture and Creative Arts
  • 8th February: Alternative Education

For full details and to RSVP, please email Hayley or call 0487 053 709

Seven Innovation Opportunities from the RCA

The Regional Context Analysis defines seven Innovation opportunities for the Nowa Nowa area, listed below but NOT in order of priority.

  • Nature Based Tourism

How to connect the visitor to the natural assets (lake, Rail Trail, MTB) in and around the area

  • Unique Nature

provide a supporting platform to access some of the unique natural assets that Nowa Nowa area has.

  • Visitor Economy

Provide existing and future visitors with a reason to prolong stay, book future stays and recommend the area to friends and family.

  • Alternative Education

Provide residents looking to learn new skills and who are at or above high school age with the education platform to learn that is most appropriate for the wider community.

  • Primary Industry

Establish a collaborative, supporting or partnering industry for the existing primary industry businesses within the Nowa Nowa areas.

  • Culture and Creative Arts

Establish a platform and/or outlet for creative and cultural pursuits that can assist in driving the Nowa Nowa region economy.

  • Health and Aging Well.

To look at the current, future and potential health services in the Nowa Nowa area.

Nowa Nowa


In November 2019, the Victorian Government announced the Victorian Forestry Plan to transition out of native forest harvesting.

Local Development Strategy grants have been funded to support communities affected by this decision to  transition from native timber-based jobs to other kinds of economic activities through the development of a Local Development Strategy. There are 9 other towns across Victoria, including two others in East Gippsland that are currently building their Local Development Strategy.  

The Nowa Nowa Community Group has been appointed as the host agency to deliver the district’s strategy. . 

The Nowa Nowa project draws on experience from Orbost (a pilot project) and energy transition in the Latrobe Valley. The Latrobe Valley Authority’s (LVA) Smart Specialisation (S3) methodology is the approach being used to for developing a roadmap for the future of the Nowa Nowa district and all other towns under the program.

The starting point for Smart Specialisation is a close examination of economic, social and environmental characteristics of the district which will be collated into a strategic report, called the Regional Context Analysis. 

Project Manager Hayley Hardy was appointed to the role of Project Manager in December 2022, bringing with her 6 years of experience as Executive Officer of East Gippsland Marketing Inc along with 15 years in Marketing in various industries. Hayley grew up in Paynesville, acquiring a Bachelor of Business and Commerce at Monash University. She now lives in Nicholson with her husband and young family.

This Regional Context Analysis will be published in mid 2023 for community discussion and feedback.

More information about Gippsland Smart Specialisation available via Food and Fibre Gippsland Smart Specialisation Project.

Or please watch the short video on Smart Specialisation below.

The Nowa Nowa Futures project is supported by the Nowa Nowa Community Development Group, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action and RMIT University.

Hayley Hardy, Project Manager

Smart Specialization Strategy (S3)

Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) methodology provides an opportunity to spark cross-sectoral innovations and connections.

Nowa Nowa is a beautiful family-friendly holiday destination in East Gippsland.

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