It’s 2030, imagine if…

The 'Mount Alexander Model' (MAM), as it became known, empowered communities across Australia to develop inclusive local economies that enable community-led regeneration. It helped the local community, council and business to understand what could be controlled at a local level, and how they could take action individually and collectively to build the local economy they desired. The project’s place-based and collaborative culture stood out amongst the various regenerative models of the 2020s, ensuring strategies and solutions were cohesively embedded in place and people. The process shifted community perception of what was possible, triggering a national groundswell of awareness and demand for community wealth building. MAM scaled vertically through the system as well as across the landscape, with each community building upon an ecosystem of Inclusive & Regenerative Local Economies.

Summary of solution

Local economic systems, institutions and cultures need to transition away from traditional economic development approaches that centralise and extract resources, ownership, control and wealth. Their solution seeks to create and capture how to transition to an inclusive regenerative local economic system, which reinforces bioregional regeneration and inclusive community leadership, ownership and wealth building. There is a high degree of community readiness for change in the Mount Alexander shire and the council is considering how to embed these strategies within the local Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Economic Development Strategy. A model such as this will not only create the capital to deliver urgent regeneration projects such as preventing and adapting to climate change but will create an economic system that inherently regenerates place and people. This approach will be integrated with a broader bioregional governance model being developed in the region. The phased approach to this project will also create a powerful and repeatable approach for other regions to follow when seeking to transition to a regenerative local economic system.

Why is this solution innovative

In the long-term this solution seeks to create a local economic system and local business models that regenerate places and people in realignment with the living world. The solution adopts a co-design approach where the principles of walking with First Nations people, inclusion and diversity of voice, collaboration over competition and valuing collective wisdom direct the research and design of the project. A community led vision of what a local regenerative economy looks like enables a variety of long-term impacts. Local community and anchor institutions change their perspective of themselves as local activators of local economic transitions which can drive increased decision-making, ownership and control over the local economy, equity in wealth distribution locally, participation and cohesion between community, local government and business.

The potential benefit of a whole-of-community approach to bioregional regeneration is significant. It can also be a model for other communities to replicate.