IM Group  |  GAIA Skin Naturals  |  Gippy Gourmet  |  Pakenham Racing Club  |  G&K O'Connor |  Brownie Points  |  Bellevue Orchards 


Rex Vandenberg, Managing Director - IM Group

The IM Group is located in the Hallam Industrial park. Its Managing Director, Rex Vandenberg, said 'We located in Hallam as it was considered an optimal location. Many of our staff live in nearby suburbs and there is a strong skilled workforce in the City. Access to a large pool of skilled workers was a major influence in our decision to locate within the City of Casey'. 'We also chose this location due to its proximity to transport, particularly the Monash Freeway and Western Port Highways'.

'The City of Casey also has a council that listens to its businesses and, through its Economic Development Department, provides us with the confidence that they are willing to listen to our concerns.'  


Michelle Vogrinec, Managing Director - GAIA Skin Naturals

My company, GAIA Skin Naturals manufactures pure, natural, organic skin care products. After starting out as a home based business, we were able to expand into a factory, our first location was in Rowville, then Hallam, where we are perfectly placed close to the Monash Freeway and other transport links as well as fantastic amenities for my staff.

When we decided to expand our business, we looked at options in a number of neighbouring municipalities however Hallam proved to be the most cost effective and provided a happy medium between the busy industrial estate of Dandenong and its close proximity to my home which is also located in the Casey Cardinia region. I do not have to spend hours on the road travelling to and from work, and I am easily accessible to my children in case of emergencies. Our factory has secure facilities and is surrounded by a number of new estates, there are also plenty of lunch options for my staff with a variety of cafes to service the many offices in the area. There is also easy access to a supermarket and a large shopping centre nearby.

Since choosing to locate in Hallam, I have discovered how much support is offered by the Council. I’ve attended a number of networking events and functions in other regions and the quality of assistance offered in Casey Cardinia is second to none. I have made valuable connections, and tapped into resources that I otherwise wouldn’t have known were available to me. We have been located in Hallam for over six years and I plan to stay the area should we expand further.  


Alicia Gardner, Manager – Gippy Gourmet

Gippy Gourmet relocated to the City of Casey in 2006. The location was ideal as it was central to their customers, was close to major transport links and has access to a large skilled workforce.

Alicia Gardner, Manager of the business, has praised the Casey council in their support of the business. “We have been on programs run by the Councils’ Economic Development Department and have found them very beneficial,” she said; “The staff within the department are very approachable and are willing to listen to our concerns and offer assistance; an added benefit of being located within the City of Casey.

“Hallam is an ideal place for our business, we could have no better location than the City of Casey,” concluded Alicia.  


Pakenham Racing Club

‘Couldn’t have done it without Council’

When the Pakenham Racing Club had a vision to develop Victoria’s largest horse racing precinct with world-class synthetic tracks and trainer businesses on site in a greenfield location at Tynong, in Cardinia Shire, Council did everything it could to help.

While the planning hurdles may have been enough to stall the most experienced developer at the starting gates, together the racing club and Council won the backing for the $60 million development which will boost local employment by up to 4 per cent – or 1,800 jobs. “You certainly needed to have vision and leadership, and we couldn’t have done it without the ‘can do’ attitude of Cardinia Shire Council,” the club’s chief executive Michael Hodge said.

Rezoning land in a green wedge zone required the approval of both houses of the Victorian Parliament, as well as the support of the racing industry and the local community – all of which was achieved by working closely together.

“Understanding where you need to be and where you want to go, and approaching it from the view of what can we do as Council to assist and facilitate that, has been Garry McQuillan’s (Council CEO) whole approach,” explained Michael.

The new racing hub was fast-tracked through Victoria’s Priority Development Panel, and separate planning approval was given for medium to high-density residential and commercial development at the existing racecourse site in Pakenham, in walking distance to public transport. This urban renewal project will help meet Council’s objective for sustainable growth.

“What we have achieved in nine months would have taken any other local government at least three years,” said Michael, who added that he can’t speak highly enough of the solid backing he received from Council staff and Councillors.

“Cardinia Shire Council walked with us through all the issues. Whether it’s going off to the racing industry, or the Planning Minister, or to the Priority Development Panel, they’re with you, they are there beside you. And that hand-in-hand partnership makes all the difference.”

Victoria’s largest racing and training facility is set to open in 2014 and is now nine months into construction, progress is well underway to deliver a world class result for the Region and for Victorian Racing.”


Matt O’Connor – G&K O’Connor

1. O’Connor established here due to excellent links to port of Melbourne via Monash Fwy; proximity to cattle supply throughout Gippsland; large local workforce
2. Always found local council to be happy to assist

3. Good local workforce in the Pakenham area, and excellent transport links via rail and freeway to access workforce in the southeast corridor.


Tony Delaney – Brownie Points

Brownie Points is a software company that improves the level of engagement of their clients workforces, delivering increased productivity, higher levels of customer service, increased sales, improvements in health and safety, or a reduction in staff turnover. The company located to the Casey-Cardinia corridor in 2010 for three main reasons. They were:-

1. The cloud based solution can be run from anywhere. Setting up the office in the Cardinia area meant that with good internet connection the business could be operated initially from home.

2. The high growth area offered a good source of competitively priced office space to move into as the business grew and training and support facilities were required. 3. The rapid influx of people into the Pakenham area in particular was seen to be a good source of skills for employment in the company.

Tony Delaney, CEO believes that “the decision to move to the Casey Cardinia corridor was a sound investment, and would encourage other business leaders to consider the benefits”.


Nick Russo - Bellevue Orchards   

Following severe hailstorms in summer, juicing was the answer to a badly damaged orchard of fruit. The juice label of their business came into fruition as 'Summer Snow’.

The business, owned by Joe and Robert of J & R Russo, has now been juicing fruit for almost 15 years and operating as a fruit business since 1977, but the story of this family business began much earlier – in the 1950s. The family ran fruit shops in Frankston and Bentleigh and wanted to diversify into fruit growing. They bought a property at 544 Brown Road, Officer, on which apples and pears were growing. From this they established Bellevue Orchard, which is based on growing fruit (including their apple orchard) and their juice product Summer Snow.

The company prides itself in only dealing with Australian product; everything is grown locally, even the bottles and cartons are manufactured in Australia. Nothing is essentially added to the juice; it is cold pressed and heat pasteurised and has a long shelf life with no preservatives.

The growing range of products consists of fresh fruit with a wide variety of pears and apples such as sundowners, gala and pink lady, as well as 10 different varieties of apple juice, and includes organic. The company also makes apple cider vinegar for stock feed and contracts to bulk juice tenders, plus providing services such as contract processing organic juice for other growers. Customers of Bellevue Orchards are business-to-business based, primarily working together with other companies.

Bellevue Orchards’ retail product is a premium line product; they promote through independent retailers, fruit and vegetable shops and almost 100 farmers markets every year. The business is open every day and includes onsite farm-gate and online sales.

According to Bellevue it is the company’s juice which differentiates the business from its competition.

“The juice is crushed onsite and we know a lot about fruit and its quality. We make variety-specific juice and are both leaders and innovators in the field,” business developer Nick Russo said.

Nick also said one of the most rewarding aspects of being in this business is the agility of the business to seek out opportunities and make them happen; a rewarding component that is also the hardest aspect and carries the most risk.

The staff motto says it all: ‘At Bellevue Orchards and Summer Snow, we crush great Australian fruit to make a fantastic juice’.

Bellevue’s current horizon is to establish and cement Bellevue as a nationally oriented, state of the art apple fruit processing company, but it also aspires to increase the reach of its retail product with more retailers and would like to supply to more schools.

Nick said winning the 2012 Cardinia Business of the Year award had been great for the business.

Nick’s tip for other businesses: “Always deliver on what you’ve committed to. Find a way to make it happen. At Bellevue, one way we do this is getting things out the door by the next day for our customers.”