Team­work key to gath­er­ing

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

North­ern Grampians mayor Tony Driscoll has used the sched­ul­ing of a ma­jor gath­er­ing of com­mu­nity, busi­ness, bu­reau­cratic and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers in Stawell next month to stress the im­por­tance of re­gional team­work.

Cr Driscoll said a Wim­mera-south­ern Mallee Re­gional As­sem­bly on May 30 rep­re­sented an­other op­por­tu­nity for the re­gion to iden­tify, con­sol­i­date and ex­ploit the ben­e­fits of re­gional part­ner­ships.

“The crit­i­cal point to em­pha­sise about these gath­er­ings is that they al­low us to put re­gional parochial­ism to the side and open the door for a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach,” he said.

“We need to think more as a re­gion, where we can tap into our col­lec­tive strength and help each other, ex­plore new ground or build on some­thing.

“It’s about hav­ing ini­tia­tive, shar­ing ideas and be­ing aware that every­one sees things through a dif­fer­ent lens.

“Hope­fully what we can do then is crys­tallise some of these vi­sions into re­al­ity.”

The State Gov­ern­ment launched its Re­gional As­sem­blies through nine Re­gional Part­ner­ship groups it forged across the state in 2016.

In 2017, more than 2000 peo­ple at­tended the as­sem­blies to help iden­tify and re­fine re­gional pri­or­i­ties and to es­tab­lish a di­rect link to State Gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion-mak­ers.

The past two Wim­mera-south­ern Mallee as­sem­blies, in­volv­ing Hindmarsh, North­ern Grampians, West Wim­mera, Yar­ri­ambi­ack and Horsham mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, have been in Horsham.

In­ter­pre­ta­tions of dis­cus­sions iden­ti­fied in 2017 pri­ori­tise a need to: Sup­port chil­dren in the re­gion aged up to six to flour­ish; en­sure lo­cal gov­ern­ment can op­er­ate sus­tain­ably; ac­ti­vate pros­per­ity through eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion with a fo­cus on agri­cul­ture and tourism; in­creased ac­cess to high-qual­ity mo­bile phone and in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity; fa­cil­i­tate in­te­grated and pub­licly avail­able re­gional plan­ning across the re­gion; en­able co-or­di­nated re­gional ser­vice de­liv­ery; and in­crease con­nec­tiv­ity and pros­per­ity through im­proved trans­port in­fra­struc­ture in­clud­ing roads and pub­lic trans­port.

Busi­ness model

From the as­sem­blies, the State Gov­ern­ment, as part of its 2017-18 bud­get specif­i­cally pro­vided fund­ing to de­velop a busi­ness model for a Net­worked Grains Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in the re­gion and money for fu­ture plan­ning to de­velop the re­gion’s tourism in­dus­try.

Cr Driscoll said hav­ing this year’s Wim­mera-south­ern Mallee as­sem­bly in Stawell Town Hall pro­vided a sub­tle change in dy­nam­ics and helped em­pha­sise the col­lec­tive ap­proach to de­vel­op­ment.

“From our point of view it per­haps gives us a chance to pro­vide fur­ther in­sight into the projects we have in our shire, such as the Bul­gana Green Power Hub and how ideas can come to­gether,” he said.

“But it is re­ally about main­tain­ing mo­men­tum and mak­ing sure it’s not just a talk fest.

“We must con­tinue to gen­er­ate en­thu­si­asm from get­ting to­gether and that means get­ting some ac­tion and some­thing tan­gi­ble out of it all.

“This might in­volve a bit of a jour­ney but it is im­por­tant for our best con­cepts to get to a point of be­com­ing re­al­i­ties.”

Ararat, mean­while, is part of a Cen­tral High­lands Re­gional Part­ner­ship, which also in­cludes the City of Bal­larat as well as Golden Plains, Hep­burn, Moora­bool and Pyre­nees shires. Its Re­gional As­sem­bly is in Bal­larat on June 14.

Re­gional Part­ner­ship bud­get wins for 2017-18 were a $47.8-mil­lion gov­ern­ment hub project in Bal­larat and a $39-mil­lion sec­ond-stage Bal­larat pas­sen­ger rail up­grade to es­tab­lish bet­ter ser­vices to Ararat.

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