Regional voices heard at assembly
ATTENDANCE of more than 200 people at Wednesday night’s Ovens Murray Regional Assembly in Wangaratta was testament to the success of the partnerships program, according to Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford.
The assembly invited residents from throughout the North East to take part in round table discussions on topics like sustainable farming, overcoming the digital gap, entrepreneurship, renewable energy, and supporting children and young people.
“There were lots of people attend- ing from Wangaratta, but also from right across the region,” Ms Pulford said.
“There was a great energy in the room, and some fantastic ideas.
“I sat on tables discussing digital connectivity and entrepreneurship, and there were some wonderful ideas.
“This is the third year we have had the regional assembly, and every time we get deeper and more sophisticated discussions, with people from different areas attending.”
In response to criticism in metropolitan media earlier this week that the partnerships concept amounted to a ‘talk-fest’, Ms Pulford said May’s State Government budget included funding for $760 million for projects that had emerged from regional partnership discussions.
“This is the exact opposite of a talk-fest,” she said.
“But we have tried to not rate the success of the program only in dollars; sometimes it is more about how the government delivers things like health services.”
Ms Pulford said while the region’s rail service remained the number one priority among those discussed at the assembly, ideas around entrepreneurship were also high on the agenda.
LISTENING TO LOCAL NEEDS: Jaala Pulford (Minister for Regional Development), Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria), Danielle Green (MLA, Yan Yean), Martin Foley (Minister for Mental Health and Ben Carroll (Minister for Industry and Employment) attended Wednesday’s Ovens Murray Regional Assembly at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre.