Work­ing to­gether for the re­gion

Alpine Observer - - Regional Extra - by KYLIE WIL­SON

A STRONG love for the North East, its com­mu­ni­ties, and its po­ten­tial mo­ti­vates the mem­bers of the Ovens and Mur­ray Regional Part­ner­ship ( OMRP), es­tab­lished just a few years ago.

Lo­cal women Su­san Benedyka and Irene Grant have both been in­volved with the as­sem­bly since its in­cep­tion, help­ing to con­sult with and ad­vo­cate for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to see them grow and evolve.

Su­san has a par­tic­u­lar pas­sion for im­prov­ing digital ac­cess and in­fra­struc­ture for the North East in or­der to make it more com­pet­i­tive on a state, na­tional and even global scale.

“It’s all about where we are go­ing to take the re­gion in the fu­ture,” she said, not­ing the as­sem­bly has se­cured fund­ing to de­velop a “digital plan” for the re­gion, which a num­ber of peo­ple are cur­rently work­ing on.

Su­san said some of the main is­sues she is fo­cused on as part of the part­ner­ship is fund­ing and help­ing ad­dress gaps in digital in­fra­struc­ture, as well as in­creas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the rapidly ad­vanc­ing digital field, where tech­nol­ogy can help change the face of health con­sul­ta­tion and di­ag­no­sis, tourism, and even the na­ture of work­places.

She said some of the proud­est mo­ments so far was help­ing se­cure funds for the forth­com­ing lo­cal digital hub at Wangaratta Li­brary, as well as money for a digital in­no­va­tion cen­tre in Wodonga.

Hav­ing built a long stand­ing ca­reer in con­sult­ing, as well as co- own­ing Wangaratta Cen­tral ser­viced of­fices, Su­san said she rel­ished be­ing able to put her ex­per­tise and pas­sions to work as part of the OMRP.

“We’ve got so much hap­pen­ing,” she said, ad­ding that the digital and tech­no­log­i­cal realm is “the job cre­ators of the fu­ture,” and “we want to be ahead of the pack.”

Su­san said that the North East is al­ready em­brac­ing the changing role of tech­nol­ogy, with the high pro­file ef­forts of lo­cal school ro­bot­ics teams, peo­ple telecom­mut­ing and much more, and added that the re­gion needs to cap­i­talise on that.

“There’s a wave of ex­cite­ment build­ing as to what’s pos­si­ble,” she said.

Su­san said she felt com­pelled to help lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties reach their full po­ten­tial and be­ing a part of the OMRP helped her do that.

“It gives me the abil­ity to con­nect with other peo­ple mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the re­gion, and take neb­u­lous ideas and make them real,” she said.

“I ab­so­lutely adore liv­ing here and want to build things up for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Irene Grant, an ex­pe­ri­enced pub­lic ser­vant and com­mu­nity mem­ber of many years’ stand­ing, is the chair of the part­ner­ship and said she be­came in­volved be­cause she “liked the idea of what part­ner­ships could do”.

She said the OMRP gives the North East broad regional rep­re­sen­ta­tion across a num­ber of ar­eas, in­clud­ing tourism, health, education, agri­cul­ture, trans­port, digital con­nec­tion, busi­ness and more.

On the eve of the OMRP’s third regional as­sem­bly be­ing held this month, Irene said a lot of progress has been made since the group’s in­cep­tion, and mem­bers of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties had em­braced the chance to have their say and put their ideas for­ward.

“I’ve al­ways been pas­sion­ate about lo­cal lead­er­ship,” she said.

“That’s where com­mu­ni­ties can make a dif­fer­ence.

“It is im­por­tant for re­gions to work ac­tively to­gether, there’s col­lec­tive strength in that.

“And it’s im­por­tant, as com­mu­ni­ties change, that we move with these changes.”

Irene said as a proud North East res­i­dent, she wanted to help com­mu­ni­ties make the most of our nat­u­ral re­sources and land­scapes.

“If you want things to hap­pen, you’ve got to step up,” she said, urg­ing peo­ple to reg­is­ter to at­tend the up­com­ing as­sem­bly and have their say.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity to have a voice.”

The OMRP is hold­ing its third an­nual Regional As­sem­bly on Wed­nes­day, June 27 in Wangaratta.

More in­for­ma­tion on the Ovens Mur­ray Regional Part­ner­ship, and the up­com­ing as­sem­bly ( in­clud­ing a link for reg­is­tra­tion), is avail­able at en­gage. vic. gov. au/ ovens- mur­ray.

PHO­TOS: Kylie Wil­son

DRIV­ING IN­NO­VA­TION: Su­san Benedyka is driven to im­prov­ing digital op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple in the North East.

COM­MU­NITY LEADER: Irene Grant is ap­ply­ing her years of ex­pe­ri­ence in com­mu­nity lead­er­ship as part of the OMRP.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.