Premier’s as­sem­bly

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Vic­to­rian Premier Daniel An­drews, gov­ern­ment min­is­ters and ad­vi­sors will join com­mu­nity and in­dus­try lead­ers in Hor­sham tonight to ex­plore ways to drive and stim­u­late the re­gional econ­omy.

Mr An­drews has con­firmed he will at­tend a booked-out sec­ond an­nual Wim­mera South­ern Mallee Re­gional As­sem­bly, which starts at 5.30pm at Hor­sham Town Hall.

The Premier and-or min­is­ters will also use the visit to an­nounce ma­jor fund­ing for key agri­cul­tural road projects as well as Wim­mera In­ter­modal Freight Ter­mi­nal at Dooen.

There was heavy spec­u­la­tion last night the gov­ern­ment would also an­nounce money for a net­worked grains cen­tre of ex­cel­lence and tourism devel­op­ment projects.

Other min­is­ters at­tend­ing the as­sem­bly in­clude Jaala Pul­ford, Agri­cul­ture and Re­gional Devel­op­ment, Gavin Jen­nings, Spe­cial Min­is­ter of State, and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Martin Pakula.

Mr An­drews said in a pre­pared state­ment: “I am ex­cited to be in the Wim­mera south­ern Mallee to lis­ten to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and to make sure we are get­ting things right for this com­mu­nity.”

The State Gov­ern­ment launched the statewide re­gional part­ner­ships last year to un­earth re­gional po­ten­tial and di­rectly link pri­or­ity is­sues to bud­getary de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Wim­mera South­ern Mallee Re­gional As­sem­bly deputy chair Emma Vo­gel said tonight’s as­sem­bly would again be about gath­er­ing in­put for and gen­er­at­ing fur­ther un­der­stand­ing of pri­or­ity is­sues and in­ves­ti­gat­ing new projects and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Part of the as­sem­bly will be ded­i­cated to the val­i­da­tion and re­vis­it­ing of es­tab­lished pri­or­i­ties, but it will also be about continuing to ex­plore what else is needed or what other op­por­tu­ni­ties we can iden­tify,” she said.

“I en­cour­age ev­ery­one who at­tends to have their think­ing caps on, be pre­pared to ex­press ideas on how as a re­gion we can shape our fu­ture. This is our chance to have a say. We’re af­ter big ideas so noth­ing is off the radar.”

Wim­mera South­ern Mallee pri­or­i­ties iden­ti­fied at an in­au­gu­ral re­gional as­sem­bly last year were: Early years and ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion; se­cure vi­brant com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing trans­port; mo­bile and dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity; en­cour­ag­ing a di­ver­si­fied econ­omy; grain cen­tre of ex­cel­lence; best model for tourism devel­op­ment; en­ergy and en­vi­ron­ment; so­cial wel­fare, com­mu­nity and health.

Ms Vo­gel said the gov­ern­ment had al­ready re­sponded to ex­plor­ing the idea of a net­worked agri­cul­ture cen­tre of ex­cel­lence by pro­vid­ing fund­ing for a busi­ness case study.

She added that in­for­ma­tion had also played a role in statewide fund­ing de­ci­sions for re­gional early years ed­u­ca­tion and kinder­gartens.

“We ex­pect to gain great in­sight into de­vel­op­ments at the as­sem­bly,” she said.

“The re­gional part­ner­ship has also opened di­a­logue with Telstra with the aim of de­vel­op­ing a ‘strate­gic re­la­tion­ship’ based on the pri­or­ity of dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity.”

Roads

Among announceme­nts today are more than $1.4-mil­lion to­wards the cost of im­prov­ing agri­cul­tural roads, bridges and in­ter­sec­tions in the re­gion.

Agri­cul­ture and Re­gional Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jaala Pul­ford said the State Gov­ern­ment’s Lo­cal Roads to Mar­ket Pro­gram would al­lo­cate money to help in the trans­fer of pro­duce to the mar­ket place.

She said projects in­cluded re­plac­ing a 96-year-old Al­ba­cutya Bridge at Rain­bow; up­grad­ing and re­align­ing Fed­ers-collins, Sta­tion and K Clarks roads to a Graincorp Lil­limur re­ceival site; an up­grade of Dim­boola-minyip Road; im­proved ac­cess to Wilken Grain Re­ceival Cen­tre at War­rackn­abeal; and the seal­ing of Win­fields Road, La­harum.

Ms Vo­gel stressed the as­sem­bly was fully booked but peo­ple could con­trib­ute to dis­cus­sions on­line at en­gage.vic.gov.au/wim­mera­south­ern-mallee.

“This pro­gram is far from ex­clu­sive for the peo­ple who at­tend the as­sem­bly. It is de­signed to be collaborat­ive and ev­ery­one can con­trib­ute,” she said.

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