Coun­cils share in $20-mil­lion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments across the re­gion will share in State Gov­ern­ment sup­port money through a new $20-mil­lion Ru­ral Coun­cils Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gram.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Adem Somyurek an­nounced Hindmarsh, Hor­sham, Lod­don, West Wim­mera and Yar­ri­ambi­ack coun­cils would share in $5-mil­lion to ‘im­prove the qual­ity, ef­fec­tive­ness and af­ford­abil­ity ser­vices to com­mu­ni­ties’ in the Wim­mera and southern Mallee.

He also an­nounced Ararat coun­cil would share $4.5-mil­lion with Cen­tral High­lands mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Bal­larat, Cen­tral Gold­fields, Golden Plains, Hep­burn and Pyre­nees coun­cils.

The Wim­mera grant tar­gets devel­op­ment of a suite of re­gion­ally shared fi­nance and pay­roll ser­vices to pro­vide ‘more than $8-mil­lion in pro­duc­tiv­ity ben­e­fits and re­duced costs over five years’.

The Cen­tral High­lands grant will go to­wards a sim­i­lar pro­gram, re­sult­ing in $11-mil­lion in pro­duc­tiv­ity ben­e­fits and re­duced costs, also over five years.

Mr Somyurek said the pro­gram was the first-of-its kind in Vic­to­ria and would im­prove the fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity of ru­ral coun­cils and al­low them to real­lo­cate saved money to other projects.

He said the pro­gram would sup­port the coun­cils by back­ing large-scale, trans­for­ma­tive re­gional projects.

He added the fund­ing en­abled coun­cils to in­vest in projects that were pre­vi­ously

fi­nan­cially un­achiev­able and strength­ened coun­cils’ long-term ca­pac­ity to pro­vide ser­vices to dis­persed pop­u­la­tions over large geo­graphic ar­eas.

“Ru­ral Coun­cils Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gram will achieve greater ser­vice ben­e­fits for ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties and strengthen the longer-term fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity of many im­por­tant ser­vices and pro­grams,” he said.

“Vic­to­ria’s 48 ru­ral and re­gional coun­cils are the lifeblood for more than 1.5-mil­lion res­i­dents, and we want them to re­main sta­ble and sus­tain­able head­ing for­ward.

“The pro­gram is de­liv­er­ing more eco­nomic ben­e­fits for re­gional coun­cils than ever and this is the first time they have re­ceived fund­ing for projects of this scale.”

Bal­larat-based La­bor Mem­ber for West­ern Vic­to­ria and min­is­ter Jaala Pul­ford said lo­cal gov­ern­ment was al­ways finding new ways to bet­ter sup­port their com­mu­ni­ties.

“I look for­ward to see­ing how this col­lab­o­ra­tion will bring ben­e­fits to our area,” she said.

“The pro­gram is de­liv­er­ing more eco­nomic ben­e­fits for re­gional coun­cils than ever and this is the first time they have re­ceived fund­ing for projects of this scale” – Adem Somyurek

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