This is a joint media release between the Committee for Gippsland, the Gippsland Local Government Network and Regional Development Australia on behalf of One Gippsland.
Leaders from One Gippsland spent a productive day in Canberra this week advocating for regional needs and priority projects at the highest level.
Four local leaders representing One Gippsland formed the delegation including Committee for Gippsland (C4G) Board Chair Toni Wakefield, C4G CEO Jane Oakley, Baw Baw Shire Mayor and Gippsland Local Government Network (GLGN) Chair Cr Mikaela Power and Baw Baw Shire Council CEO Alison Leighton.
The delegation met with key Members of Parliament, policy makers and advisors including:
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development the Hon Michael McCormack;
- Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government the Hon Mark Coulton;
- Federal Member for Gippsland the Hon Darren Chester MP;
- Minister for Education the Hon Dan Tehan;
- Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environment the Hon Trevor Evans; and
- Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment the Hon Simon Birmingham.
The delegation addressed key regional priorities and opportunities including:
- Priority transport projects such as duplication of Princes Highway, Traralgon bypass, alternate truck route Sale and fast rail for the Gippsland line;
- Tertiary education and specialist skills training, with a focus on the health sector;
- Food and fibre sector issues, including off-river water storage to support the horticultural industry in East Gippsland;
- Carbon capture and storage;
- Resource recovery and waste to energy;
- Timber production;
- Tourism and the visitor economy;
- Regional development, transition and industry diversification.
Through these meetings, the delegation brought Gippsland’s advocacy priorities to the attention of Canberra’s decision makers.
C4G, GLGN and Regional Development Australia will continue to work alongside Regional Partnerships to build on opportunities from this visit to plan for a follow up early in 2020.
As stated by C4G Board Chair, Toni Wakefield
“It was great to meet with key Members of Parliament to discuss the needs of Gippslanders. We covered a lot of ground including major infrastructure enabling projects, rail and roads, water storage, health and education.”
“Through our discussions we were able to draw attention to growth and changing population demographics, priority road and rail infrastructure needs, and other important regional projects including health and education, opportunities for industry decentralisation to support job growth, and support for agribusiness and tourism.”
“Government leaders also brought new opportunities to our attention including programs for improved digital connectivity for high capacity users and upcoming Building Better Regions funding rounds to support regional tourism and other infrastructure projects.”
“We thank each of the Ministers and advisors for their time and support as we work together to achieve better outcomes for Gippsland. Special thanks to Minister Darren Chester who continually represents the needs and aspirations of our region at the highest level.”
As stated by Baw Baw Shire Mayor and GLGN Chair Cr Mikaela Power
“This year, Baw Baw Shire Council chairs GLGN. Many of the regional priorities – including fast rail, employment centres, and additional tertiary education, particularly to support the health sector – have tangible benefits far larger than any one municipality. This is why working as One Gippsland is of vital importance to both our local and regional advocacy priorities.”
“We acknowledge and thank our local Federal Member for Monash Russell Broadbent for his continued support and championship of Gippsland in Parliament – in particular his advocacy for improved drought support and assistance for our farmers and agribusiness.”
Image: Baw Baw Shire Council CEO Alison Leighton; the Hon Michael McCormack Deputy Prime Minister; C4G Board Chair Toni Wakefield; the Hon Darren Chester MP; GLGN Chair and Mayor Cr Mikaela Power, Mark Coulton MP Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government; and C4G CEO Jane Oakley in Canberra.
Additional information about One Gippsland
One Gippsland is comprised of the following organisations:
- The six Gippsland Local Government Network Councils including Baw Baw Shire, Bass Coast Shire, Latrobe City, Wellington Shire, East Gippsland Shire and South Gippsland Shire. The six GLGN Councils alternate the Chair each year to ensure fair and equal representation across Gippsland.
- The Committee for Gippsland, a member-driven organisation that represents a large number of Gippsland industries, businesses and community organisations.
- Regional Development Australia, an Australian Government initiative that brings together all levels of government to enhance the development of Australia’s regions.
Together, these organisations and representatives unite to form One Gippsland and advocate for improved outcomes for Gippsland.