Regional Development VictoriaRDA Hume

State Government of Victoria

RDA Hume Newsletter December 2013

RDA Hume newsletter heading


Welcome to the December 2013 edition of the Hume RDA Newsletter.

There have been some exciting happenings in the Hume Region recently including:

  • the Hume RDA Leadership Event in Wodonga
  • a briefing with regional education providers to discuss the findings of the Education Aspiration for Regional Victoria project and the Hume RDA sponsored study Aspirations and Destinations of Young People
  • a webinar to assist the small business sector to take advantage of opportunities presented by the digital economy
  • the Australian Bureau of Statistics identification of Hume region as one of the pilot sites for its Regional Economic Data Development project.
  • the grand opening of the Ovens Riverside Precinct at Wangaratta, a project funded by local, state and Commonwealth governments.

The government has confirmed it will fund all projects from RDAF rounds two, three and four, including those projects currently under contract and those that were not subject to a signed funding agreement prior to the election.  The Government has also confirmed that most of the uncontracted projects from the former Community Infrastructure Grants programme will be funded.

With the Commonwealth government decision to rationalise various advisory committees came a brief period of uncertainty for RDA committees across Australia, however recent discussions with the Hon. Warren Truss MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, in relation to the ongoing role of RDA Committees have been positive.

Our commitment to regional development remains strong and we will maintain a key role in supporting projects and activities that align with regional priorities.
I am confident that the new year will bring opportunities to further strengthen relationships with stakeholders throughout the Hume Region, including all levels of government, industry, business and the community as we strive to make Hume an even better place to live, work, invest and visit.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the RDA Committee and support staff for the fantastic work they’ve done throughout the year and wish all a safe and happy festive season.

Mark Byatt



In this issue:

Hume RDA brings regional leaders together

Working together to improve educational outcomes in Hume Region

Digital Readiness

ABS seeks advice from the Hume Region

Ovens Riverside Precinct

RPAC presentation to Minister


RDA Hume Leadership Forum

Hume RDA brings regional leaders together

Over 170 business, community and public sector leaders gathered at the CUBE in Wodonga on 2 October 2013 for the Hume RDA Regional Leadership Event.

Keynote speakers Gerry Ryan OAM and Barry Irvin AM provided personal insights on their approach to business leadership and opportunities for regional growth in the manufacturing and food sectors.

Gerry Ryan, founder of the Jayco group of companies and one of Australia’s most successful businessmen, highlighted the importance of the five P’s: People - Passion - Persistence - Perseverance - Perspiration!  He also praised the lifestyle benefits of regional Victoria and described his commitment to the community of Nagambie, where he has significant business investments.

Barry Irvin, executive chairman of Bega Cheese, Agribusiness awards winner and member of the Victorian Government’s Food and Agriculture into Asia Taskforce encouraged audience members to share their fears as well as their dreams and surprised many when he admitted to regularly rising at 4 am to take part in ‘milking’ so that he could stay connected with all levels of his business operation.

Other guest presenters included Bryan Nye, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association, who provided a view of the potential future of Australia’s rail industry and regional development opportunities linked to development of high speed rail.  Justin Hanney, a senior executive with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, spoke about Victoria’s national economic contribution and drivers for state and regional development.

Local ABC radio presenter, Gaye Pattison was very professional and engaging in her role as facilitator, which included hosting an interactive audience Q&A session and an ‘On the Couch’ conversation with Gerry Ryan and Barry Irvin.

Hume RDA Committee Chair, Mark Byatt said, “the event was an outstanding success and feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. The high calibre line up of speakers really delivered, and there were some very clear messages for the Hume Region.  We were extremely pleased with the strong attendance, and I am confident there were many motivating and interesting insights for those attending.”


RDA Hume Leadership Forum

ABS seeks advice from the Hume Region

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Rural and Regional Statistics National Centre has identified the Hume Region as one of the pilot sites for its Regional Economic Data Directions (REDD) project.

The project team is engaging various stakeholders involved in economic analysis to further explore the issues and gain a better understanding of regional data use and data needs.

Two workshops were scheduled in the Hume Region to explore issues relating to regional economic data availability and analysis - the first was held on 27 November in Wangaratta and the second on 2 December in Shepparton.

The REDD project is looking at compiling economic indicators for regional economic analysis, with a view to identifying data gaps and ultimately publishing a guide for practitioners to highlight available data and approaches to analysis. 

In the longer term the project is expected to inform ABS directions for developing data where gaps have been identified.

“Having the opportunity to engage as a region with the ABS through this project is very timely”, said Jim O’Connor Hume RDA member.  “Issues relating to place-based data collection have been raised with the Committee and it is terrific that the ABS has initiated the REDD project to support place-based regional economic development”.

Education aspirations photo

Working together to improve educational outcomes in Hume Region

Representatives of the education and community sectors from across the Hume Region attended a Hume Region briefing on the Education Aspiration for Regional Victoria project report that was commissioned by the Victorian Government Regional Policy Advisory Committee (RPAC) and prepared by KPMG.
The briefing was held on Tuesday 3 December 2013 in Wangaratta.
Mark Byatt, Hume RDA Chair and RPAC member, hosted the session and Jemma Horsley, KPMG Senior Manager, provided a summary of the report’s findings with particular reference to the Hume Region.
The report explores how student aspirations influence participation and attainment rates in regional areas and identifies how stakeholders can play a role in lifting aspiration levels.
An overview of the Hume RDA sponsored study, Aspirations and Destinations of Young People: A study of four towns and their communities and schools in Central Hume, Victoria was also provided. 
In addition, participants had an opportunity to share information about other local aspiration building initiatives that aim to strengthen educational outcomes in the Hume Region.

The RPAC report can be downloaded at:

The Hume RDA report can be downloaded at:

For further information contact:


Opening of the Ovens Riverside Precinct

Ovens Riverside Precinct

On Friday 1 November 2013, Tim McCurdy MP, State Member for Murray Valley and Acting Wangaratta Council CEO, Kelvin Spiller formally opened the Ovens Riverside Precinct, a successful Round 2 RDAF project.

The $5.22 million project has created an improved Riverside Precinct through the construction of a Promenade, Civic Square and Plaza. The Civic Square, central to the development, features shade trees and incorporates an amphitheatre with seating for cultural events. The promenade and footbridges provides improved pedestrian linkages to the Ovens River and the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail.

The project will generate economic benefit to the regional economy through increased tourism visitation and attract retail and hospitality investment activity in sites close to the Riverside Precinct.

Opening of the Ovens Riverside Precinct


Digital Readiness

Supporting initiatives to build readiness in the Hume Region for the digital economy has continued to be a focus for Hume RDA.

During late November a webinar was held for the small business sector to discuss how major changes in digital technology are impacting on their industry and how small business owner/operators can take advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital revolution.

Recognising that for many small businesses the online business world is daunting, the webinar provided small business owners/operators with information and advice to support developing an online plan for their business. The webinar, funded by RDA Hume, is available to view on  It was delivered by Fergal Coleman, Director of the Melbourne-based IT consulting firm Symphony3.

This workshop aim was to assist small business owners/operators to understand:

  • How the digital economy is going to affect the small business sector and individual businesses
  • Why the national broadband network is so important and what it means for the future of Australian businesses
  • How to prepare for the changes that are coming
  • How to leverage super fast broadband to a business advantage
  • How to critically analyse individual business models and customer behaviour
  • How to recognise customers are influenced by content and mobile
  • The value of data in a digital economy
  • What action a small business can take next.

Mark Byatt presents to Minister Ryan

RPAC presentation to Minister

During the week of 25 November, Regional Policy Advisory Committee (RPAC), including Hume RDA Chair, Mark Byatt made presented its strategic advice regarding future regional policy and investment priorities to the Minister for Regional and Rural Development, the Hon Peter Ryan MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development, Mr Damian Drum MLC.

Items on the agenda included RPAC’s:

  • Advice on the future design and operation of the Regional Growth Fund
  • Advice on long-term priorities for growth and investment in regional Victoria
  • Regional briefings to increase awareness of RPAC’s  Education Aspiration for Regional Victoria research report
  • Development of an online tool for Thinking Regional and Rural

RPAC Committee (left front) Mark Byatt, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, the Hon Peter Ryan MP, Jenny Dawson and Richard Elkington (back left) Val Lang, Stuart Benjamin, Ian McClelland and Bruce Anson.


Contact us

Hume RDA Committee

Office: Level 1, 62 Ovens St, Wangaratta VIC 3677

Phone: 03 5722 7101
Fax: 03 5722 7109

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Last Updated: 15 April 2016