Budget 2019/20 delivers for Gippsland as Partnership outlines strategic focus28/05/2019
The Victorian Government’s 2019/ 20 Budget delivers for Gippsland, including $7 million for the redevelopment and expansion of Latrobe Regional Hospital, as part of a $2.6 billion Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria program.
Gippsland Regional Partnership Chair Maree McPherson today welcomed the Budget, which provides a whole of government focus on delivering for rural and regional Victorians, with improvements across the state to public transport, country roads, tourism infrastructure and TAFE facilities, and provides health facility upgrades while supporting jobs. The Budget provides further tax relief for rural and regional businesses, with the regional payroll tax rate to be reduced to 25 per cent of the metropolitan rate by 2022-23.
In Gippsland specifically, as well as the boost for Latrobe Regional Hospital, there is:
- Funding for free public wi-fi in areas of the Latrobe Valley,
- A new coastal park for the Bass Coast and to plan a Sea to Summit hiking trail and associated park infrastructure upgrades in East Gippsland,
- Funding for planning for an upgrade to Bairnsdale Secondary College.
“There are several important investments for the Gippsland region in the Budget which match the Partnership’s priorities which is great to see,” explains Ms McPherson, but she adds that the Regional Partnership is about much more than securing funding at Budget time.
She explains that over the past year, the Partnership has worked with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) to develop the Gippsland Digital Plan, as well as advocating for improved public transport connectivity and flexible transport solutions in the region. It has also partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), to develop a workforce strategy for Gippsland health and community services and has championed improved mentoring and career counselling in secondary schools in the region.
In addition, Partnership priorities funded in previous Victorian Budgets, for example, $700,000 last year for a Gippsland Food and Fibre action plan, are now taking shape, with the recent merger of Agribusiness Gippsland and the East Gippsland Food Cluster to form Food and Fibre Gippsland, a single leadership entity to advocate for the industry and drive activity in the region. A discussion paper has recently been released and a co-designed workshop is on the cards.
Ms McPherson says the Partnership - one of nine across the state - is now in its third year and is evolving. Last week the Partnership published its Outcomes Roadmap, which outlines its key, long-term strategic areas of focus and where it is looking to make a real difference.
“This year, as part of the natural evolution of our Partnership, rather than running a large Assembly, we are in the process of identifying a few key issues where we will run smaller, targeted meetings,” she explains.
“At these forums, the Partnership will engage with Government, the community and stakeholders in a more decisive, focused and strategic way in order to make a substantial difference in a specific area. The issues we address will mirror the outcomes we are striving to achieve, and we’ll let the community know about these areas of focus shortly via our Facebook page.”