Partnership outlines strategic focus in the context of the 2019/20 Budget28/05/2019
The Victorian Government’s 2019/ 20 Budget has delivered $2.5 million for a new Health and Community Services training facility at GO TAFE in Seymour, as part of a $2.6 billion Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria program.
Goulburn Regional Partnership Chair David McKenzie today noted 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. Stamp duty on commercial and industrial property in regional Victoria will also be cut by 50 per cent by 1 July 2023.
Statewide, there is a $173 million mental health package including $13.6 million for the Royal Commission into Mental Health. Youth mental health is an issue which has been repeatedly raised at the Goulburn Regional Assemblies.
“There are some important investments in the Budget which match the Partnership’s priorities which is good to see,” explains Mr McKenzie, but he adds that the Regional Partnership is about more than securing funding at Budget time. He explains that over the past year, the Partnership has explored and advocated for flexible community transport solutions, as well as specific funding to investigate gaps in mental health service delivery in our sub-regional areas, upgrades to the region’s health services Patient Administration System, and support for university expansion in Shepparton. “The advocacy for these important projects will continue,” he said.
In addition, Partnership priorities funded in previous Victorian Budgets, for example, the Hume Renewable Energy Strategy, are now taking shape. This strategy is about improving understanding of the renewable energy industry in the region to identify and encourage opportunities for new investment in the renewables supply chain. The Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) Masterplan project is now also underway. This will look at the future of agricultural land use in the GMID, and how to foster resilience and adaptive capacity in our farming systems and enterprises.
In Goulburn specifically, as well as the boost for GO TAFE in Seymour, there is a commitment in the Budget that Strathbogie will be one of the first six rural and regional local government areas to receive the roll out of universal three-year-old kinder next year. “Early years outcomes are a strong focus of the Partnership” said Mr McKenzie. “We look forward to this reform being rolled out across the region, over time”.
Mr McKenzie 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,” he 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.”