Barwon Assembly report back13/12/2017
The Barwon Regional Partnership Chair reports back following the 2017 Assembly:
Thank you for your ongoing interest in the Barwon Regional Partnership and in our 2017 Regional Assembly which took place in Geelong on 14 September 2017.
At that meeting, which was attended by around 230 community members from across the region, I pledged to keep all in the room, and those who had expressed interest in the Partnership and our community engagement, up to date with developments and abreast of time lines.
With that in mind, I am taking this opportunity to write to you as Chair of the Barwon Regional Partnership.
The 2017 Assembly in summary
The 2017 Barwon Regional Assembly was the Partnership’s second major opportunity to consult with the community.
Not only did we have a wealth of local residents and businesses in the room, our Assembly was also attended by four Victorian Government Ministers for Regional Development, Tourism and Major Events, Water and Police, and the Attorney General. The Minister for Regional Development stressed that they and other Ministers were in Geelong to listen to regional voices and to hear about our vision for the future of our region.
Our 2016 Assembly was a first chance to explore priorities for the region through six themes (Education and Training, Health and Safety, Industries and Jobs, City and Town Centres, Transport and Visitor Economy) and, with feedback from the community, we incorporated a seventh theme, Natural Assets and Climate Change earlier this year.
The 2017 Assembly gave us the chance to explore in greater depth issues and desired priority actions under our seven themes. We did this by holding table discussions around the following three focus areas:
- Young people are our future
- The economy we need
- Pride in our place.
Among the top priorities identified at the Assembly were the need:
- To engage our young people and raise their aspirations
- For innovative employment initiatives for young people
- To boost the visitor economy
- To grow industry and jobs
- To protect natural assets and biodiversity and
- To invest in Central Geelong.
Live polling was also used as part of the prioritising. To note, an error occurred at the Assembly with the live polling by which participants were able to make multiple votes in response to a particular question. This error was immediately picked up and the repeat votes have been removed from the data.
Since the Assembly, members of the Partnership have met and ensured Assembly outputs are reflected in our Region’s presentations to Government.
As a Partnership, we have taken our priority actions and learnings from our 2017 Assembly and wider consultation and have presented them to the Rural and Regional Ministerial Committee.
Last year, I spoke to that committee about our priorities and I am pleased to say that in this year’s Budget in May, the following funding was announced:
- Central Geelong Revitalisation:
- $11.7 million to revitalise central Geelong - new stormwater infrastructure at Johnstone Park; new laneway connections to Malop Street; planning to expand the Green Spine; new bus infrastructure
- Development of the Great Ocean Road:
- $1.3 million to improve governance of the Great Ocean Road
- Increasing internet capacity in schools:
- 63 government schools across the region will be the first in Victoria to have new virtual conferencing systems installed; with nine schools having their internet bandwidth doubled as part of a $16.4 million state-wide investment to improve regional connectivity. The investment means all schools across Geelong, the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula will have the same internet speeds as metropolitan schools.
As you can see, our Partnership is already having an impact, strengthening collaboration across Government, and our voice is being heard.
Though our 2017 Assembly is now behind us, the Partnership is very keen to continue the consultation process and the ongoing engagement with the community.
With that in mind, our Engage page will be open for further comment and we would encourage you to get on the page and let us know your thoughts and ideas and follow up for the region, or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will of course also keep you abreast of announcements relevant to our region, via email and also on the Barwon Partnership Facebook page.
I want to take this opportunity to again thank you for giving of your time by attending the Assembly, a pre-meeting or being active on our Engage page. Your views are incredibly valuable in this process and means our region is heard right at the heart of Government.
I look forward to keeping the conversation going,
Barwon Regional Partnership