Regional Partnerships - giving regional Victorians a real say28/03/2018
“Regional Partnerships are helping to transform the way communities work with Government and how Government delivers services in regional Victoria.”
Minister for Regional Development
Victoria’s nine Regional Partnerships – established in mid 2016 – are giving regional Victorians direct input into issues that matter to them.
Over the past almost two years, each Partnership has held two Regional Assemblies and has consulted with thousands of community members, living and working in regional Victoria.
Together, communities have identified critical investments for their regions; and the volunteer-based Partnerships have conveyed these priorities to the highest levels of Government.
Government has listened, learned — and is taking action, together with regional communities.
The Victorian Government funded a number of priorities identified through the 2016 Regional Partnership process including:
- $45 million for improving regional Digital Connectivity, a priority which was identified by each Partnership;
- Major investments in regional road and rail projects which were top of the list in many regions, as well as funding for Partnership specific projects including,
- $12 million for the Cycling Optimisation Project in the North East, $1.7 million for the Victorian Rural Women’s Network and more than $1 million for Beyond the Bell in the Great South Coast.
The 2017 Regional Assemblies and other year-round consultation confirmed many of the Partnerships’ initial priorities, but also identified new issues. Work is now taking place with all levels of Government to progress these priorities. Each Partnership has published its latest priorities, which are housed on their individual web pages.
But Partnerships are about much more than budget outcomes; they are transforming the way regional communities work with governments and together, to make their visions a reality.
As the Minister for Regional Development explains, “Local solutions are often the best solutions. What works in Melbourne doesn’t always work in regional cities. What works in regional cities doesn’t always work in smaller rural towns.
“Regional Partnerships offer us invaluable insights into how we can better design public policy so that it fits the needs and expectations of diverse communities. The Wimmera Southern Mallee early years trial is a great example of this.”
In Wimmera Southern Mallee, the community told Government, at its first Regional Assembly, that the current system of early years provision did not work in the region. The Partnership is now taking the lead – with the Department of Education and Training (DET) – in trialling new approaches.
But it goes beyond Assemblies and one region.
Partnerships are also encouraging different levels of government, different government departments and a range of players to work together. Partnerships include Regional Development Australia (RDA) representatives so there is a direct link into the Commonwealth system, while local council CEOs sit on Partnerships so there is a natural lead into local Government.
“Beyond the formal get-togethers and consultation processes, the Partnerships are helping break down old silos and open up productive new lines of dialogue. This leads to place-based solutions that demand collaboration across and between all levels of government — making us a better, more responsive Government.”