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The 2018 Loddon Campaspe Assembly in summary by Chair Nigel McGuckian


The 2018 Loddon Campaspe Regional Assembly – our third – was an opportunity to showcase some of the top priorities the Regional Partnership has been working on, and a further opportunity to hear from our community.

On the night, there were focused discussions on our Regional Economy, Health, Iconic Tracks and Trails, Early Years Language and Literacy and a dedicated Youth room – complete with bean bags.

The Assembly saw strong representation from the local community, along with business and representatives from many organisations from across the region (there were close to 200 community members in the room). The Assembly was also attended by the Premier of Victoria and by local Members of Parliament. Also present were three Victorian Government Ministers; the Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Planning and the Minister for Transport.

The Assembly was two days after the release of the 2018/19 Victorian State Budget and there were many good news announcements for the region to be excited about. It certainly was clear that the voice of our community had been listened to as the Government delivered on many of the key priorities of the region. But there is more work to do.

The Assembly was an evening of high energy lively conversation, facilitated by having five breakout rooms, each dedicated to one of the top priorities. This enabled community members to be immersed in discussion about one priority and provide their ideas and thoughts. Importantly, the Regional Partnership members were listening carefully in all the sessions and the discussions have been recorded to help us move forward.

The night showcased the strong work undertaken in each of our priority areas and was exemplified by the screening of our Healthy Hearts Video. This video featured community members from across the region who had great ideas about what they needed to be More Active More Often.

The following key messages were heard at the Assembly.

Healthy Heart Early Years Youth - Our Critical Asset
  • Ambassadors & leaders
  • Focus on hubs
  • Active transport
  • Value and connection to natural environments
  • Partnership opportunities
  • Application of lenses- i.e. gender
  • Activating existing spaces
  • Embedding physical activity in lifestyles
  • Parent co-designed programs for parent capacity building
  • Place based programs
  • Importance of early literacy and language
  • Importance of supporting highly vulnerable families
  • Staying or coming back to the region: sense of community belonging; connection;
  • Mentoring: Youth who feel safe and resilient to help/mentor/lead others who don’t
  • Safe and reliable public transport for youth to access: Services; recreation; education; work
Environment Tracks & Trails Regional Economic Statement
  • Aboriginal cultural connection in natural assets
  • Develop neglected assets
  • More funding for park management
  • Fire management that protects forests/biodiversity
  • Strategic toilets and bins in assets
  • Train access for bikes
  • Tracks must be maintained
  • Clear point of difference for each trail
  • Online methods to inform
  • App to guide trail users to sites and services
  • State-wide trails website
  • Accessibility for all to trails
  • Governance is crucial: need local committees of management
  • Land use planning
  • Build partnerships across public and private to build tourism offering – cultural experience
  • Social disadvantage needs to be addressed “close the gap”
  • Protect agricultural land
  • Understand emerging demand from Asia and China
  • Rail needs to connect to Tullamarine
  • Developing cultural identity behind the business relationship

We also heard about the importance of issues relating to waste and energy and these two issues will now be given more thought by the Partnership.

Next Steps

As a Partnership, our role is now to take the messages from our 2018 Assembly, to deepen our regional understanding of each priority, and to input – where we think needed – into Victorian Government thinking. Some next steps include:

  • Providing input into the design of the Healthy Heart Initiative which received $5M from the 2018/19 State Budget.
  • Creating a Regional Economic Statement. This work will help us understand what large-scale projects will help fulfil the region's aspirations for the future.
  • Identifying the place-based, community driven opportunities for an Early Years Language and Literacy program.
  • Supporting mental health and resilience building for our Youth.
  • Advocating for solutions for some of the transport issues which exist in small towns.
  • Completing a Digital Plan for the region.
  • Presenting to the Victorian Government's Rural and Regional Ministerial Committee on our region's priorities.

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