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The 2018 WSM Assembly in summary by Chair David Jochinke


The 2018 WSM Regional Assembly was the Partnership’s third major opportunity to consult with the community.

In addition to local residents, businesses and organisation representatives, the Assembly was attended by five Victorian Government Ministers: the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development; Special Minister of State; Minister for Local Government, Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation; Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Women and Prevention of Family Violence; Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria. In total, there were over 200 people in the room at the Assembly in Stawell.

The WSM Regional Partnership designed this year’s Assembly to build on the work, input and feedback provided to the Partnership through previous Assemblies and broader consultation with the community and Government.

The Assembly provided the WSM Regional Partnership an opportunity to present a brief summary of some of the achievements over the past eight months since our last Assembly. We have included a link to the report back video shared at the Assembly for your reference.

With three Assemblies under our belt, we now have a clear understanding of, and a strong evidence base for, the issues facing our region. Discussions at this year’s Assembly aimed to gain more detailed ideas and opportunities to resolve issues relating to the Better Coordination of Regional Planning, Energy, Integrating Service Delivery and Improving Education Outcomes.

The evening was full of conversation and interesting discussion, and generated many ideas which the Partnership will now review. Some of the emerging ideas that were heard across themes include:

Suggestions linked to Regional Planning & Energy

  • Continue to look for innovative ways to diversify our local economy, especially in agriculture and tourism;
  • Address structural issues that impact on local government sustainability;
  • Take a long term, region-wide, cross sector approach to planning; 
  • Continue to advocate for passenger rail services into the WSM; 
  • Continue to advocate for improved investment in, and maintenance of, local and regional roads;
  • Make the most of opportunities to position our region as leaders in applying digital agriculture;
  • Improve digital connectivity and infrastructure across the region;
  • Encourage commercial and support community energy projects.

Suggestions linked to Integrated Service Delivery & Education

  • Comprehensively plan and regionally coordinate the critical issues facing the current and future workforce; 
  • Identify and design better coordinated service delivery systems, suited to small rural communities;
  • Trial innovative, integrated, cross Department delivery of family, social and educational services;
  • Ensure innovation in service delivery is locally appropriate, co-designed and resolves current barriers;
  • Continue investing in our region’s best assets, our children through Early Years programs;
  • Address some of the complex issues faced by families and young people affected by family violence.

Feedback received from attendees recognised the increased number of young people at the Assembly this year. The WSM Regional Partnership would like to recognise the effort made by all the young people who attended and we will aim to further embed appropriate youth engagement into our future consultations.

Moving forward

As a Partnership, our role is now to take the messages and ideas from our 2018 Assembly and action them. We will present on our 2018 Priorities to the Rural and Regional Ministerial Committee later this month.

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