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Budget 2019/20 delivers for Ovens Murray as Partnership outlines strategic focus


The Victorian Government’s 2019/20 Budget delivers for the Ovens Murray region, with $2.4 million to commence infrastructure and planning works for the redevelopment of the Wangaratta hospital, as part of a $2.6 billion Delivering for Regional and Rural Victoria program.

Ovens Murray Regional Partnership Chair, Irene Grant, today welcomed the Budget, which provides a whole of government focus on delivering for rural and regional Victorians. This includes improvements across the state to public transport, country roads, tourism infrastructure and TAFE facilities, and will provide 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.

As well as the boost for Wangaratta hospital, she welcomes news of a share of $340 million for new VLocity trains to run on the North East line. There is also $800,00 for the Benalla Splash Park, and funding for an additional 500,000 specialist medical appointments for rural and regional Victorians.

“There are several investments in the Budget which match Ovens Murray Partnership priorities which is good to see,” says Ms Grant, but adds that the Regional Partnership is about much more than securing funding at Budget time.

She explains that over the past year, the Partnership has advocated for new trains, as well as working with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) to develop an Ovens Murray Digital Plan. It has also partnered with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to develop a regional roadmap that supports the uptake of renewable energy opportunities in the region and secures benefits for communities from these new technologies.

Ms Grant says the Ovens Murray 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 the key, long-term strategic areas of focus for the Partnership 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 and will run smaller, targeted activities,” she 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.”

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