The 2018 Ovens Murray Regional Assembly in summary by Chair Irene Grant23/08/2018
The 2018 Ovens Murray Regional Assembly – our third – was held in Wangaratta on 27 June 2018. It was an opportunity for the Regional Partnership to share information about progress on a number of our key regional priorities and to hear in more detail from our community about the things that matter to them.
The Assembly saw strong representation from the local community, along with business and many organisations from across the region. We had over 200 people at the Assembly, including more than 150 community members.
The Victorian Government was represented at the Assembly by the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development; Minister for Industry and Employment; Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Mental Health, Equality and Creative Industries; Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria; and Member for Northern Victoria.
Roundtable conversations on the night focused on sustainable farming, digital inclusion, innovation and entrepreneurship, renewable energy, early years, supporting our young people, transport and economic growth.
The table conversations at the Assembly, many of which were facilitated by Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program (AVCLP) alumni, were lively and informative – enabling us to learn more about the important issues and hear ideas from local people keen to contribute to action that will benefit the region.
We screened two short videos at the Assembly; the first to highlight progress on these priorities. The second was an update on the North East Victoria Cycling Optimisation (NEVCO) Project, a Partnership priority which received $12 million for Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Activation from the Victorian Government in 2017/18.
At the end of the evening, Assembly participants were asked for the 'most interesting' idea they had heard that night. Ideas were then scored by Assembly participants with the top ten 'most interesting' ideas presented on the night being:
- A train system that is reliable and has connectivity
- A regional youth strategy that is reflected across all regional Partnership priorities that ensures today’s youth are part of planning for now and the future
- Set 20% target for community ownership of all regional renewable developments to keep investment, energy and ownership in the region
- A regionally based renewable energy retail provider using and developing local renewables and lowering prices
- Experienced retired farmers mentoring young farmers (this idea appeared twice in the top ten)
- Social enterprise for disengaged young people to provide employment opportunities and confidence
- Invest resources into early intervention and holistic wrap-around approach to families at risk
- Link cycle strategy to food/wine and Indigenous interpretive information
- School based farming apprenticeships to encourage young people onto the land.
The Regional Partnership will consider the messages from the 2018 Regional Assembly to deepen its understanding of regional priorities and inform continuing conversations with regional stakeholders and the Victorian Government. All ideas and notes from the table conversations have been recorded and will be considered by Regional Partnership members in preparation for their post-Assembly meeting with Victorian Government ministers.