Successful communities have strong leaders with an ability to think laterally and creatively. IRENE GRANT

I have been thinking about my leadership journey. I was lucky enough to be one of the first graduates of the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program and it was the training that I received there, as well as the active discussions we had about leadership, which encouraged me to stand for local government.

It really was an exciting time to be in government back then and an exciting chapter for the Rural City of Wangaratta – not only because I was in the mayoral seat, but also because it was a time when we faced challenges and opportunities in equal measure. In 2004, I wrote an article about the challenges that confronted those living in regional Australia.

In that article, I said that the future growth and development of regional Australia depended on strong local leadership. Fast forward to 2017, and my comment still stands. 

Successful communities have strong leaders with an ability to think laterally and creatively, and who are willing to step up and take responsibility. 

We deserve the very best in leadership. If we want to ensure that we get it, our community must provide support, mentoring and training for those who are willing to step up. Leadership programs such as the AVCLP are an investment in our future. 

Leadership programs mean different things to different people. For some, the desire to lead and the urge to make a difference come very early in life.

I know people who have completed the AVCLP and who have instantly set out to make their mark. I also know others who have yet to act, but I am confident that, when their time comes, they will step forward enthusiastically.

Whatever the moment, I am sure we all agree that regional Australia always needs more leadership.

Irene Grant is chair of the Victorian Government’s Regional Partnerships Committee.