North-east Victoria’s agricultural industry will get the chance to have the ears of its minister at a special forum to take place in Wodonga later this month.
That will be at the 2017 Ovens Murray Regional Assembly, which follows-on from a similar event last year.
“Regionality matters to all of us,” Ovens Murray Regional Partnership chair Irene Grant said.
“It’s important that we’ve got an opportunity on the 27th to talk to the Premier (Daniel Andrews) and other senior ministers, including (Agriculture Minister) Jaala Pulford and senior advisers.
“A lot of conversation is around agribusiness in this region and what we need to do to give it more of a competitive advantage.”
Ms Grant primary industry in the North East clearly had “so much potential for development into the future”.
But she emphasised that the assembly was not about prioritising one area over another, one industry versus another industry.
“I’d have to say that in terms of the rural community, in engaging with government all of us need to work together,” Ms Grant said.
“That’s so there’s no separation between someone who might live in the CBD of Wangaratta versus someone who lives way out in an isolated rural area.”
Ms Grant said the partnership was keen to let the community know about progress that had occurred on priorities identified last year.
Recently, the state government announced funding of $12 million to strengthen Ovens Murray’s reputation as a world-class cycling destination.
“We also want to have a forward-looking conversation about opportunities to encourage new ideas and stimulate innovation, as well as hearing about new and emerging issues for the region,” Ms Grant said.
“The Ovens Murray Regional Assembly supports community members to work in partnership with government for the benefit of the whole region.
“This collaboration between government, business and the community is an important opportunity to define what the region needs most.”
Ms Grant said a recently launched campaign to get more people to live in regional Victoria was an example of “putting the focus back on regional living. Sometimes that seems to be the thing that will make a difference. People will look at that sort of campaign and think ‘that’s something you do, living in the regions, when you see how big the cities are getting.
“It’s worth saying that this is an opportunity for people right across the region to be involved in the conversation. And the conversation is about reinforcing what’s important to us as a community.”