Today marks a unique opportunity for north-east Victoria to influence policy at a national level.
The community called for action on proper regional policy, and now it is happening. The response to the inquiry into regional development and decentralisation has been overwhelming. One fifth of submissions have come from Indi – more than any other electorate. As an independent representative and a member of the inquiry committee, I couldn’t be more proud. What a great opportunity to showcase local, effective delivery of jobs, infrastructure and healthy communities.
We have 50 years of experience of decentralisation and regional development on the Border. Wodonga is one of the fastest-growing cities in regional Victoria. Albury and Wodonga councils are preparing to sign an historic partnership agreement. The north-east knows how to do regional development well.
Industry bodies, local government, health services and higher education institutions will present case studies in what has worked, what hasn’t, and what they need to thrive. Their focus is so much broader than decentralising government departments. It’s about a whole-of-government approach to equality of opportunity.
The inquiry will hear how well people in the north-east engage in partnerships across all levels of government, industry and community sectors. It’s this collaboration that’s needed for regional Australia to reach its full potential. Far too often, the regions are pitted against each other in a framework of competitive grants and budget submissions.
I encourage everyone to visit www.cathymcgowan.com.au/regionalinquiry and read the submissions. It is especially exciting to see how many young people have enthusiastically engaged with the process. And please continue to share case studies and insights into regional development.