The Albury-Wodonga Regional Deal continues to develop, but the community must be patient about its progress, according to the cities' leaders.
Wodonga mayor Kev Poulton and Albury mayor Kevin Mack said implementing the deal as well as tourism and transport projects would be the focus of the Two Cities One Community partnership over the next 12 months.
Cr Poulton said he'd love to see the regional deal finalised this year but the pandemic had changed government priorities since the venture was announced in 2019.
"I think we really need to be realistic in terms of the attention that might attract from the state and federal levels but the fact that they're still answering calls, they're still having meetings with us, for me that's a promising sign that we're still getting somewhere," he said.
"I stand here today more confident and more impressed with the fact of how we're progressing compared to how we have been over the past three or four months.
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"We know we're doing everything within our control that we can do and then we obviously are at the mercy of the powers that be to finish off their end of the arrangements."
Cr Poulton said the impact of the past year's border closures, permits and different state restrictions had made governments more aware of Albury-Wodonga's needs.
"It has added volume to our case that we wouldn't have had otherwise," he said.
Cr Mack said Two Cities One Community was working extremely well, with establishing a cross-border public Wi-Fi network among future goals.
"We just need to get our digital connectivity sorted," he said.
"Other cities do it, we should be able to do it too."
Cr Poulton said COVID restrictions had emphasised this resource needed to be seamless as people moved between community spaces.
"If we can't see each other face to face en masse, we need to be able to stay connected wherever you might be," he said.
Existing joint initiatives include Halve Waste, the Sustainable Living Festival, Grant Guru, Invest Albury Wodonga and Visit Albury Wodonga, with development of an integrated transport plan to continue.
The councils' joint arts and cultural festival Upstream won't continue in 2022 after the inaugural event in March last year and a restricted program earlier this year.
"The first time we ran it, it was warmly received but we were relying on a follow-up event," Cr Mack said.
"COVID happened next, so we tried to cobble half an event together this year, it didn't work."
While some elements like the street art proved popular "my opinion only, I just didn't think (the festival) was best bang for bucks".
The councils plan instead to focus on attracting and supporting new events.
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