GIPPSLAND is well positioned to grow Victoria’s economy, to innovate and create new jobs, according to Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan.
Mr Ryan made the point while addressing new and existing councillors at the Gippsland Regional Forum in Morwell on Friday.
Mr Ryan said the Gippsland Regional Forum was designed to introduce councillors across Gippsland to important regional strategies, as well as to provide them with the opportunity to engage with other community leaders.
“Regional Victoria accounts for a quarter of Victoria’s annual economic output and is home to a quarter of its population, putting it in an ideal position to grow the economy,” Mr Ryan said.
“Gippsland can make better use of its natural resources by investing in services and infrastructure that allow the region to adapt, build resilience and grow in a sustainable way.”
Mr Ryan provided an overview of Victorian Coalition Government policies which he believes benefit local families, individuals, businesses and communities, and help to grow the local economy.
“Projects like the Gippsland Regional Growth Plan are offering a strategic direction for regional land use and development and are addressing the challenges and opportunities offered by changing populations, industries and environments,” Mr Ryan said.
“Other programs such as the Latrobe Valley Industry and Employment Roadmap and Advancing Country Towns are great examples of collaboration between state and local governments to create employment and stimulate new investment.
“It is not just about planning we have made some strategic investments through funding programs such as the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund, which has provided $4.7 million in funding to Latrobe Valley-based projects and generated 180 jobs.”
Mr Ryan also spoke about the unprecedented support now available to regional communities through programs such as the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
“So far we have contributed more than $35 million through the Regional Growth Fund to projects in Gippsland and continue to support regional communities through initiatives such as the Putting Locals First program,” Mr Ryan said.
“Putting Locals First funds a wide range of projects from major town centre re-developments, such as the $500,000 Bairnsdale CBD redevelopment, to small community-led projects.
“That is what we aim to do work with regional councils, individuals and businesses to support stronger and more sustainable communities.”