THE eight inaugural community members of the state government’s Gippsland Regional Partnership have been announced.
Regional partnerships are also being established in Barwon, Central Highlands, Goulburn, Great South Coast, Loddon Campaspe, Ovens Murray, Mallee and Wimmera-Southern Mallee.
The partnerships will engage with government, to give people greater say about their local issues.
The new members have diverse backgrounds and broad experience, and include representatives from the community, business and the three tiers of government.
Maree McPherson, who has experience across not-for-profit, government and private industry sectors, has been appointed the chairman of the Gippsland Regional Partnership. Agribusiness Gippsland chairman Paul Ford will be deputy chairman.
Other members are Committee for Gippsland chief executive Mary Aldred, Anglicare Victoria regional director Jane Anderson, AGL Loy Yang development and projects executive manager Roland Davies, Gippsland East Local Learning and Employment Network executive officer Jane Ponting, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council president Valerie Prokopiv, and Destination Gippsland chief executive Terry Robinson.
The community members will be joined by Gippsland’s local council chief executives, Regional Development Australia representatives and senior state government officials.
Diversification of the local economy, improved social and economic opportunities, capitalising on the growth opportunities of agriculture, tackling localised unemployment and improving health in the Latrobe Valley, as well as supporting nature-based tourism opportunities, will be among the matters addressed by the Gippsland Regional Partnership.
As Gippsland partnership chairman, Ms McPherson will also sit on Victoria’s Regional Development Advisory Committee, working on cross-regional issues and opportunities.
“In all of the work I do in my small business, including with the community leadership program, it is clear that people want a chance to put their ideas forward,” Ms McPherson said.
“People in regional Victoria have so many insights into how we can develop the communities in which we live.”
Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford said the new regional partnership members were passionate locals who would strongly represent the region and direct regional priorities into the heart of government.