Unlocking economic potential

$20 million jobs package a welcome boost for Goulburn Valley

A new government package targeting jobs and investment in the Goulburn Valley is welcome news for Victoria’s food bowl.

Having grown up and raised my own family in the region, I am excited about the economic and social benefits of the $20 million Regional Jobs and Investment Package (RJIP) for the Goulburn Valley.

The Federal Government funding is part of a bigger $220 million package to be shared by 10 Australian regions to diversify their economies, stimulate long-term economic growth and deliver sustainable employment.

So how will the money be spent? Who will decide?

Funding will be available across three streams: local infrastructure projects, business innovation grants, and skills and training.

Communities to decide own future

The Coalition Government has given local communities the opportunity to decide their own future by selecting groups of regional leaders to identify investment priorities.

Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash and Member for Murray Damian Drum last week jointly announced the Goulburn Valley’s Regional Jobs and Investment Packages Local Planning Committee.

The committee, in consultation with the local community, will develop a Local Investment Plan that outlines the region’s sectors for growth and identifies new markets which may create sustainable jobs in the future.

“Our committee brings together leaders from across regional Victoria with a broad range of skills. We understand that locals know our community best,” Mr Drum said.

“Once the Local Investment Plan is completed, the committee will invite businesses, councils and community groups across the Goulburn Valley region to apply for funding.”

Regional leaders share experience and ideas

Committee 4 Greater Shepparton chair Sam Birrell has been appointed chair of the Goulburn Valley Local Planning Committee.

Other members from throughout the region are: Julie Aldous, Judith Cue-Ahmat, Ben Hardman, Peter Harriott, Ken McLennan, Dennis O'Brien, Astrid O'Farrell, Sarah Parker, Tony Thompson and Anna Speedie.

"The committee is a really diverse group of people with a lot of experience and significant achievements."

– Sam Birrell, RIJP Goulburn Valley Local Planning Committee chair

Mr Birrell said he was looking forward to working with the committee who will look at targeted investment in a region encompassing 13 local government areas.

“The committee is a really diverse group of people with a lot of experience and significant achievements. I look forward to hearing their ideas,” Mr Birrell said.

Target opportunities

Mr Birrell said the Goulburn Valley had a self-sufficient economy and targeted investment would increase employment opportunities.

“The Goulburn Valley has a strong economy that is based on agriculture and manufacturing,” he said.

“We are not as reliant on the service industry as some other regions but targeted investment can help our existing businesses grow.”

Mr Birrell said while agriculture was a likely discussion point, he did not want to pre-empt conversations and ideas that the committee would bring to the table.

“Given the nature of our area, agriculture is an obvious area to consider but we will be having a really open-minded approach to our discussions.”

The other nine regions chosen for the RJIP are:

  • Bowen Basin, will receive $30 million;

  • NSW North Coast, will receive $25 million;

  • NSW South Coast, will receive $20 million;

  • Wide Bay Burnett, will receive $20 million;

  • Cairns, will receive $20 million;

  • Geelong, will receive $20 million;

  • Tasmania, will receive $25 million;

  • Upper Spencer Gulf, will receive $20 million; and

  • La Trobe, will receive $20 million.

The untapped opportunities for these regions is positive, not only for their local economies but the snowballing opportunities for our nation’s prosperity. For this reason, we should wish these regional committees success in forward thinking ways to boost job opportunities and drive and sustain economic growth.

For more information, visit the Regional Jobs and Investment Package website at

http://regional.gov.au/regional/regional-jobs-investment-package/

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