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Gippsland's priority projects August 2021 update stated by One Gippsland Chair Brett Tessari

The One Gippsland alliance is celebrating its first birthday this month, and we are excited about the future of our region with the guidance and collaboration of our board.

By news@gippsland - 31st August 2021 - Back to News

Welcome to the first newsletter for One Gippsland, a quarterly bulletin to keep you up to speed about the work of the alliance around our region. In this edition you will find information about our advocacy work, an update on Gippsland's priority projects and a snapshot of what's ahead. The board is a dedicated team of Gippsland's leaders from local government, industry and education who volunteer their time to secure funding and policy results for the region.

One Gippsland Chair - Cr Brett Tessari

One Gippsland Chair - Cr Brett Tessari

Interests of the people and the region

One Gippsland was created to connect the dots between government, business and community - while working collectively to champion the interests of our region and our people. And, we've set ourselves some lofty targets to deliver for Gippsland:

  • Being Australia's most liveable region by 2040
  • Attracting an additional 75,000 residents by 2040
  • Increasing the Gross Regional Product to $23.2 billion by 2040

Over the past 12 months the behind-the-scenes advocacy work has started to pay dividends. In addition to building the profile of our region against the backdrop of COVID-19 restriction, there have been some wins in terms of new mobile towers, a new business fibre zone for Cowes.

Funding NBN Infrastructure upgrades Warragul, Wonthaggi and Inverloch, funding for our all-important tracks and trails project including the Great Southern Rail Trail as well as Metung Hot Springs, Cowes Cultural Centre and the WORLD sporting centre in Bairnsdale.

Connecting Victoria survey

But we know there is a lot more to be done. Digital connectivity remains a high priority - you have probably heard me on ABC Gippsland, encouraging everyone to complete the Connecting Victoria survey website to identify mobile and internet access issues in their area.

With remote working and schooling and the ongoing challenges we face with floods and fire there has never been a more important time to get digital connectivity right in our region. One Gippsland will certainly be making the case for improvements to mobile and broadband coverage in our area with ongoing representation to the state and federal government.

Priority projects

One Gippsland has identified a number of priority projects, which are critical to the region's ability to grow and prosper. Digital connectivity is a major issue for Gippslanders, even more so with the uptake of people working and learning from home. One Gippsland developed a Digital Connectivity Policy Position and also made a submission to the Round 5A Mobile Black Spot Program.

We held a round table with the previous Federal Minister for Regional Communications and NBN and engaged with the office of the Hon Jaala Pulford, Victorian Minister for the Digital Economy. This work has contributed to Gippsland receiving funding for five known Black Spots in the latest funding round, 50% of the total allocation to Victoria.

Our tourism sector has been hit hard with the loss of international visitors, natural disasters and border closures having a significant impact. One Gippsland developed the Tracks and Trails Policy Position, which was the driving force behind the $6 million extension of the Great Southern Rail Trail.

Building a strong economy

We were also successful in securing funding through the Latrobe Valley Authority Advancing Regional Strengths Fund to appoint a resource to manage and develop smart specialisation policies across Gippsland in partnership with six local governments and key industry bodies.

One Gippsland has also been working closely with industry partners to build a strong diversified local economy. We have made three submissions to the Local Jobs Program National Priority Fund to address transport barriers in accessing TAFE, increase placement opportunities for key university degrees and continue the successful StartUp Gippsland program to support entrepreneurship in the region.

One Gippsland have been gathering around the virtual meeting table, to advocate for our region

One Gippsland have been gathering around the virtual meeting table, to advocate for our region

Advocating for the region

While we have had some great success on priority projects, we aren't resting on our laurels. The One Gippsland board and secretariat have spent a lot of time around the table of late, meeting with Ministers, local members of Parliament and departmental officials to advocate for important issues in our region.

We have had productive discussions at the ministerial level, meeting with the Hon. Mary-Ann Thomas MP, Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, to discuss Gippsland's priority projects and our essential food and fibre industries. Working across all levels of government, we also met with the office of the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, to receive an update on the federal government's faster rail business case and rail plans for Gippsland.

Discussing the issues

Last week we hosted a roundtable of Victorian Coalition and local Gippsland members of Parliament to establish a shared understanding of regional priorities including the Hon Peter Walsh MP, Gary Blackwood MP, Hon Tim Bull MP, Danny O'Brien MP, Melina Bath MP, and Hon Edward O'Donohue MP. This month, One Gippsland also met with the Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing MP to identify and advocate for Gippsland's strategic projects.

Delving into the detail, the Board has also hosted key departmental officials including the Victorian Department of Transport, to discuss regional transport. Tourism initiatives in Gippsland were also firmly on the table, through recent meetings with the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. Our strong food and fibre industry and the challenges it has faced due to COVID-19, bushfires and recent storms was also discussed with Agriculture Victoria.

Pictures from One Gippsland website.


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