CEO John McLinden and I traded the recent spring weather for the wintery confines of Canberra this week where we joined Murray River Group of Councils mayors and CEOs to advocate for our region.
The Murray River Group of Councils includes Swan Hill, Mildura, Campaspe, Gannawarra, Loddon and Moira councils. The group covers 21 per cent of Victoria in area and represents about 157,000 Victorians. Combined, we have a gross regional product of $7.7 billion and have 1100 kilometres of Murray River frontage.
We have a strong, united voice to advocate for issues of shared interest. This time we had eight meetings with Ministers, Shadow Ministers and advisors to lobby for things like investment in energy, roads and tourism, and for better community outcomes under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
We met with Minister for Energy Josh Frydenberg, seeking Government support to unlock our region’s potential as a leader in solar energy production. Already, more than $4 billion worth of solar power projects have planning approvals or applications across the six municipalities.
We met with the Murray Darling Basin Authority CEO and Chief Economist, where we advocated for an end to water recovery from northern Victoria, for mitigation of the Basin Plan’s impact on communities to date, and for a greater emphasis on achieving stated environmental outcomes from the Basin Plan.
And we met with an advisor to Tourism Minister Steve Ciabo, where we discussed the Ports of the Murray and a new multi-mode Murray River Adventure Trail.
These advocacy meetings are important to raise the profile of our region and our region’s priorities, and I am confident they will stand us in good stead as we look for investment in our region in the future.
Fifty-seven apply for community grants
Thank you to the 57 groups who applied for funding through our 2017 Community Development Fund. The assessment panel will meet next week to determine successful applicants, and this decision will be taken to Council before applicants are notified in mid-October.
Fairfax next week
The Fairfax Youth Initiative will be on in Swan Hill next week, with schools from Swan Hill, Manangatang, Tooleybuc, Sea Lake, Red Cliffs and Bendigo taking part. The Fairfax brings young people from regional areas together with professional artists to build young people’s skills and to create professional quality theatre work.
The Fairfax Gala, showcasing the new works created by our local young people, will be held on the Thursday – a free public event for all ages. There will also be two professional theatre works on during Fairfax Week with tickets available to the public – The Yellow Wave on Tuesday night and Selina Jenkins on Wednesday night.
Visit the Fairfax Facebook page for more details. Also, look out for street and mural artist Kaff-eine who will work with students to create an art piece in town.
Robinvale Business Mixer
There will be another Robinvale Business Mixer next Thursday night, 21 September and I look forward to seeing plenty of local business and community leaders there. The free event is an informal chance to hear about our latest Robinvale projects, like the 2031 Plan, the new levee bank and a New Residents Guide. You can chat to us about your ideas or issues, and meet Heather Green, Council’s recently appointed Director Development and Planning. It’s on at the Robinvale Golf Club from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.
CEO John McLinden and I will be back in Robinvale the following Thursday, 28 September to meet individually with community members about their ideas or concerns. To make a time to talk to us, please contact Sue Smythe at the Robinvale Resource Centre or call 5051 8000.