As residents of the Central Highlands region we have a rare opportunity to share our aspirations for the region directly into the heart of State Government through the newly formed Regional Partnerships.

As chair of the Central Highlands Regional Partnership, I’m here to tell you that this initiative is  different, and it’s critical that people understand the opportunity we have to genuinely influence how State Government supports priorities in our region.

On November 15, residents from across the region will be gathering in Ballarat for the first Central Highlands regional assembly, and joining us in the conversation will be various Ministers and senior State Government staff, all there to listen to YOUR priorities for YOUR community.

Our Central Highlands Regional  Partnership is one of nine across regional Victoria, and the 15 members of our regional partnership comprise community representatives from all walks of life, along with CEOs from the six Local Government areas that make up Central Highlands region.

Our objective is simple, it’s to listen to the communities of Central Highlands, to gather your thoughts and ideas and to build them into priorities so we can inform State Cabinet of exactly what you think is important.

This is a rare chance to tackle some of those wicked problems and opportunities that often get placed in the too-hard basket, because the barriers are too many and the resolve needed to tackle a long term challenge doesn’t fit with short term political cycles. That’s why this is different.

Some are concerned that we are usurping the role of Local Government, after all they are elected by their local community, but we aren’t; and I think that’s the wrong way of looking at things. Councils are in place to provide services to residents and ratepayers, and while they are each powerful advocates for the region, there is no requirement for Councils to take a regional view.

 If anything we are an additional resource for Councils and can help tackle those wicked challenges that Council’s simply can’t solve on their own. Council CEOs are on the Regional Partnership  committee and  are telling us all about the existing projects and initiatives in their area. In forming up those priorities, we are looking at how they support and promote what is already happening or planned for the region, and what you are telling us as residents.

As we plan for the Central Highlands Regional Assembly on November 15, our partnership members have been gathering detailed ideas and feedback through face to face engagement, and through valuable online engagement at our Central Highlands Regional website

It’s well worth a look at the website to get a flavour for the ideas and priorities that people are sharing.

This is an extraordinary opportunity we have been entrusted with as a community - the power to gather the collective wisdom of a region and to be crystal clear with our elected State leaders about what we know needs to happen in Central Highlands. By determining our priorities, we will be providing our Ministers with the direction they need to make budget decisions, to support policy change, and to advocate for program delivery that matters for Central Highlands.

And you will know whether its working because we will report back to you, regularly.

For me, that’s very different and very important for all of us.


Central Highlands Regional Partnership Committee