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Wednesday, 17 December 2014 13:45

New era for peak regional body as Chair steps aside

The peak regional body for south west Victoria is set to usher in a new era with the resignation of current Chair, Chris O’Connor.

Cr O’Connor, also Corangamite Shire Mayor, said he would step aside as Chair of the Great South Coast Group in a bid to encourage fresh leadership for the advocacy group.

“I’ve had a good run as Chair and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Cr O’Connor said. “But I think it’s time to encourage some of my other Board colleagues to step up with some different ideas and thinking.”

As only the second Chair of the Great South Coast Group – the first was former Corangamite Shire Mayor Matt Makin – Cr O’Connor said the group was at an exciting stage of its evolution.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into getting our house in order and I think what we have now is a solid, well-organised and respected regional leadership group that has the ear of government.”

Under Cr O’Connor’s stewardship, the Great South Coast Group has successfully lobbied for a range of investments in the region.

It has implemented a regional Collective Impact program to raise Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates across the region, securing important government funds to rally the community.

The group has also successfully lobbied for increased road funding to maintain regional roads and managed to secure a range of commitments from both sides of politics in the lead up to the recent State Government election.

This included a $19 million promise from the now Labor Government to fund the Grampians Peaks Trail, and a pledge from the former Coalition Government for extra passenger rail services between Geelong and Melbourne.

Cr O’Connor said the Great South Coast Group also played an instrumental role in securing Government support for the Peter’s Project initiative, which has resulted in a cancer centre funded being funded in Warrnambool.

It had also lobbied for new investment in the National Centre for Farmer Health in Hamilton. “In many ways, the Great South Coast Group has been a bit of a quiet achiever.

“We’ve quietly gone about our business building relationships in government and kicking goals for our region.” Cr O’Connor said the group was now a firm part of the political landscape in south west Victoria.

“We have the ear of government and the Great South Coast Group is now well positioned to speak with a single regional voice about issues that really affect us,” he said.

The Great South Coast Board meets in Warrnambool this Thursday 18 December to elect its new Chair and to discuss emerging priorities for the region.

GREAT SOUTH COAST BOARD MEMBERS

Colac Otway Shire CEO Ms Sue Wilkinson

Colac Otway Shire Mayor Cr Frank Buchanan

Corangamite Shire CEO Mr Andrew Mason

Corangamite Shire Mayor Cr Chris O’Connor

Warrnambool City CEO Mr Bruce Anson

Warrnambool City Mayor Cr Michael Neoh

Moyne Shire CEO Mr David Madden

Moyne Shire Mayor Cr Colin Ryan

Southern Grampians Shire CEO Mr Richard Perry

Southern Grampians Shire Mayor Cr Peter Dark

Glenelg Shire CEO Mr Greg Burgoyne

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Rob Halliday

Independent Director Mrs Coralie Coulson

Independent Director Mr Colin Dunkley

Independent Director Ms Toni Jenkins

Independent Director Ms Cydoni Edwards

 


 

Media information:

Great South Coast Executive Officer, Karen Foster, 0407 312 836


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