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Wednesday, 01 June 2016 10:12

Minister acknowledges region's collective work

Representatives from the Great South Coast Group met with Minister for Regional Development and Agriculture Jaala Pulford at Parliament House last week to discuss three key priorities - Beyond the Bell (an education attainment project), the Great South Coast Food and Fibre Action Plan and the current dairy crisis gripping the southwest. 

Great South Coast Chair Cr Colin Ryan said the Minister's knowledge and understanding of the issues had been impressive.

"The Minister not only acknowledged the extensive work we have done to date as a region, but also had great empathy for the challenges we face now and in to the future."

Cr Ryan said Beyond the Bell had reached a key turning point, with existing funds exhausted and Government support needed to continue momentum of the project.

"The Minister understood we're at a critical stage in Beyond the Bell and how important it is to continue the momentum we have built and I'm optimistic she will find a way to support it."

He said the Minister was also impressed with the Food and Fibre Plan, which she saw as a top priority for the Regional Partnership Groups, once they are established.

"Minister Pulford said it was a great piece of work and commended all who have been involved in its development.

"Today's meeting was not just about briefing the Minister on our key priorities, but going to the Government with a solution and an action plan."

Cr Ryan said the Great South Coast Group sought support from the State Government to set up 'one stop shop' centres across the region in the coming days and weeks.

These would be similar to those set up during emergency events to provide those impacted with easy access to government agencies such as Centrelink, social services and financial support.

"It's a tough time for a lot of people in our community and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to access the services they need."

Cr Ryan said the Great South Coast Group was confident of the Minister's support for the region and looked forward to continuing the positive working relationship with the Andrews Government.

The Great South Coast Group is the peak advocacy body for the region bounded by the Shires of Colac Otway, Corangamite, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Glenelg and the City of Warrnambool.

Contact: Karen Foster on 5560 5389

26 May 2016

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