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August 2018

2018 Ovens Murray Regional Assembly report back
Ovens Murray Regional Assembly group discussions

Dear Community Member,

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership and in our 2018 Regional Assembly which took place in Wangaratta on 27 June.

The Assembly saw strong representation from the local community, along with business and many organisations from across the region. In total, there were 200 people at the Assembly, including more than 150 community members, and we are keen to keep you, our community, up to date with developments and our work.

With this in mind, I am taking this opportunity to write to you as Chair of the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership.

The Assembly in summary

The 2018 Ovens Murray Regional Assembly – our third – was an opportunity for the Regional Partnership to share information about progress on a number of our key regional priorities and to hear in more detail from our community about the things that matter to them.

Roundtable conversations on the night focused on sustainable farming, digital inclusion, innovation and entrepreneurship, renewable energy, early years, supporting our young people, transport and economic growth.

The Victorian Government was represented at the Assembly by Jaala Pulford, Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development; Ben Carroll, Minister for Industry and Employment; Martin Foley, Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Mental Health, Equality and Creative Industries; Danielle Green, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria; and Jaclyn Symes, Member for Northern Victoria.

Read more about the Assembly here.

Ovens Murray group discussions
We're listening and delivering

Achievements highlighted at the Assembly included progress on some key regional priorities funded since the last Assembly:

  • $200,000 to develop an activation plan for Mount Buffalo
  • $300,000 towards establishment of the Wangaratta Digital Hub
  • $300,000 for Wodonga Business Innovation Hub feasibility
  • $300,000 to develop a Regional Renewable Energy Strategy
  • $2 million to progress the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing walking trail project
  • $22 million for Northeast Health Wangaratta redevelopment and
  • $235 million for track upgrade to improve passenger rail on the North East line.

We screened two short videos at the Assembly; the first to highlight progress on these priorities.

The second was an update on the North East Victoria Cycling Optimisation (NEVCO) Project, a Partnership priority which received $12 million for Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Activation from the Victorian Government in 2017/18.


On the day of the Assembly, the Victorian Government announced $2.5 million towards the $5 million Wangaratta Gateway Precinct project which will improve public spaces, upgrade roads and pathways and better connect the railway precinct with the rest of the city.

Also, following our Assembly, the Victorian Government announced funding commitments for the Beechworth Secondary College upgrade. This is a local community priority which received strong support through the Ovens Murray Partnership Engage website in the lead up to the Assembly.

Next steps

The Regional Partnership will consider the messages from the 2018 Regional Assembly to deepen its understanding of regional priorities and inform continuing conversations with regional stakeholders and the Victorian Government. All ideas and notes from the table conversations have been recorded and will be considered by Regional Partnership members in preparation for their post-Assembly meeting with Victorian Government ministers.

The Ovens Murray Regional Partnership will also continue its focus on existing regional priorities and take action to:

  • Progress passenger rail improvements, including action to secure a firm funding commitment from the Victorian Government for purchase of new VLocity trains for the North East line
  • Provide a strong community voice into the government’s service planning and design process for additional passenger rail services and new trains on the North East line
  • Support regional tourism projects that have already received funding from government and are underway – North East Victoria Cycling Optimisation (NEVCO) Stage 1: Murray to Mountains Activation and Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing iconic walking trail
  • Secure funds for regional tourism projects that have completed business cases and are ready for investment – Growing Mount Hotham, Ned Kelly Alive and Mount Buffalo Activation
  • Complete a study of ‘walking tourism’ that will be used to guide regional tourism marketing, ‘walking tourism’ product development and infrastructure investment priorities
  • Implement new initiatives to provide regionally based education pathways that meet workforce needs in key sectors – agriculture, engineering and community services
  • Support initiatives to ‘future proof’ the region’s agriculture sector and strengthen its sustainability
  • Complete the Ovens Murray Digital Plan and secure funds to implement key priorities
  • Develop a set of digital innovation case studies to showcase digital innovation in the Ovens Murray region
  • Promote regional participation in the 2018 Life Tech Challenge, a locally based national competition for developers who are using digital technology to improve people’s wellbeing
  • Develop the Hume Regional Renewable Energy Strategy and take action on key priorities
  • Establish the Wangaratta Digital Hub and Wodonga Business Innovation Hub.
Ongoing consulation

Though our 2018 Regional Assembly is now behind us, the Partnership is keen to continue the ongoing engagement with the community.

We will, of course, keep you abreast of announcements relevant to our region via our website, email and on our Partnership Facebook page.

Again, thank you for giving your time and insight, whether by attending the Assembly, a meeting through the year, or being active on the Engage page.

Your views are valuable and this process means our region has a direct line into Government.

We look forward to keeping the conversation going.

Irene Grant
Ovens Murray Regional Partnership



This email was distributed by the Regional Development Victoria on behalf of the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership.

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