Press Releases

Press Releases

Regional Policy Advisory Committee gets underway

Friday, June 06, 2014
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan and Minister for Regional Cities Denis Napthine joined members of the newly formed Regional Policy Advisory Committee (RPAC) for its inaugural meeting in Melbourne today.

Mr Ryan said the RPAC was an independent advisory body established to provide policy advice on key aspects of the Coalition Government’s flagship regional development policy; the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.

“Today provided a landmark moment to discuss the expectations of RPAC and ways in which we can work in unison to deliver great outcomes for the regions,” Mr Ryan said.

“We covered a range of topics including discussions about future prospects, roles, agendas and the areas of priorities.”

Mr Ryan said the RPAC, which was established through the Regional Growth Fund Act 2011, would comprise key representatives from all over regional Victoria.

“The eight member committee will be chaired by Birchip farmer Ian McClelland OAM and will also include the chairs of the five non-metropolitan Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committees,” Mr Ryan said.

“I have great confidence and expectations for this new body to provide policy advice on various aspects of the Regional Growth Fund including:

• strategic infrastructure priorities and projects with state-wide significance or significance to rural and regional Victoria;
• the operation of the Regional Growth Fund and the outcomes of projects which had been funded from the Fund;
• the impact of Acts and secondary legislation on rural and regional Victoria; and
• policy matters that affect rural and regional Victoria.

Dr Napthine said a key part of the committee’s role would be to promote greater coordination between the Victorian and Commonwealth governments on regional development projects.

“By including the chairs of the RDA committees as members of the RPAC we hope to see more effective coordination and communication between the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments in regards to regional development initiatives,” Dr Napthine said.

“The RDA Committee chairs also ensure all regional areas are well represented in the deliberations of the RPAC.”

The RPAC members are:

• Mr Ian McClelland OAM – Chairperson: Mr McClelland is most noted as being the founder and Chairperson of the Birchip Cropping Group; a highly successful farm support and agricultural research organisation in Victoria's north-west. Mr McClelland was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to agriculture, particularly through the development of sustainable crop production systems, and innovative farming and land management practices.
• Mr Bruce Anson: Mr Anson is the Chief Executive Officer of Warrnambool City Council and the Chairperson of the Barwon South West RDA Committee.
• Ms Joanne Bourke: Ms Bourke is the Executive Director of the Wimmera Development Association and Chairperson of the Grampians RDA Committee.
• Ms Hayley Cail: Ms Cail is the Chairperson of the Hume RDA Committee.
• Ms Jenny Dawson: Ms Dawson is the Chairperson of the Loddon Mallee RDA Committee.
• Mr Richard Elkington: Mr Elkington is the Chairperson of the Gippsland RDA Committee.
• Mr Ross Lake OAM: Mr Lake is the General Manager of TASCO Inland; a major fuel and oil distributor based in Mildura. Mr Lake received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to arts administration, to social welfare, and to the community.
• Ms Val Lang AM: Ms Lang is a partner in a farm in western Victoria and is the Deputy Chair of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority. Ms Lang was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to women living in rural and regional communities, particularly by improving social and economic conditions through the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women, and to the environment, health and education sectors.

Mr Ryan said the RPAC members shared an outstanding depth and breadth of expertise on all aspects of regional development.

“I look forward to working closely with this group on exciting and innovative projects and initiatives to help stimulate jobs, growth and greater prosperity in regional and rural Victoria.”

Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            0429 507 541      end_of_the_skype_highlighting and Mark Lee 0408 547 381 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            0408 547 381      end_of_the_skype_highlighting