More than 70 community and government stakeholders have held virtual meetings to share ideas on how to unlock the massive potential of the ground-breaking Albury Wodonga Regional Deal.
The Deal, which harnesses the power of the Federal, NSW and Victorian Governments, along with the Councils of Albury and Wodonga, has been launched with the signing of a Statement of Intent that lays the foundations for the development of the Deal.
The statement identifies six key pillars designed to grow the local economy in consultation with stakeholder groups. Those pillars are:
- Economic development
- Cross-border harmonisation
- Infrastructure and connectivity improvements
- Enhancing our community’s liveability
- Delivering quality health and education services, and
- Supporting and working with our indigenous community
It represents an amazing opportunity to unleash the full potential of Albury Wodonga as one of regional Australia’s largest economies, delivering population growth, job creation and improved social outcomes across both cities and the broader region.
Achieving this potential will be a community-wide effort, which is why it was pleasing to see the six community reference groups begin to draw a road map towards this exciting future.
Led by key members of business and community, including the two Cross-Border Commissioners and senior leaders from Albury and Wodonga Councils, the groups are discussing ways of maximising the opportunities presented under the key pillars, with a focus on building partnerships and enhancing the growth of the tourism, Defence, education, and health and social services sectors.
The local knowledge and expertise of the group members will be invaluable as they develop those opportunities to build upon our position as nationally significant region.
The work will continue with the identification of major proposals for the priorities outlined in the Statement of Intent. This information will be used to inform all levels of government as we work together to develop the Deal.
While we seem mired in a gloomy economic and social situation at the moment, the progression of the Regional Deal process offers hope of much better times ahead.
We know we face more hard times as the virus continues to stifle our businesses and restrict our community life, but we’re also planning for a bounce back in the ‘new normal’ after COVID-19 passes.
With all levels of government committed to developing the Deal by mid-next year, the important input of our consultation groups is already providing a light at the end of the COVID tunnel – and when that time comes, our Regional Deal will provide a powerful springboard towards a brighter future.
Thank you to all those who continue to support this process and as we work towards the rewards that the Deal will provide, please stay safe and support our local businesses as well as you can in these tough times.
In the meantime, we can take comfort in knowing that Albury Wodonga was chosen as a centre for the first cross -border Regional Deal because of its underlying economic strengths, outstanding spirit and its unique advantage of being one cross-border community – and with those strengths working for us, we’ll be well poised to catch the wave of growth that the Regional Deal will bring.