In a historic event for our region, the councils of Albury and Wodonga have formally signed a Statement of Intent with the Australian, NSW and Victorian Governments to develop an Albury Wodonga Regional Deal.
It will be Australia’s first-ever cross-border Regional Deal and it signifies great confidence in the potential for Albury Wodonga, one of regional Australia’s biggest economies, to power ahead with significant support from all arms of government.
When it’s developed, the Deal will outline a shared vision for the future of Albury Wodonga as one united community.
The Statement of Intent outlines some of the key priorities for advancement, including:
- Economic development
- Cross-border harmonisation
- New infrastructure and connectivity improvements
- Enhanced livability for our residents
- The leveraging of the region’s health and educational facilities, and
- Supporting our Indigenous community as key pillars of the future Deal
This collective vision for our future lays out an advanced roadmap to build upon our existing assets and develop new ones, with the aim of realising the economic potential of Albury Wodonga as Australia’s 20th-largest community.
The signing of the statement by AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack, Wodonga Mayor Anna Speedie, the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, the Deputy Premier of NSW, John Barilaro, and Victoria’s Minister for Regional Development, Jaclyn Symes, was an exciting milestone that will act as a turning point for our future.
All parties have agreed to develop the Deal by mid-2021. In the lead-up to that, we’ll work closely with our Two Cities One Community partner, Wodonga Council, to ensure the community’s priorities and aspirations are woven into the final Deal.
It’s an honour to be chosen for the first interstate Deal, which is a testament to the strength of the Two Cities One Community partnership.
Of course, neither city could have reached this point without the vision, support and enthusiasm of the people who live in our united community. It’s a credit to people on both sides of the border that this shared vision to harness the collective resources of both cities was so readily embraced and we thank all of those who’ve helped to make some of the aspirations of the partnership into realities.
The signing of the Statement of Intent comes at a particularly valuable time for the border cities, as we all deal with the pressures of the recent bushfires in the near region, COVID-19 and the associated border closure.
Although the closure has caused hardship for many of us, it’s pleasing to see that as a community we’re working through those challenges, with the support of governments, to minimise the impact and ensure we’re well placed to recover when the pandemic ends.
The Regional Deal will be an important part of that recovery process, both in the short and longer term, and by having this framework in place, our businesses can take confidence in knowing that a solid foundation has been laid for our future growth.
We’ll soon begin consultation through a series of community reference groups to gather input on the benefits that the Deal should provide, whether that be creating new infrastructure, solving some of our cross-border anomalies, growing our population and industry base, or further enhancing the lifestyle opportunities that make Albury Wodonga such a great place to live, work and invest.
Thank you to our partners in government, business and the community for so enthusiastically embracing our shared way forward and we look forward to continuing that work together so that we can harness the enormous potential that the Deal offers to the border cities and surrounding region.