Advocacy Priorities

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Major community infrastructure, road and recreation projects are among Baw Baw Shire Council’s key advocacy priorities for the 2021/22 year ahead.

The priorities provide a framework for Council to plan and deliver targeted advocacy to State and Federal Governments for investment in projects that enhance our Shire’s liveability and secure our future as a thriving, innovative region. Advocacy priorities will be reviewed annually.

Imagine a regional city with a thriving economy, where families can live and grow and vibrant communities flourish. Baw Baw Shire is where the country meets the city, a place where the future is bright and potential is realised. Council is proud to support its community today and into the future and provide progressive lifestyle and economic opportunities for our residents and investors by advocating at all levels of government for a better future.

Council’s advocacy efforts will be structured under three tiers – tier one, two and three – in order of priority, project readiness and community impact. You can learn more about Council's advocacy priorities and plans below.

Tier One Advocacy Priorities

Tier one advocacy priorities are large-scale long-term projects with significant inter-generational impact on the region.

Four tier one key advocacy priorities for 2021/22 are:

Baw Baw Civic Precinct

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An inter-generational legacy project that aspires to build on existing spaces and infrastructure surrounding the West Gippsland Arts Centre and Civic Park by integrating new civic and community spaces, improving open spaces and maximising opportunities for community connectedness – including a new library, multi-purpose and community meeting spaces, Council customer and visitor service, rooftop community garden, public toilets, car parking and pedestrian links.  


Warragul and Drouin Bypass

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Addressing historical road network challenges that see major arterial roads and agricultural routes run through the centre of both Warragul and Drouin’s CBD area. These challenges result in traffic congestion at peak times, inefficient agricultural routes, and limited private commercial investment in town centres with many retail premises being vacant and prime commercial land remaining undeveloped. 

Click here for more information, or here to download a printable fact sheet(PDF, 6MB).


Rokeby to Noojee Trail Extension

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Extension of the existing Rokeby to Neerim Trail by a further 10kms to the north creating a link to one of Baw Baw’s key historic tourism destinations, Noojee. A potential south bound extension from Rokeby to Warragul would link the trail to the largest township.   


Logan Park Cycling Centre of Excellence

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Developing the well established and successful cycling hub into a functional, fit-for-purpose contemporary regional cycling centre that meets the core cycling sport facility specifications whilst also promoting community use – including criterium circuit with various circuit lengths, municipal level competition BMX track, cyclo-cross course with obstacles and improved spectator facilities.   

New Hospital for West Gippsland

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Advocacy for a new hospital in West Gippsland also remains one of Council’s key focus areas.

While this is not a project in Council’s jurisdiction to deliver, it is well understood and acknowledged by Council and the community that the existing hospital is no longer able to keep up with regional growth and demand.

Advocacy to State Government for significant investment towards a new hospital at a greenfield site is being continually progressed in parallel to Council’s newly adopted advocacy priorities.

Advocacy for a new hospital in West Gippsland reached a key milestone on 25 November 2021, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Baw Baw Shire Council and West Gippsland Healthcare Group (WGHG).

The agreement formalises Council’s and WGHG’s commitment to work together and collaboratively plan and deliver the proposed future construction of a new $500 million hospital.

Click here to read the full release, and click here to download the MoU(PDF, 412KB).

Tier Two Advocacy Priorities

Tier two advocacy priorities are medium-to-large-scale projects in strategic alignment with regional, state and federal plans. Projects are in a strong position to receive funding with preliminary planning and design works either underway or completed.

Six tier two key advocacy priorities for 2021/22 are:

Sealing of South Face Road - Tourist Route to Mt Baw Baw 

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Sealing of South Face Road, Mt Baw Baw to create a dynamic, safe and connected tourist route through Gippsland. This improvement will increase the number of visitors, better connect Mt Baw Baw to the surrounding regions and encourage private investment in the region. 


Longwarry Sporting Precinct 

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Upgrading the existing pavilion, improving the current playing surface and the development of second playing surface. This will provide facilities for the club to support their growing communities and host regional finals. 


Gippsland Regional Events Fund 

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The economic impact of events in Gippsland can be broad and far-reaching from increased visitation and the localised expenditure associated with holding the event. This additional spending can provide significant stimulus to local businesses. The Gippsland Regional Events Fund will provide funding across Gippsland to attract new and significant events to Baw Baw Shire and the region. 


Erica Mountain Bike Hub (Central 'G7' Gippsland Mountain Biking Hub) 

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Gateway to the Walhalla and Mountain Rivers region, Erica is home to Gippsland’s premier cross-country mountain bike trails. This project will see the creation of a regional trails hub at Erica as the park already offers a strong mountain biking experience close to the Warragul and Melbourne markets. 


Longwarry Land Rezoning 

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Land along Princess Highway at the Sand Road interchange in Longwarry has been identified as a strategic site for developing an industrial precinct. Currently zoned for farming, a rezone to industrial land would be a significant step forward. The area boasts prime highway access and proximity to Melbourne, sitting on the Baw Baw’s western border where Regional Victoria meets Metropolitan Melbourne. 


Baxter Park Soccer Precinct

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Staged development of the existing pavilion to ensure facility compliance with various building and sporting codes including Football Victoria’s Building Development Guide, the Building Code of Australia and - as part of stage two works - National Premier League minimum facility requirements. 

Tier Three Advocacy Priorities

Tier three advocacy priorities are other projects and initiatives endorsed by Council that align with Council’s vision and planning for the future. Projects are including in strategic forward-planning documents such as the Long-Term Infrastructure Plan and Economic Development Strategy.

Advocacy Focus Areas

Council plays an important role in not only providing our communities with high quality assets and services, but in advocating for the needs of our communities. This includes advocating to State and Federal Governments to provide infrastructure and services in the following areas. In addition to the six project above, Tier Two contains the following advocacy focus areas.

Health

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The West Gippsland Hospital services the people of West Gippsland. Baw Baw is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Victoria and the existing infrastructure of the West Gippsland Hospital is struggling to keep up with the demand and growth of our region. This includes providing high quality specialist care across the broader Baw Baw Shire community.


Education

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Baw Baw Shire is committed to supporting the growth of early education services, however our community requires quality secondary and higher education providers. Infrastructure commitments from State and Federal Governments are necessary to assist growth areas like the Baw Baw Shire to address these urgent community needs.


Community Resilience

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As a peri-urban/regional Council many of our smaller towns and communities are remotely located and as shown by significant weather events such as storm and fire, our communities lack access to secure connectivity and power. Infrastructure commitments are required from State, Federal and private businesses to ensure our residents and communities are safe and resilient during emergency events.


Services and Security

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The rapid growth of Baw Baw Shire places significant pressure on provision of appropriate utility services such as water and sewerage for residents and businesses. Additionally, the attraction of businesses to provide a workforce for our growing community are prohibited by access to key utility services.