Council endorses key advocacy priorities for 2021/22

Published on 28 October 2021

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

Unanimously adopted at Council’s meeting last night, 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.

Council’s advocacy efforts will be structured under three tiers – in order of priority, project readiness and community impact.

Tier One

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  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 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.
Rokeby to Noojee Trail Extension 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  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.

Tier Two

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
  • Longwarry Sporting Precinct
  • Gippsland Regional Events Fund
  • Erica Mountain Bike Hub
  • Longwarry land rezoning (for industrial development)
  • Baxter Park Soccer Precinct

Tier Three

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 included in strategic forward-planning documents such as the Long-Term Infrastructure Plan and Economic Development and Visitor Economy Strategy.

Council will align advocacy priorities are aligned closely to other key regional, state and federal plans to maximise opportunities presented by budget and electoral cycles.

Advocacy priorities will be reviewed annually.

For more information, please visit Advocacy Priorities.

The strategic framework for Council’s advocacy activities forms part of Council’s four-pillar draft Economic Development and Visitor Economy Strategy 2022-2025 which will soon be presented to Council for endorsement.

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.

Quote attributable to Mayor Cr Danny Goss

Council has a great responsibility to be the voice for our community and fight for the best outcomes for our region. With clear priorities set, we now turn our effort to bringing our community’s needs to the attention state and federal government ministers and departments. It’s our time to have a seat at the tables that matter.

Starting immediately, we begin our campaign to strengthen strategic partnerships and focus on building networks that benefit the community. We simply can’t do this alone. We also call on our local action groups and leaders to join us on this journey.

Through this holistic approach, we can place ourselves in prime position to attract more investment into our region and create a better Baw Baw for now and the next generations to follow.

Quote attributable to Cr. Joe Gauci 

“Advocacy is arguably one of the most important roles of a Local Council. It’s how we raise the profile of key projects important for our community and how we obtain funding to deliver them.

This advocacy plan is a clear, strategic plan that clearly outlines the key projects and priorities that Council has control over. Each Tier outlined in the plan provides an overview of the key projects in terms of their priority and impact on the community. This advocacy plan provides clear direction for Council moving forward. In turn we aim to ensure we have the community and community groups actively endorsing these projects, as the local voice is extremely important in Council’s advocacy plan’s moving forward.” 

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