Opinion | Collaboration key to rural sustainability

The Wimmera Southern Mallee is home to thriving communities and diverse landscapes, but our wide-open spaces, small population and ageing infrastructure offer unique challenges in ensuring our region prospers into the future.

Our councils and large number of community groups tend to compete for resources and funds for projects. Once funded, projects invariably find themselves locked up in approval processes needed to address environment and cultural issues. These can be costly and too many resources end up in administrative planning and approval processes.

By all sectors working together and having an integrated plan for our future, we have the potential to reduce regulatory burden, improve our environment, promote economic development and improve our infrastructure.

Long-term strategic planning will allow for the interaction between our natural and built environments to be better understood and to minimise impacts. A better understanding of our energy and transport needs, both now and into the future, will help us minimise cost to our businesses and grow as a region.

For our region to be sustainable and grow going forward, we need to work together as a community to overcome the challenges we as a region are facing, such as declining populations and ageing infrastructure.

On May 30, the Wimmera Southern Mallee will hold its third Regional Assembly focusing on how, as a region, we can better plan for our future, ensuring that public and private funding is targeted and used to ensure the maximum benefit to our community.

If you are passionate about the future of our region and have some innovative solutions as to how we can better plan for our environment, infrastructure and natural resources, come along and share your ideas with some of Victoria’s decision-makers, or contribute online at: engage.vic.gov.au/wimmerasouthern-mallee

To register to attend the Assembly, go to engage.vic.gov.au/wimmera-southernmallee. For more details about the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership and Budget 2018/19, go to www.rdv.vic.gov.au/regional-partnerships/wimmerasouthern-mallee​ 

Mark Williams, GWMWater and Emma Vogel, WSM Regional Partnership Vice chair of the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership