Bath calls for continued regional leadership funding

Funding for the Gippsland Community Leadership Program (GCLP) is in doubt with the Andrews Labor Government refusing to provide details on if funding will be extended.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath called upon the Minister for Regional Development, Jaclyn Symes in State Parliament to provide funding in the next budget to secure the state wide program for another four years.

Ms Bath said the GCLP is the longest running regional leadership program in Australia and it would be devastating to see it go.

Program funding expires in 2020 for each regional community leadership program in Victoria.

“Frustratingly to date the Victorian Regional Community Leadership Program (VRCLP) has not received a commitment from the Minister”, said Ms Bath.

Locally the GCLP has an alumni of 576.  Graduates of the Gippsland program includes prominent individuals including Mr Ken Lay, former Chief Commissioner of Police, The Nationals Senator for Victoria, Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie and multiple local government Councillors, including two current Gippsland Mayors.

“The community leadership program is an important platform contributing to regional development and it must continue.

“The program facilitates diversity, empowers, encourages, mentors and provides opportunity for individuals to become the community leaders.

The Victorian Regional Community Leadership Program requested $11 million over four years.  This equates to $250,000 annually for each regional program to remain operational.

Ms Bath said it is a relatively small investment that delivers big outcomes for regional communities.

“The GCLP exposes participants to a diverse range of experiences tailored to their regional area, its history, community and industry.

“Most importantly it empowers and creates our future leaders.

“I am calling on Minister Symes to endorse Victoria’s Community Leadership Programs and commit the required funding to allow it to continue.”