Regional Leadership Programs – advocating for funding 2021

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (19:37): My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Regional Development, the Honourable Jaclyn Symes, and it relates to regional community leaders programs that occur right across this great state of ours. I will read into Hansard that there are nine  Community Leadership Program . Some have been running—like the Gippsland Community Leadership Program for 21 years, and others are still new but very important to the growth of young leaders in our communities. They are Alpine ValleysCommunity Leadership, Leadership Ballarat and Western Region; Northern Mallee Leaders; as I said, Gippsland Community Leadership Program ;Leadership Great South Coast; Lead Loddon Murray, Goulburn Murray Community Leadership; Leaders for Geelong; and Leadership Wimmera.

These fantastic organisations do bring the next round of leaders to our community. They educate, they share, they create experiences to grow and develop and they make networks. Indeed the Gippsland Community Leadership Program, as I said, is nearly 21 years old. It has 600 alumni. It has very illustrious people who have been through the program, indeed including Ken Lay, who I am sure should have an honour or some sort of honorific next to his name. Bridget McKenzie is also a graduate, and there are many other local councillors and corporate business people who have gone through these programs.

Now, very important that they are, they have no funding. There is no funding in the budget, and the board members of Regional Leadership Australia are very concerned. They would respectfully ask that the minister provides that surety that there will be ongoing funding for these great  programs. Hence and otherwise, that is my adjournment—that the minister actually meets with them as a matter of urgency because some of them are about to run out of funding and will not be able to put up their next 2021 programs. So please, Minister, the action I ask is that you meet with the board membership to facilitate the ongoing funding of these great programs.