Seeking ongoing Regional Community Leadership Program funding

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (17:30:08): My adjournment matter this evening is for the consideration of the Minister for Regional Development, and it relates to Victorian regional community leadership programs. In this place we often talk about leadership—the importance of leadership and the importance of developing leaders. It is now time for this government to commit to the next stage of rural and regional leadership programs. I relay a specific request from Jenny Grigg, the chairperson of the Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs Secretariat, and Katrina Baddeley, the CEO, in relation to ongoing funding. At this stage the VRCLP cannot get a commitment from the government, either from Regional Development Victoria or the minister, in relation to the next round of four-year funding, and the current funding finishes in 2020. From a local perspective and a Gippsland perspective we have the Gippsland Community Leadership Program(GCLP). It is the longest running regional leadership programs in Australia. It has shown huge commitment from the investors, the people who conduct it and invest their time, and people in Gippsland who are wanting to get on and become leaders of the future. It has 576 alumni and they include Mr Ken Lay, somebody who is widely respected right across the political and Victorian landscape; my colleague and friend Bridget McKenzie, who has risen to leadership her role; multiple local government councillors; and indeed two current female mayors in Gippsland. GCLP provides this platform to create diversity within our communities, to empower, to encourage, to instil, to provide a broad range of information and a broad range of experiences to further the knowledge around Gippsland but also to empower and to create leaders of the future. So the government funding for this across the board is quite critical, and what they are asking is that the minister provide $11 million in the upcoming budget over the next four years. There are 10 regional programs, so in effect they are asking for $250 000 per year for each of those leadership programs. I was speaking with Mr Answerth the other day, saying that in the future there may be a time when they can run on their own, but I would ask the minister to commit to funding and to do so by writing to the VRCLP to endorse that commitment.