15 Mar 2016 Warracknabeal Herald, Warracknabeal VIC (General News) BENDIGO will host the 2016 Regional Futures Summit on July 20, welcoming guests from a range of industries to help influence and drive population growth in regional and rural Victoria. The summit will bring together demographers, academics, community leaders, government, industry, education and health providers to shape new regional population strategies. Regional Futures will influence priorities for the Labor Governments $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, as well as the work plans for the nine new Regional Partnerships. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes announced the conference to the states 38 rural councils at their annual summit on Friday. The announcement builds on the Andrews Governments Stronger Rural Councils initiative, a $3.5 million commitment to rural councils to support and promote sustainable, liveable and prosperous regional communities. For two days, Regional Futures will bring together the minds and hearts that will influence population growth, whether its in fast growing regional cities, tree or sea change communities or smaller rural areas. Victorias rural and regional councils will be invited to bring their experience and ideas to the summit, in order to help shape the future of our regions. Minster for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said: The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with growing and investing in rural and regional Victoria. We are working with communities, industry and local government to ensure regional Victoria is a great place to work, live and invest, he said. We all know why we love our communities. This is about making them bigger and better and stronger. Ms Symes said: As a regional Victorian, I know first hand that our regional communities are incredible places to live, visit and explore. We need to continue to innovate to take regional Victoria forward, she said. So lets have a conversation about how regional cities and rural towns can attract new residents so that regional Victoria can continue to have the best of everything. Copyright Agency licensed copy (www.copyright.com.au)