Summit ideas to help communities

29 Mar 2016 Mountain Views Mail Healesville, Melbourne (General News) by Jesse Graham A SUMMIT that saw Marysville host representatives from 28 rural Victorian councils earlier this month has been hailed a success, with delegates forming ideas to future-proof their communities. The Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) Rural Summit was held in Marysville from Wednesday 9 to Friday 11 March, drawing about 130 councillors, CEOs, business and industry representatives to the area. Over three days, the delegates discussed the theme of this years summit Future Proofing Our Communities, with speakers including the Gruen Transfers Russel Howcroft, CEO of Emergent Solutions, Holly Ransom and Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes, among others. Murrindindi Shire Council mayor Margaret Rae said the event was fantastic and that it was the first of the rural summits held in the shire, at the Vibe Hotel. Cr Rae said that sustainability and building more resilient communities were some of the topics raised during the summit, as well as challenges into the future, such as delivering services to increasing diverse communities. Cr Rae said that some rural shires were working together to share their services, to keep costs down to be able to meet the challenges. The same mix will not work for everybody, but if you can find similar shires with the same sort of needs with whom you can work collaboratively to deliver services, that will help to minimise the cost, and help to increase the productivity around that as well, she said. She said environmentally sustainable measures, such as more electronic service delivery, as well as replacing street light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, would also mean less cost to council and ratepayers. While that doesnt give you cash in your hand today, it means all of that expenditure is relieved for the years to come, Cr Rae said. Another of the initiatives discussed at the summit was communicating with communities, and Cr Rae said there was an expectation that the community wanted to be involved in decision-making. She said that setting parameters and engaging residents from the beginning of an initiative was a very successful way of improving services and their delivery. Because councils, no matter who they are, cant do it all, Cr Rae said. Most good initiatives come from communities, and councils are increasingly asking, in that context of facilitating what the community wants to achieve. Thatll be a much more powerful way of doing it. Caption Text: Murrindindi Shire Council mayor Margaret Rae addressing the RCV Rural Summit. 151635 Picture: CONTRIBUTED Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes addressing the RCV Rural Summit. 151635 Picture: CONTRIBUTED Copyright Agency licensed copy (