GIPPSLAND is Victoria’s “biggest secret” and its strengths were promoted directly to State Premier Ted Baillieu on Friday.
Representing this region at the 2012 Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry Regional Business Convention in Geelong, VECCI Gippsland Regional Council chair Mark Answerth used the opportunity to push Gippsland’s key infrastructure projects to the Premier and State Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews.
Speaking to The Express from the conference, Mr Answerth said earlier local workshops with government representatives and business owners helped form the content of his presentation to the convention, which covered the Gippsland Regional Plan, the Gippsland Logistics Precinct proposal and focused on how to “plug Gippsland into the rest of the state, country and beyond”. Mr Answerth’s presentation aimed to “get across that Gippsland is different to other regions; we are not a Bendigo, Ballarat or Geelong, we don’t have a regional centre, but that is also one of our strengths”.
“We have an abundance of resources including coal and gas, we produce 20 per cent of Australia’s milk and one million tonne of paper from (Australian Paper Mill) as well as 50 per cent of Melbourne’s water supply.
“We have the people, resources, capacity for growth and proximity to everything – not just Melbourne but to skiing, surfing… and we are open for business,” he said. Mr Answerth also told the convention about Gippsland’s transition to a low-carbon economy, the need for investment in clean coal technologies, existing sustainability and water strategies, the planned National Broadband Network roll-out and the region’s post-secondary education strategy. He said VECCI would now collate each region’s key priorities and “champion the government” for support to see them ‘enabled’.