Leadership, Collaboration, Adovcacy

Oct/Nov 2016

Welcome Members

Updates: 'Bridge Symposium' Reflection, Homelessness Strategy, Moama Recreation Reserve Master Plan, Shifting Office, Regional Infrastructure & Jobs Fund, GMID Socio Economic Impact Study Outcome, Special Charge Update, Regional Partnerships Program, Regional Development Australia Mapping, C4EM AGM


The Symposium Review- VIP Dinner

The 'A Bridge to the Future' Symposium was a success comprising of two events. 

The first being a VIP Dinner and key note speaker introduction on the Thursday night with special guest Stan Liacos- Regional Director for Loddon Campaspe within Regional Development Victoria presenting his insights. 

Mr. Liacos is known across the region for delivering major projects and offered insights regarding securing opportunity for local businesses and accessing major projects. His focus was for local businesses to think strategically and collaboratively and start early in their planning and to 'come to the table' with the depth of delivery that major projects require. This helps build the confidence for the a contractor or a procurement team to secure their services and know that much of the discussion regarding who is responsible for different parts of the project and who will deliver it. 

We also heard from different organisations and key note speakers about what impacts and benefits the bridge project will bring to them individually and how they see it will benefit the community. 

The Symposium Review

Mal Kersting- Regional Director Northern Region- Vic Roads

As the key driver for this significant project, Mr. Kersting will offered insights into project planning updates of the 2nd River Crossing including critical 'principles of design' and the design and construct elements. 

Mr. Kersting also announced that the bridge construction will be in four stages which will allow greater access for local businesses to participate in. 

He also informed us that a team of approximately five staff who will manage the project will be located in an office in Echuca, some of whom are seeking to move to the area in the near future. 

Mr. Kersting also introduced the fly-over video that was made to help people visualise the nature of the project and what the outcome will deliver. He also made it clear that although the critical 'principles of design' element has been included into the planning process, no process has begun to actually receive designs or consider the architecture aesthetics of the bridge. 

Glenn Capuano- Id- Australia's Population Experts

Working across the nation as local governments 'go-to' on all things population and demographics, Mr. Capuano offered insights into the impacts on population as researched in other regional areas including major bypass projects, regional population trends and how to keep a vibrant centre. His key take home message was that thriving regional centres have population attraction at the core of their business. This included in-bound migration from city, regional, interstate and international opportunities. 

Many locals have moved here as once were tourists...and now own property, have bought or developed a business and have families living within the twin towns. With them, these new residents brought their own skills and networks and have shaped the future of the area. It also brings opportunities and challenges for those existing businesses, including new business partnerships and growth opportunities, and also competition. Along with this shift is the transitioning of all regional economies away from more production focused traditional sectors and industries, toward more service based industries which also offers long term hurdles. However if new businesses, or the people with these new skill sets, are not sought or encouraged to join the economy, the economy over times loses diversity and resilience. 

Phil Crouch, ANZ Head of Regional Banking VIC & TAS

Offered unique insights from past bridge funding projects whilst working in South East Asia and the profound and unexpected change that it created regarding usage, business expansion and trade opportunity, and the attraction of new investment into the region. 

Trevor Budge- City of Greater Bendigo Strategy Manager, Adjunct Associate Professor at La Trobe University’s Bendigo Campus, Board Member Victorian Planning Authority

As a highly regarded international speaker on rural and regional planning and infrastructure, Mr. Budge offered insights and highlights of many successful bridges and twin, tri and quad cities that are connected in some way through new infrastructure. He highlighted the ability for these areas to leverage the branding opportunity that came with new infrastructure and to harness the strengthened relationship through promoting the area to increase elements of livability, investment attraction and growth opportunity. 

Rebecca Arnaud- Principal Urban Planner- Brisbane City Council

Ms Arnaud offered insights regarding their River Front Engagement Strategy and how the developed a ten-point-plan that engaged various precincts across and along the river edge and into the city including enterprise precincts, community use and livability elements including city connectivity. She also reflected on the various bridges spanning the river, their purposes and their impacts since construction. We have been offered an invitation to tour the city, which we have accepted, and will be taking a self-funded delegation in March 2017 for members and key industry representatives who have an interest in economic and community development, town planning, infrastructure and rivers edge initiatives. 

Whilst in the region we have also secured meetings and introductions with one of Australia's most successful enterprise groups, the Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise and will also meet the owner and builder of Australia's newest self-funded ($200m) airport. We will be in touch to seek your interest in attending. 

Chris Bilkey- The Bridge Arts Project- Project Insight

We learnt about the exciting opportunity and plans to transform Moama's future under-bridge and new reserve area into a significant space through the adoption of arts precincts and planning opportunities. We also heard how this initiative is sympathetic to indigenous culture tourism and could become the catalyst for other investment and infrastructure projects. 

Des Morgan Snr- Yorta Yorta Elder

We heard from local elder Des Morgan Snr about local opportunities regarding cultural asset development, planning and engagement opportunities and what the bridge means to the indigenous community. He expressed the importance of having the Yorta Yorta community 'invited to the table' to discuss matters regarding developments and impacts to the land, their heritage and culture and expressed the importance and significance of what the landscape means to them. 

James Whitten - Urban Designer, Architect and Graduate Researcher (University of Melbourne)

James will draw upon his professional and research experience in the United States, India, South America and Australia to explore how strategic infrastructure projects speak to different layers of the urban landscape. He will also discuss how the bridge project might be used to introduce the challenges and opportunities of regional practice to the next generation of planning and design professionals.

Taylor Tran- Author of 'Innovation Melbourne' & Director of CVP Strategy

Mr. Tran explored collaborative and co-working spaces across all sectors and many locations across Victoria. With deep corporate knowledge and a passion for driving innovation through fresh thinking, he outlined how progressive communities embraced this opportunity as businesses often flourished in the gaps and niches and ultimately offered great value back to the community; including helping to bridge the gap between education and work, or for people to re-position themselves into emerging industries. 

Homelessness Focus Group Complete

The Committee for Echuca Moama’s Homeless Reference Group and Monash University have kept the furthered this data research project and have now conducted the focus group which included the attendance of twelve local service providers and industry stakeholders including representatives from local government. 

Currently the focus group conversation is being transcribed for analysis which will then form a critical pathway into understanding the types of data collected, how this data is used and what areas of collection are lacking. 

Ultimately a final report will be delivered to the public which will offer everyone insights into the opportunities and challenges surrounding homelessness in the region and should provide greater access to funding and resources for local service providers. It will also bring to an end C4EM's Homelessness Reference Group. 

C4EM Commits $5K to RESEARCH- GMID Leadership Forum Socio-Economic Study

The final report into the socio-economic impacts of the removal of water from the GMID has been delivered and the long term outcome is not positive. The research report performed by Rob Rendel from RMCG shows that there will be a net loss of 1000 jobs from the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District. 

The overview of the report can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Key points include; 

  • A current loss of $550m in productivity across the region
  • Dairy worst hit with $200m loss at farm gate & $360m reduced output in milk production
  • Mixed farming losing $25m of value at farm gate
  • Increased water prices with farmers paying $20m a year more than they would without the plan
  • 1000 jobs lost through lost value of farm production, ongoing, including further job losses after 2020. 


Although the Special Charge did not succeed in the last meeting of the previous council, it was determined that it could still be a viable option, if the concerns of those affected were addressed, and a new proposal is made to council. 

It is our clear understanding that an appetite for a Special Charge does exist within the business community of Echuca, however we must now assess the feedback received including how it was perceived, what challenges it presented through its previous format and the potential impact of those issues to those affected. The themes of the concerns raised were more aligned with how to make it more equitable, rather than being outright opposed to it. To this end, we will be conducting a round-table discussion with a diverse group of ratable property owners and stakeholders to understand what concerns and interests them. Following this we will then decide the next stage of the process. The business community can expect to receive some more information by the end of this year with insights into activities for next year.

Moama Recreation Reserve Master Plan- Zone 3- Kids Water Park and Beach Area

As a result of the amalgamation process between the Wakool and Murray Shires, the new Murray River Council attracted a pool of $10m for a Stronger Communities Fund Major Project Program. Through this C4EM offered an expression of interest for $1.5m to design and construct a kids splash park and beached relaxation and play area in partnership with the Murray River Council. 

Project Vision: Create South East Australia’s most renowned and valuable public passive and active water feature that boosts livability, offers diverse enterprise opportunities and becomes a valuable asset in response to environmental and economic challenges.
Our Mission: To support active communities with assets that also contribute to sustaining local economies.  
We will soon know the outcome of our expression of interest when all projects have been considered in line with the Council's Master Plan and the funding budget. 

Invite & Attendance: Regional Jobs and Investment Packages Roundtable Discussion

During the 2016 Federal election the Coalition committed to boosting regional economies through the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages (RJIP), including $20 million for the Hume/Goulburn Valley region which comprises 13 local councils. The RJIP will help diversify regional economies and provide a platform for long-term growth and sustainable employment. One of the key aspects of the RJIP is that the programme will be locally led and set against locally developed criteria.  A local planning committee will be established consisting of industry, business and community leaders.

C4EM CEO Martin Szakal attended this forum and also placed a nomination towards being on the committee. The selection process is currently underway with the results to be announced in the near future. 

Your business could be eligible for funding...

Background: http://regional.gov.au/regional/regional-jobs-investment-package/

Fund Insights: http://www.rdv.vic.gov.au/regional-jobs-and-infrastructure-fund

Regional Partnerships Program- Regional Development Victoria- Economic Development Workshop
C4EM Chair Geoff Kelly and CEO Martin Szakal were invited to attend a workshop which included the attendance of NINE of Victoria's Ministers and the Premier. The purpose of the workshop was to identify the biggest hurdles facing regions and how to identify the best and most efficient solutions. Each person worked in two sessions with a table of ten ranging from topics from Investment and Jobs to Health, and Education. Some key areas identified was the need to ensure that growth industries are supported, such as water efficient food production, that established business with large numbers of employees, such as hospitals, had enough funding to maintain the levels of service provision to reduce long term pressures on the health system and to maintain their high employment numbers, and that small businesses that have the ability to transition to medium sized entities that employ more people, have the necessary support and pathways to enable it. More insight into the Partnerships Program here...

Regional Development Australia- Murray: Economic Development Mapping

C4EM was invited to participate in this contemporary initiative to understand the impacts on regional communities within RDA's Murray Area. This forum was conducted in Barham and included key stakeholders from industry and community group representatives. The mapping exercise essentially showed the implicit nature of how community dynamics and the need to evolve to meet the challenges identified within the specific region. The key points to come from it was that skilled labour development, attraction and retention is paramount to supporting local industry expansion. This is supported by livability, access to employment, distance to employment and the diversity of jobs on offer. Critically all of this affected investment into region and subsequently the attraction and retention of amenities and resources. Full map can be viewed here...

C4EM Support the CCLLEN (Campaspe Cohuna Local Learning and Employment Network)

Our CEO presented at the School Friendly Business- 'Linking Parents, Schools and Business' event held at the Border Inn recently. The event included presentations from most of the local schools including some of this year's and next, school representatives (students). They offered a reflection of this years events and a glimpse into the future of the school, including some of the projects and activities their school's have been involved with and delivered. It must be reported that each student offered detailed presentations with great confidence irrespective of the fact that for some it was their first public speaking role. The future is bright for Echuca Moama. 

Shifting Office Space for 2017

We will be shifting from Heygarth House to 53 Haverfield Street Echuca South and will be sharing an office space with our good friends from CCLLEN. 

Please note no other contact information will change. 


Our 2016 AGM was conducted at the Moama RSL recently with twenty attendees being listed on our formal attendance list. 

We would like to thank both Noel Maughan OAM and Alan Holding for their commitment and contributions to the C4EM Board over the many years as they did not renominate for this year due to various other commitments. 

We would also like to express a warm welcome to our new Board Members being Oliver Boyd from LG Valuation Services (a business based representative) and Damian Morgan-Bulled, the representative for the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation who hold a position as a community member. 

We also welcome back our board members Chair- Geoff Kelly, Deputy Chair- Judy Cook, Chris Bilkey, Bob Smith, Dean Oberin, John Mawson, Peter Marks, Tod Collins and Paul Barnes. 

The evening went smoothly with a Chair's Report and CEO's Report being presented to those in attendance along with guest speaker Peter Hall, a representative of the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Forum.