Benalla's Advancing Country Towns Project will be continued beyond 2015 by the Benalla and District Community Taskforce.By Monique Freer
Benalla’s Advancing Country Towns (ACT) Project will continue beyond 2015, after a series of meetings resulted in the decision for Benalla and District Community Taskforce to take on responsibility for co-ordinating the conclusion of the four-year pilot program.
The taskforce will co-ordinate the next two years (2014-15) of the four-year program until its conclusion in June 2015.
On Thursday, March 14, two meetings were held to discuss the implementation of the final project initiative and the method in which the initiatives would continue to operate following the conclusion of Strategic Project manager Judy Jeffrey’s contract in September 2013.
Benalla Rural City Mayor Barbara Alexander said the latter meeting was very successful and resulted in the decision that would see the Benalla and District Community Taskforce fund the project after the four-year grant ended.
‘‘It was working so well, we had to,’’ Cr Alexander said.
The project, which received $810
The earlier of Thursday’s two meetings facilitated discussion about the fourth and final initiative — Benalla Core Business — which aims to assist Benalla businesses in future planning and decision-making.
Strategic Project manager Judy Jeffrey said there was a series of suggestions during Thursday’s meeting about strengthening Benalla businesses, attracting new business and consolidating current business.
‘‘There are some really good, innovative ideas at the moment,’’ Ms Jeffrey said.
The second meeting brought together a ‘transition group’ for the ACT project, consisting of all members of the Benalla community who were involved in implementing the three initiatives currently in place. Attendees included Cr Alexander, Member for Benalla Bill Sykes and Benalla Rural City Council chief executive officer Tony McIlroy, among others from the partnership agencies.
Although a large focus of the meeting was securing the financial direction of the project, Ms Jeffrey said it was also an important opportunity to discuss how the program would be operated, evaluated and communicated after her contract ended.
‘‘It was about making sure all these projects on the ground don’t disappear,’’ Ms Jeffrey said.
Read more in this week’s Ensign.
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