Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Committee for Greater Shepparton seeks to unite community

The Committee for Greater Shepparton, which aims to drive initiatives, policies, projects and activities that improve the city, was launched last night.

JARROD WHITTAKER June 18, 2014 3:10am

The audience at last night's Committee for Greater Shepparton launch.

A group of prominent people has heard unity is key to securing better political and economic outcomes for the region.

Last night saw the official launch of the Committee for Greater Shepparton.

About 150 people attended Shepparton’s Park Lake Hotel for the launch of the group, which represents a diverse range of community and business interests.

Its aim is to drive initiatives, policies, projects and activities that improve Greater Shepparton.

Committee interim chairman David McKenzie said the turnout showed people recognised they had ‘‘the potential to play a bigger role in the future of the region’’.

‘‘Short of putting up your hand and running for council, how does somebody do that?’’ Mr McKenzie said.

‘‘Becoming part of a committee like this, putting your extra resources and available time and effort into something that’s developing strategy and thinking long-term.’’

He said the committee could provide a united and ‘‘clear voice to decision-makers’’. The event featured the launch of the committee’s draft Strategic Directions 2014 to 2016 document.

The document identified the committee’s four key focus areas.

These included making Greater Shepparton the food capital of Australia and building a ‘‘creative community’’ by improving arts and culture. Improving transport and digital connections with other parts of Australia and building an inclusive community were also identified as key priorities.

People have until June 27 to provide feedback about the document.

The committee was launched by Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder, who stepped in for Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, who was unavailable following the death of his mother.

Mr Mulder paid tribute to the committee, which he said could provide clear direction to government.

‘‘A lot of communities I go to, you’ve got four or five different groups, overlaps, people get tired, people wear out and people don’t actually end up getting clear direction,’’ he said.

‘‘So to have a Committee for Greater Shepparton of prominent business people, successful people who are prepared to share and to work together, is a massive step for Shepparton.’’

Committee chief executive Matt Nelson said the group was designed to provide a voice for the entire community.

‘‘There is a tendency that these can be commercial-based organisations,’’ Mr Nelson said. ‘‘We want to represent the community.’’

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