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Wimmera region’s bright future


Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy has listed a combination of service provision, innovation and community pride as critical elements for consolidating regional growth.

Ms Kealy agreed that population drift from the region remained a serious challenge but was confident that communities had the ability to respond under clear and well-planned direction.

“I don’t think we can stop population drift altogether but we can slow it down and develop ways of making our communities more resilient and attractive for people,” she said.

Ms Kealy made her comments while taking time from a hectic schedule to have an open and frank discussion about the seat she is attempting to retain for the Nationals.

She spoke broadly on a variety of issues, responding to questions about governance and tackling problems associated with declining regional populations to ways of exploiting transport and regional development opportunities.

On the issue of population, Ms Kealy said identifying and understanding community expectations involving service accessibility was paramount.

“There has been a change in public expectations. In order to attract people we need jobs to be available and for families we usually need jobs for both parents. People also want access to childcare and high levels of health care and education. We need to look at the overall puzzle, which includes housing, as well as business, the local economy and other aspects that make up our communities.”


Ms Kealy stressed that people who lived in small communities remained a critical heartbeat and a key in the electorate moving forward.

“People have a great sense of pride in their communities. They know what makes their communities tick and what is good about them. They are the best ambassadors of their towns and are also the best at spotting deficiencies. It is all about ownership and when ideas come from local people the more likely they are to be successful and make a difference.”

Ms Kealy said local government, in close and constant touch with people, had a huge role to play in getting a regional governance equation right.


  • Get the full story in the September 24, 2014 edition of The Weekly Advertiser.

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Posted on Sep 24 2014

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