Bass Coast,

Rural Engagement Group Launched


The first meeting of Bass Coast Shire Council’s recently formed Rural Engagement Group (REG) was held last Friday.

Facilitated by Keith Greaves from Chit Chat, a facilitation stakeholder engagement planning and implementation firm, the meeting was attended by 19 members, including representatives from Agribusiness Gippsland, Landcare and the Victorian Farmers Federation, and five Council staff members. Mayor, Cr Clare Le Serve and Deputy Mayor, Neil Rankine, also attended and took part.

The first meeting was both a meet and greet, as well as an opportunity to set the scene for the next 12 months. The group discussed how they would like to work together and what they would like to see achieved. Most importantly, they identified key issues that could be considered or addressed by the group in the future.

Phillip Island farmer and REG member, Greg Price, thought it was a great start to what he hopes will be an influential group.

“I think it’s a great initiative of the Bass Coast Shire Council to establish a Rural Engagement Group,” Mr Price said.

“I hope it will become a permanent group so it can be a sounding board for issues that come up before Council every month that require the input of the rural sector - it’s an important part of local democracy.”

Council Mayor, Cr Clare Le Serve, said the meeting was very positive and is looking forward to seeing the group progress.

“The members came up with a good list of topics they’d like to work on with Council, such as farming in the future and seeing farms as small businesses – not just the Rural Land Use Strategy and farm rates,” Cr Le Serve said.

“We’ve planned to meet at least four times a year; however the group will be ongoing and can have meetings as often as required. We’re also open to appointing more members in the future.”

The group will meet again on 8 August.