FOR the first time, Shepparton will have a dedicated voice in Regional Cities Victoria (RCV) in a senior role, with Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Kim O’Keeffe being elected deputy chair last week.
Mayor O’Keeffe said, “While I put my hand up for both chair and deputy, Mayor of Bendigo, Cr Margaret O’Rourke was re-elected as chair, but with my election as deputy, it sends a strong message to the group that I want to do more and have the opportunity to be involved in a stronger capacity.
“RCV is a group of 10 regional cities represented by their mayors and CEOs and comprises the 10 largest cities in regional Victoria. The cities include Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
“RCV is dedicated to achieving real change in regional Victoria and my aspiration as a member is to ensure Greater Shepparton is positioned as an equal in regard to investment and opportunity. As the deputy chair I will also be in the forefront of discussions and lobbying, giving Greater Shepparton a stronger position. In fact Greater Shepparton hasn’t held a chair position before so it is great to have that opportunity and to show strong leadership to create opportunities for our region.
“I am determined to continue to build our Greater Shepparton brand and to attract investment and people to our region. We are seeing such a positive change across our region and we will continue to work hard for things we need to do to continue for that to happen.
“At our meetings we often have guest speakers and representatives from a broad range of areas as well as meetings with ministers and parliament representation. We do get to discuss the issues our own regions have and our future aspirations and the needs of our community, and also compare the differences among our regions, and the disadvantages, but also opportunities that we may have.
“As a spokesperson in my role as deputy chair I will also have more opportunities be involved in broader discussions and to represent our region at other forums.
“Last month I was the regional Victoria guest speaker at a Mental Health Forum in Melbourne for the Mental Health Foundation Australia alongside Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp. It is those opportunities that we get to showcase our region and to stand out as a great regional city and that put us in the forefront and in a positive light for our region.
“At those forums I get to tell the story of Greater Shepparton and to share the success and opportunities on offer, as well as the great lifestyle.
“I am really thrilled to have another year as the mayor and I will continue to work hard for our community and to strive to achieve the things we need as a region and for the people of Greater Shepparton.”