Leadership Ballarat and Western Region boosted

BRIGHT FUTURE: Committee for Ballarat chair Judy Verlin and chief executive John Kilgour are excited for the future of the Leadership Ballarat and Western Region program.

BRIGHT FUTURE: Committee for Ballarat chair Judy Verlin and chief executive John Kilgour are excited for the future of the Leadership Ballarat and Western Region program.

Ballarat representatives are encouraged by an increase in funding to the Regional Community Leadership Program.

Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford opened the Regional Community Leadership Program’s annual conference and launched the expanded program in Geelong on Monday.

The state government’s $8 million initiative, set for the next four years through the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, is up more $2 million from the previous Coalition government’s.

Funding is spread across 10 regional Victorian programs, with Committee for Ballarat chief executive John Kilgour optimistic about Leadership Ballarat and Western Region’s future.

“It’s important from a leadership program perspective,” Mr Kilgour said.

“It gives us the confidence to move forward with our current program for the next three or four years.

“We’ve been operating on about $200,000 per year and we’d like to see that continue when we enter into the next agreement with the government.”

Mr Kilgour said the next lot of funding will continue until the end of 2019.

The program will fund initiatives that support the development of emerging leaders and strengthen existing community leadership capabilities, while there will also be a greater emphasis on increasing participation by community leaders in significant regional projects, processes and planning. 

Mr Kilgour said the Ballarat branch now has an alumni of about 250, with more than 2700 graduating from the program across Victoria.

“They’ve contributed about $8.2 million back into Ballarat through active citizenship (by acting on) boards, not for profit and community groups,” he said.

“Clearly, the community is in a better space.

“We’re developing our leaders and providing them with the opportunity to explore the challenges.

Clearly, the community is in a better space. - John Kilgour

Ms Pulford said the program has helped the Ballarat community gain strength over time.

“Over the past 10 years, the Leadership Ballarat and Western Region program has equipped local leaders to work with our community to achieve positive change,” she said.

“We’re supporting our regional communities to be the best they can be.”