Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz addressed the rural councils in attendance at the Bass Coast Shire Council Chambers about the $20 million Rural Council Support program. Z023418

THE State Government is helping rural and regional councils improve services with the opening of expressions of interest for the Rural Council Support Program.
Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz visited Wonthaggi on Tuesday to open expressions of interest for the $20 million program and introduce guidelines to help councils apply for funding.
“This program is about supporting sustainable rural communities through sustainable rural councils,” Ms Kairouz said.
“It gives councils the opportunity to start planning and collaborating about how to better serve their communities.”
Successful projects will improve the quality, effectiveness and affordability of services, and allow councils to raise revenue through new streams.
It will also open doors for new projects previously considered financially unviable and strengthen councils’ long-term capacity to provide services to dispersed populations over large geographic areas.
Applications by groups of three or more councils that will be considered for funding under the program may include, but are not limited to:
• Digital transformation or system development
• New or upgraded IT hardware and software
• Lease arrangements for buildings, fixtures and furniture
• Asset management around vehicles and equipment including phones, computers, office supplies.
Victoria’s 48 rural and regional councils provide services to 1.5 million residents over more than 95 per cent of Victoria and are the lifeblood of these communities.
Councils are encouraged to think big about how they can use the funding to build skills, encourage participation and increase efficiencies in operations and service delivery.
There is no requirement for councils to provide dollar-for-dollar funding, which will encourage smaller councils to get involved in major projects.
To view the guidelines for the program, go to localgovernment.vic.gov.au.