My place in the Goulburn Regional Assembly to be held next Thursday night has just been confirmed.

I am not sure whether to be ‘pleased’ (a great chance to contribute on behalf of the tourism industry), ‘concerned’ (will it be just another government talkfest?) or ‘disappointed’ (given the timing means I will miss one of my favourite Christmas events!).

The Goulburn region (Greater Shepparton, Murrindindi, Mitchell, Strathbogie – our own ‘Goulburn River Valley’ region together with Moria Shire) is one of nine new regional partnerships that have been established by the Victorian Government to give regional communities greater say about what matters to them and ensure their voices reach the heart of government.

The idea is that the Partnerships will significantly increase collaboration between communities, industry, businesses and government to address the most important challenges and opportunities in each region.

The Assembly, next week, is bringing together a diverse range of people from across Goulburn and it is proposed to provide the community with an unprecedented opportunity to share its views and talk directly with the Victorian Government.

Let’s hope this really is the case and importantly the tourism industry or ‘visitor economy’ is recognised for being the valuable industry and contributor that it is in the Goulburn region.

With the recent release of the Victorian Visitor Economy Strategy, citing the visitor economy as being critically important to Victoria’s future economy development and job creation and setting a goal of increasing visitor spending to $36.5 billion by 2025, there has never been a more crucial time to ensure the tourism message reaches key decision makers across the whole of government.

As I await my promised information kit, I will get ready to give it my best shot and go being ‘optimistic’. After all this great industry of ours deserves nothing less!