Regional Victorians have the same stake in our democracy as people living in Melbourne. Their needs require the same recognition and respect, and their voices should not be diluted or ignored based on their distance from the corridors of power.
This report outlines the diverse voices of regional Victorian community organisations and leaders. It provides no single viewpoint from “regional Victoria.” Rather, it shows communities outside Melbourne are diverse and complex: as different from one another as they are from the city.
To compile this report, VCOSS undertook 10 regional roundtable discussions with community organisations in different parts of Victoria. We did this to recognise many solutions to social issues in Victoria’s regions already exist – but are not sought out or listened to. By bringing together diverse community organisations from the same place, in that place, they could identify the unique challenges faced by regional communities, and gain insight into their solutions.
As we approach a Victorian election, this report is a testament to the on-the-ground wisdom found in regional communities. It shows among common community themes, every issue unfolds in a unique way in different places, reflecting their history, character and resources.
This report is a foundation to walk alongside regional communities to amplify their voices and support their efforts in having their needs heard.