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February 27: Regional Overview

Leadership Ballarat and Western Region: Picking up the community leadership baton

By Louise Quigley

What is community leadership and how do we address adaptive work? On day one of Leadership Ballarat and Western Region's 2019 program, the 30 participants gathered in the tranquil surrounds of Melbourne University Creswick campus. Themes for the day were about community leadership and understanding regional issues and challenges.

Members of the Central Highlands Regional Partnership were also in attendance. George Fong (chair) and Janelle Ryan (community member) provided an overview of their work over the last four years and an outline of the tasks of the six working groups on digital connectivity, transport, agriculture, energy and renewables, health and homelessness.

The priorities of the partnership link directly to the themes of this day for the LBWR19 group – that of diagnosing problems and dealing with challenging, community problems requiring adaptive work and leadership. Mr Fong has a commanding presence; he speaks directly with an underlying passion and a focus that is inspiring to hear and to be around. Members of this committee are volunteers and show a passion for the community that I believe we, as participants in this program, are striving to achieve.

Their constant checking-in and following up with residents and community groups requires a handing over of the baton to the next generation to start the drive to continue their work.

Janelle Ryan, committee member, spoke of her motivation. Her dedication is to be a part of change so that she can make a difference and I am certain that there is more that we could be doing in our lives to help.

The complex problems of homelessness in the Central Highlands require complex solutions.

The question is how we lead this change as a community without the urge to leap to band aid solutions. We are brainstorming adaptive, people-focused techniques to filter through and get to the core of the issue.

I was pleased that as participants, we were encouraged to be part of a solution process.

There needs to be more community interaction, there needs to be a reach out to the areas which still may not have a voice.

We cannot rely on others to ask for what we need to be a more sustainable, viable region.

We need to work with the Central Highlands Regional Partnership and assist them with our own voices and circles to promote and educate.