darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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July 31, 2012

Latrobe Valley businesses will be asked to provide ideas for the growth and future prosperity of regional communities next month.

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) has organised a series of business convention workshops in regional communities with one to be held in Traralgon on August 22.

The workshop, which is free of charge, will be held at the Quality Inn Latrobe Convention Centre from 11am.

VECCI Gippsland Regional Council Chair Mark Answerth was today joined by local MPs Darren Chester and Russell Northe who are encouraging local businesses and community representatives to attend the event.

Mr Northe, who is the State Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business said the convention was particularly important for Gippsland businesses to share ideas and initiatives.

“The Coalition State Government has many programs and services that support the small business sector and one such example is the $15 million Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund.

“This Fund provides an opportunity for local businesses to obtain funding where job creation and growth can be demonstrated.”

Mr Chester, who has been running a ‘Putting Locals First’ campaign to support the local small business sector, said shopping locally and utilising local services are two ways to make sure that there are future employment opportunities for young people in the region.

“The Gippsland small business sector is the engine room of our economy and a key driver in job creation,” Mr Chester said.

“Successful small businesses are critical to regional communities where in addition to providing goods or services and creating employment they are major supporters of local schools, community groups and sporting clubs.

“By Putting Locals First at every opportunity, we can support the businesses which support our region. It’s an investment in the future that will deliver long-term benefits.”

Mr Answerth said the convention will bring together local business people and members of the community to identify, discuss and explore issues facing regional Victorian communities.

He said the findings will then assist VECCI to set its business development agenda for 2013 and beyond.

“There are a number of issues facing regional Victoria and our region in particular has some very direct challenges that we all need to work together on,” Mr Answerth said.

“The workshop will be a good way to get our local business and community leaders in the one room discussing these issues and challenges and how they could impact on the future prosperity of our region.”

To register for the convention being held in Traralgon please log on to www.vecci.org.au. Registrations close on August 17.

VECCI Regional Business Conventions are also being held in Ballarat, Bendigo, Mildura, Wodonga and Warrnambool.

The program will culminate at Geelong on October 18 and 19 where up to five delegates from each of the regional workshops will represent their region to present their relevant issues, challenges and solutions.

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