The Victorian Government is supporting the sustainability of regional and rural councils through a grants program that will help them save money and deliver better outcomes for their communities.

Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek today announced the successful recipients of the $20 million Rural Councils Transformation Program (RCTP). The funding will introduce four major regional-scale shared services programs to 19 Victorian councils, which in total will aim to deliver efficiency gains and savings of more than $25 million and avoided costs of more than $7 million.

The RCTP program, a first-of-its kind in Victoria, encourages collaboration of knowledge, costs and resources at a regional scale so that councils can deliver more efficient, effective and sustainable services for their communities. It will improve the financial sustainability of rural councils and allow those councils facing the greatest financial challenges to reallocate funds saved to other much needed community projects.

Funding enables investment by councils in projects that were previously financially unfeasible and strengthens councils’ long-term capacity to provide services to dispersed populations over large geographic areas.

The RCTP will deliver:

  • $4.5 million for the South West Councils ICT Alliance, to allow three councils, led by Corangamite Shire Council, to standardise and strengthen customer service by centralising and digitising finance, human resources, business, IT, planning and waste services.
  • $5 million to support six councils in the Wimmera Southern Mallee region, led by Horsham Rural City Council, in delivering a full suite of shared finance and payroll services.
  • $4.5 million to support six councils in the Central Highlands region, led by Ballarat City Council, to deliver shared financial, payroll, records, fleet management, building, environmental health, planning and land, waste and community services.
  • $4.5 million for the Gippsland Shared Services Program, to allow four councils, led by Wellington Shire Council, to fully integrate their information systems as a first step to providing regional shared services, with an initial focus on cutting-edge electronic records and document management.

RCTP will achieve greater service benefits for rural and regional communities by strengthening the longer-term financial sustainability of the participating councils.