Thirty dynamic community leaders from across nine Shires in the Central and North-West region were welcomed into the Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program 2017 (LMCLP) on Friday 17th February at a dinner function with 120 guests in Newbridge.  They are all ages and come from a diverse range of backgrounds, industries, life experiences and world views.  What they have in common is a commitment to building their skills, insights and networks to be more effective in their work in their industries and communities.

Welcoming participants on the night was keynote speaker Andrew Coghlan, Manager of Emergency Services at Australian Red Cross and Director of Volunteering Australia.  Andrew shared what keeps him getting up in the morning in the face some horrific disasters, and his passion for the importance of community leaders in disaster preparedness and resilience.

“Wow, what an amazing LMCLP cohort we have this year,” said Community Leadership Loddon Murray graduate and Board Member Jay Smith, from Castlemaine. “They are such a diverse group passionate about leading change in their communities. Andrew was a great guest speaker who reminded us all of the importance of building community resilience, something which is of increasing importance when adapting to climate change.”

Participants representing industries such as agriculture, business, health, community, government, natural resource management, and education applied for this opportunity and were selected on the basis of their commitment to community, their industry and the region.  There was a huge response to the call for applicants late last year and the highly competitive process has resulted in an outstanding group of individuals ready to take their work and volunteering to the next level.

Amongst them we have farmers, students, writers, community workers, IT workers, teachers, business people, engineers, geologists, artists, consultants, people working in various tiers of Government, natural resource management, industry, musicians and volunteers; we have those involved in emergency services, firefighting, natural resource management, Rotary, church, community radio, sport, children’s sport, theatre, local progress associations, young professionals networks; they are passionate about multiculturalism, women in agriculture, young people, water and the environment, sports, mental health & wellbeing, their children; indigenous issues, health, education, fundraising, soil, singing, baking and making, and above all, their communities and making a difference.

The 2017 Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program participants are:

  • Jan Farrell and Angela Roney from Gannawarra Shire
  • Moustafa Al-Rawi, Wayne Bell, Joshua Greene, Tayla Hansen, Jennifer Hurrell, Tessa Laing, Narelle Lyle, Natasha Miles, Aileen O’Sullivan, Louise Scott and Jac Torres-Gomez, from the City of Greater Bendigo
  • Shelley Kretzschmar, Marilyn Lozada Fernandez, and Wendy Murphy from Loddon Shire
  • Charlotte Aves, Dawn Bamforth, Adam McKie and Tiffany Speight from Macedon Ranges Shire
  • Brendan Cossens, Donna Fearne, Lauren Randle and Nicki Renfrey from Mount Alexander Shire
  • Travis Price from Shire of Campaspe
  • Djalarna Hamilton and Rajiv Patney from Swan Hill Rural City Council
  • Matthew Bennett and Sarah O’Brien from Buloke Shire
  • Lyn Kelson from Hepburn Shire

The new participants are now looking forward to the Opening Weekend Retreat in Echuca this weekend (25 / 26th Feb) to get to know more about themselves and others, and to formally start the program year.

You can read more about them here