Programs that build valuable skills, leadership and resilience in local communities across the Geelong region are at risk due to the state government’s refusal to commit to ongoing funding.

Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs (VRCLP) Secretariat is seeking $10 million over four years to fund nine critical community leadership community programs being delivered by Regional Leadership member organisations across the state, including the Committee for Geelong’s Leaders for Geelong program.

VRCLP / Regional Leadership Chair and Committee for Geelong CEO, Jennifer Cromarty, said their programs helped people across the Geelong region to build leadership capacity in themselves and their communities.

In Geelong, the Leaders for Geelong program plays an important role in supporting the community by driving initiatives with empathy and insight that can only come from being part of the community.

These initiatives include the Active Geelong and Promoting Djilang projects.

The Active Geelong project brought together leading businesses, doctors, researchers and individuals to address inactivity in the Geelong region with the aim of making Geelong Australia’s most active city, while the Promoting Djilang project identified opportunities within the wider Geelong community to celebrate and acknowledge the Wadawurrung cultural heritage within the region.

“These are just some examples of the community initiatives Regional Leadership alumni deliver across Victoria every year – a capability and commitment to building community resilience that will be lost without secure funding,” Ms Cromarty said.

Ms Cromarty said the recent flood crisis devastating regions across the state highlighted the ongoing need to build the capacity of community-focused leaders, who would be out there on the front-line helping locals get back on their feet.

“A funding commitment would be a strong vote of confidence in continuing to develop community leaders who will be rallying with and supporting flood-affected communities in particular, long after the headlines have faded,” she said.

The VRCLP/Regional Leadership entity was established in 2012 to support the nine Regional Community Leadership Programs across the state, some of which have been running since 1996. This includes: Committee for Geelong – Leaders for Geelong, Committee for Ballarat – Future Shapers, Loddon Murray Community Leadership, Gippsland Community Leadership Program, Goulburn Murray Community Leadership, Leadership Great South Coast, Leadership Wimmera, Northern Mallee Leaders and Alpine Valleys Community Leadership.

With existing funding expiring in December 2022, Regional Leadership’s ability to plan and deliver essential regional development programs has been severely impacted and it faces acute challenges in retaining staff and maintaining program sustainability. Ms Cromarty said a funding commitment of $10 million over four years would provide funding certainty to retain existing staff, deliver high-quality community leadership programs that develop social change in alignment with regional priorities, increase diversity of program participants and increase alumni engagement.

Media contact: Regional Leadership/VRCLP Chair & Committee for Geelong CEO, Jennifer Cromarty
M: 0413 241 033 or