Rural Councils Victoria represents Victoria's rural councils, supporting and promoting sustainable, liveable, prosperous rural communities
Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) is an organisation representing Victoria's rural councils. We believe that liveable, sustainable and prosperous rural communities are fundamental to the ongoing success of Victoria.
Representing the 1 in 9 Victorians who live in rural communities, RCV has 37 member councils right across the state.
In Victoria, 38 of the 79 councils are classified as 'rural'. Victoria’s rural councils are responsible for 79 per cent of Victoria’s land area (June 2011), and have a combined population of approximately 745,000 people (Census 2016). Our rural areas and communities are critical to the liveability of Victoria. They are also key to a thriving state economy.
We work to:
- Heighten awareness and understanding of issues that impact on rural communities
- Use policy, strategy, advocacy and evidence-based research to secure better outcomes for rural councils and in turn, for the whole of Victoria
- Promote a collective voice and to be an avenue of communication and liaison between our member councils and State and Federal governments
- Enable local solutions and facilitate networking, learning, capacity building, and external communication
- Contribute to the development of evidence-based policy and strategy
- Build the resilience and capacity of councils to support economic development and increase the sustainability of rural communities
- Develop strategies and initiatives to improve the attraction and retention of residents and businesses to rural areas
- Assist with building the capacity of rural councils to meet the challenges they face.
RCV was established in 2005 to coordinate the network of 38 rural councils across Victoria in their efforts to better understand, articulate and address the issues affecting them.
The vision then was to create rural communities with sustainable economies contributing to the health, character and liveability of Victoria, and this vision has strengthened in the years since.
State Government funding was first provided to RCV in 2006 to help it communicate rural issues to government departments and determine priority projects. In December 2009 the 38 councils agreed to contribute to sustaining the network through an annual membership contribution.
In March 2011 the State Government announced funding of $3.3 million for RCV, to be delivered over four years under the Networked Rural Councils Program (NRCP). A further $3.5 million was committed to RCV to continue this work under the auspices of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).
In 2016, RCV became an Incorporated Association operating independently, with a three year funding commitment of $3.5 million from Regional Development Victoria (RDV). We continue to work closely with MAV, RDV, Local Government Victoria (LGV) and other state and federal agencies as we deliver our program of work.
Today RCV has become the peak body representing and advocating for Victoria’s rural councils. Further information on the RCV Governance structure and processes can be found in the Rules of Incorporation.
Raising an issue for RCV support
We know there are a number of pressures and issues impacting individual member councils across Victoria.
Our Committee and Members
Rural North West Region
This region is currently represented by Cr Rob Gersch, Councillor at Hindmarsh Shire Council, and Jessie Holmes, CEO of Yarriambiack Shire Council.
Rural North East Region
This region is currently represented by Deputy Chair Cr Jenny O’Connor, Councillor at Indigo Shire Council, and Dom Testoni, CEO of Benalla Rural City Council.
Rural North Central Region
This region is currently represented by Cr Jane Ogden, Councillor at Gannawarra Shire Council, and Darren Fuzzard, CEO of Mount Alexander Shire Council.
Rural South West Region
This region is currently represented by Committee Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown, Councillor at Southern Grampians Shire Council, and Treasurer Andrew Mason, CEO of Corangamite Shire Council.
Rural South East Region
This region is currently represented by Cr Sonia Buckley, Councillor at East Gippsland Shire Council, and David Morcom, CEO of Wellington Shire Council.