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Regional advocacy, mentoring and networking

Champions of the Bush


Champions of the Bush (COTB) is a group of businesses and not-for-profit organisations that operate in regional Australia in the capacity of advocacy, mentoring and networking.

The group was established in 2002 by a collective of regional business leaders such as John Brown of Brown Brothers at Milawa and Richard Rijs of Patties Foods in Bairnsdale.


Members are both ‘Champions’ in their own right - committed to championing the cause of regional and rural Australia - as well as their own industry and local community.


Many members have made major personal and financial commitments to sustainable regional development and to constantly promoting and championing the efforts of regional Australians.  

In 2010 COTB established an Australian first regional business networking program called the Regional Executive Forum (REF) which brings together over 50 CEOs, Business Owners and General Managers on a monthly basis. It provides a network for regional leaders of business and industry to generate, analyse and apply proven ideas, experiences and strategies.                


COTB is not a party-political affiliated organisation. The group's mandate is to encourage all levels of government to develop policies that support and benefit regional communities and business.


Key roles of COTB include:

  • To raise awareness of the issues that affect regional communities

  • To motivate governments to consult with regional people before making decisions

  • To promote positive solutions for issues or problems unique to businesses and families in country areas

  • Building capacity for regional communities to determine their own future, via leadership, mentoring and innovation.

COTB is funded by the contributions of private businesses which pay an annual membership fee. Members are united in the cause of building a better future for country people.

Regional Executive Forum represents businesses from regional and rural Victoria.
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