Acting Victoria Minister for Rural and Regional Development Peter Walsh
Regions Can Accommodate More Growth: Walsh
Victor P Taffa
Victoria’s regions have the capacity to accommodate a larger share of the state’s future growth, Acting Minister for Rural and Regional Development Peter Walsh said today.
Addressing a Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference in Creswick, Mr. Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to investing in regional Victoria to create prosperity, more job opportunities, economic and social resilience and better quality of life.
“Regional Victoria’s population has been growing by more than 1.2 % each year in the past decade from 1.3 Million in 2000 to 1.47 Million in 2010.” Mr. Walsh said.
“This growth rate has been exceeded by Melbourne’s growth of 1.6 % per year over the same period from 3.47 Million to 4.08 Million.”
“Between 2006 and 2036, Victoria’s population is forecast to grow by 44 % or 2.27 Million people but only 477,000 of these are expected to live in regional Victoria, with 1.8 Million additional residents in Melbourne.”
“If these growth patterns could be evened out across the whole state, this would result in an additional 600,000 people in regional Victoria, over 120,000 more than current projections.”
Mr. Walsh said balanced growth would significantly reduce the growing demand for services and infrastructure in Melbourne.
“In the current statewide context of strong population growth and rapid expansion of Melbourne, we need to plan for the whole of Victoria.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The Victorian Government has a long-term and forward-focused framework to build on the positive trends in regional growth and to support and develop locally driven solutions.”
“Central to this is the $1 Billion Regional Growth Fund to be delivered over eight years, which commences on 1 July 2011 with $500 Million allocated in the first four-year term.”
“This is in addition to normal funding for core services such as education, schools and Police stations.” Mr. Walsh said.