PREMIER Daniel Andrews’ “Melbourne-centric agenda” is strangling growth in country communities, according to Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh.
The latest Regional Population Growth report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals Melbourne is bursting at the seams, with 327 people moving to the city every day.
Melbourne grew more than any other capital city in Australia in the past 12 months with 119,400 new residents, compared to 93,400 in Sydney.
In stark contrast, there were 12 LGAs (all in regional Victoria) that recorded a decline in population: Buloke, Campaspe, Corangamite, Gannawarra, Glenelg, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Swan Hill, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack.
“Daniel Andrews is sitting on his hands while Labor’s city-centric agenda strangles growth in Regional Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“Without a population plan, country Victoria is missing opportunities for new jobs and investment that comes with population growth.
Mr Walsh said a plan for better public transport, hospitals, schools and services right across the state – beyond the regional cities of Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong – would encourage more people to live and work in our country communities.
“It would also help strengthen community groups, sporting clubs and volunteer organisations in regional Victoria that are struggling to attract new members,” he said.
“But nothing will change while Daniel Andrews continues to blindly push a Melbourne-centric agenda and ignores country communities.”