A policy framework to help guide Victorian population growth is being developed by the Victorian Liberal National Coalition.
Member for Kew and chair of the Taskforce, Tim Smith, met yesterday with business leaders and community members in Traralgon and later spoke with the Committee for Gippsland in Warragul.
Nationals Member for Eastern Region Melina Bath said it was critical that regional communities were engaged in population discussion as the current rate of growth in metropolitan regions was unsustainable.
‘The current population boom, centralised in Melbourne, is truly unsustainable and having negative impact on the aspect of many Victorians’ lives,’ Ms Bath said.
‘We are seeing commuters continually stuck in traffic, over-crowded trains and trams and important services such as schools and hospitals are struggling to keep up with demand.
‘Coupled with the cost of housing skyrocketing, it is clear that we need a policy framework to help guide population growth right across the state, including regional Victoria.
‘Regional Victoria truly is a beautiful place to live and work and with the right policy frameworks and investment we can help move some of the population boom away from Melbourne to regional centres and that feedback has been echoed to me in Traralgon today,’ said Ms Bath.
Speaking in Warragul, Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood said it was important that regional communities were part of the conversation around population growth and that policy was not left to Melbourne based decision makers.
‘Every day I hear feedback that regional communities and residents feel disconnected from Melbourne and the discussion around population and cost of living.
‘By consulting local residents, communities and business we can build a policy framework designed to guide the growth of the entire state, not just our metropolitan centre which can only take so much.
‘The development of a state wide population policy will highlight opportunities in regional communities, particularly West and Central Gippsland who are uniquely placed to offer regional living, close to Melbourne.
‘The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition have already committed to the construction of a brand new West Gippsland Hospital to help meet growing health needs and through this taskforce and policy framework we will be able to highlight other key investment opportunities such as road, rail, schools and community facilities that will help meet the needs of a growing population in our region,’ Mr Blackwood said.