The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has called for the formation of a population plan to drive regional livability.
In an op-ed published in Victorian regional newspapers, the association has called for the formation of a plan to better manage the distribution of population throughout the state, coming after recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Greater Melbourne has passed the five million population mark.
'Local government collectively shares the concern that our rapid population boom is far from equal in its impact on the whole state. We have called on all political parties contesting the November state election to develop a Victorian Population Strategy 2050 to better manage growth and opportunities, and improve the long-term outcomes for our rural and regional areas,' the op-ed said.
'We specifically want to see the next Victorian Government partner with regional councils to identify population growth strategies and local infrastructure needs, so that regional areas can provide the quality of life that will give our new residents a great future.'
'Greater state investment is needed in key infrastructure to house people, such as water and sewerage connections, as well as services that make communities liveable like transport, telecommunications, education and health.'
'As councils, we believe everyone in Victoria deserves equitable access to local services regardless of where they live. It’s a precondition to attract workers and new residents out of metropolitan Melbourne, and something we are sure all Victorians support.'
The ‘build it and they will come’ approach is echoed in the most recent report by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research into the state of Australia’s regions.
The report identified innovation as the core driver for long-term economic growth, and noted that successful knowledge-based regions have a high concentration of global workers such as scientists and engineers who are attracted to areas with a variety of cultural and lifestyle choices. Decentralisation of knowledge economy jobs will be essential to provide people with an incentive to relocate.