AN ELECTED Liberal Nationals government will restore the planning flying squads to support development and investment growth in regional Victoria.
The Council Planning Flying Squad program will relieve Victoria’s rural and regional councils which are under increasing pressure from rates capping, rising costs and skills shortages.
Announcing the policy in Lakes Entrance, Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh said the flying squads would support the Liberal Nationals’ decentralisation plan to encourage business to expand, relocate and invest in regional Victoria.
“These flying squads will take the pressure off councils by giving them expert resources, when they need it, to make the most of development and new investment opportunities in country Victoria,” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews axed the planning flying squad in 2015 and continues to reinforce he’s the Premier for Melbourne by failing to develop a plan to grow all of Victoria, not just Melbourne.
“The Liberal Nationals have a decentralisation vision to turn Victoria into a state of cities, not just a city state, and that is underpinned by better planning.”
The flying squads had proved to be a success before they were axed in 2015.
An independent review found the flying squads had a cost-benefit ratio of $1:3, with the program cited as leading practice by the Australian Productivity Commission.
Shadow Minister for Planning David Davis said the State Government’s decision to axe the program was short-sighted.
“Daniel Andrews can’t see past Melbourne’s tram tracks, but the Liberal Nationals will grow the whole state — not just Melbourne,” Mr Davis said.
“If we can help regional and rural councils create business and investment opportunities, then we are also making regional Victoria a more attractive place to live and work.”