Fast-paced Mel­bourne growth hurt­ing re­gional com­mu­ni­ties

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Bar­clay White

Mel­bourne is grow­ing too fast and it is risk­ing the pros­per­ity of re­gional Vic­to­ria, the Na­tion­als leader has warned.

State Mem­ber for Mur­ray Plains Peter Walsh warned at cur­rent es­ti­mates, in which 90 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion growth hap­pens in the cap­i­tal, Vic­to­ria would be­come a ‘‘city state’’ and not a re­gion of cities.

In­stead, he wants a fu­ture Coali­tion Gov­ern­ment to change the skewed growth trend away from the cap­i­tal and to­wards our re­gions.

The Coali­tion launched its in­terim re­port Look­ing For­ward 2050: Man­ag­ing Pop­u­la­tion Growth for all Vic­to­ri­ans yes­ter­day, as Mr Walsh promised it would be one of the key pol­icy planks at next year’s elec­tion.

But de­spite the prom­ises, peo­ple will have to wait on the poli­cies to change pop­u­la­tion growth.

‘‘This in­terim re­port is feed­back from stake­hold­ers, the next step will be go­ing back to those stake­hold­ers and fine tun­ing things that go into the fi­nal re­port,’’ Mr Walsh said.

On cur­rent trends, Mel­bourne is set to over­take Syd­ney as Aus­tralia’s largest city in the 2050s, with a pop­u­la­tion of more than eight mil­lion, sim­i­lar to present day New York City and Lon­don.

‘‘We need to set the pol­icy pa­ram­e­ters over the next 10 to 20 years so re­gional Vic­to­ria can get that growth,’’ he said.

If the coali­tion forms gov­ern­ment, it would in­tro­duce a de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion min­is­ter to lead the re­gional push.

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