Kealy slams Pulford over population
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has accused Victorian Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford of refusing to acknowledge population challenges in country communities.
Ms Kealy said Ms Pulford was claiming ‘regional centres are leading the nation in attracting new residents’, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed most of Victoria’s new residents were moving to Melbourne.
Ms Kealy said despite being Labor’s representative for Western Victoria, Ms Pulford failed to understand the need for a plan to grow Victoria’s regional communities.
“For Minister Pulford to say this shows how completely out of touch she is with true regional Victoria,” Ms Kealy said.
“Labor has a blinkered view that Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong represent regional Victoria.
“The real story is that genuine regional centres such as Horsham and Hamilton are suffering as a direct result of Labor’s city-centric policies and lack of funding.”
Ms Kealy said ABS data showed there had been a decline in both Horsham and Hamilton populations in recent years. “Melbourne grew by more than 126,000 people last year, but in the same time regional Victoria grew by just 20,106 people,” she said.
“Melbourne is quite literally bursting at the seams while the population of our regional communities continues to fall. This is why the Liberal-nationals Population Policy Taskforce is working to develop decentralisation policies to balance our population growth and ensure regional Victoria shares in the benefits.”
Ms Kealy described Premer Daniel Andrews as ‘The Premier for Melbourne’.
“He has no plan to manage and grow the population of regional Victoria,” she said. “Country people living in the Lowan electorate are sick of being treated like second-class citizens by the Andrews Labor government.”