Kealy slams Pul­ford over pop­u­la­tion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.”

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