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    RCV, chair Shane Sali.

Regional cities push for funding

Regional Cities Victoria has called on the Federal Government to provide a guarantee that  25 percent of all Commonwealth infrastructure funding allocated to Victoria is spent on initiatives and projects outside Melbourne. 

With one in four Victorians living in regional Victoria, the 10 largest regional cities – Ballarat, Bendigo,  Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga – are collectively home to more than 800,000 people.

Regional Cities Victoria, RCV, chair Shane Sali said regional Victoria needed considered investment to underpin long-term economic prosperity and improve community infrastructure and services. 

“Local infrastructure projects are a vital part of any regional community,” he said.

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“They not only help maintain services, improve transport options, and make our regional cities and country towns better places to live – they also create jobs for locals and boost the national economy.

“Whether it’s upgrading municipal main roads in growing regional cities, building community hubs and libraries, new parks and recreational centres, or improving public transport, regional Victorians deserve their share of the Federal infrastructure funding allocated to Victoria.”

Cr Sali, mayor of Shepparton, said while RCV acknowledges the government’s $1 billion allocation for regional Australia made through the Growing Regions Program and Precincts and Partnerships Program, it felt regional Victoria was disadvantaged by the competitive schemes because councils in regional Victoria could not access compulsory co-contributions from the State Government.

“We were gutted when funding was removed for a series of projects across regional Victoria – such as the Geelong Fast Rail, stage one of the Shepparton Bypass, and the Hume Freeway intersection upgrade in Wodonga,” he said.

“Regional Victorians shouldn’t be denied their share of funding from the Albanese government simply because Victoria abolished its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund.

“Our regional cities and towns are experiencing significant population growth and are desperate for jobs and investment. 

“Without infrastructure funding, regional Victoria risks falling behind, unable to provide adequate services to current residents and future generations.”

The entire April 3, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!