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    Cr Mary-Ann Brown, Southern Grampians Shire.

Rural councils welcome infrastructure report

The entire September 15, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The peak representative body for Victoria’s rural councils has welcomed a major report outlining a need for a more ‘robust’ approach to infrastructure planning across Australia.

Rural Councils Victoria chair Mary-Ann Brown said she welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s Reforms To Meet Australia’s Future Infrastructure Needs report on national infrastructure planning for the next decade.

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She said a movement of people from metropolitan to regional areas demanded major planning analysis.

“I welcome the report’s stated ambition to set an ambitious vision, to anticipate and adapt to change, manage risk and deliver infrastructure that works towards the future needs of the community,” she said.

Rural Councils Victoria represents ‘small’ regional and rural councils, some of which operate throughout the Wimmera and southern Mallee.

Cr Brown said in the year to the end of March, a record 22,651 Melburnians had moved to rural and regional Victoria.

“This movement of people is, as it should, forcing a rethink on how infrastructure is put in place in rural and regional areas,” she said.

“For instance, rural Victoria has long needed urgent investment in infrastructure ranging from roads to aged care, to health care, to housing, to broadband and that was just to accommodate community needs pre-COVID. 

“With the exodus from the cities, that investment is even more urgent.”

Cr Brown reflected on an Infrastructure Australia report statement that: “Tomorrow’s infrastructure is likely to look very different to today, and the way infrastructure is planned needs to embrace this uncertainty. 

“Historically, infrastructure planning has sought to project future conditions as an extension of today, then provided infrastructure to meet anticipated demand,” she said.

“In 2021 and beyond, the approach must be more robust.”