Infrastructure Victoria has called for infrastructure investment in regional Victoria to target local strengths and address disadvantage, rather than ease Melbourne’s population growth pressures.
Releasing a discussion paper titled Growing Victoria’s Potential, the independent infrastructure adviser said regional infrastructure initiatives should seek to ensure all parts of Victoria were well placed to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the state’s record population growth.
“Every region in Victoria has its own unique opportunities and challenges and effective infrastructure initiatives will target these,” Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive Officer Michel Masson said.
“We think regional infrastructure investment should seek to maximise economic development or address local disadvantage. Identifying initiatives that achieve these aims will be a key focus of our work over the next year as we update the 30-year infrastructure strategy.”
Mr Masson said research undertaken by Infrastructure Victoria showed that each of Victoria’s nine regions had a strength they could build on, but also key challenges to be addressed.
“Whether it be a strong agriculture industry, popular tourist destinations or potential to develop key sectors like energy or freight, Victoria’s regions are well placed to help grow Victoria’s potential.
“We want to identify infrastructure initiatives that help regions harness this great potential to ensure they share in the benefits of Victoria’s record population growth.
“But our research has also revealed key challenges that need to be considered across regional Victoria including the effects of climate change, social disadvantage and the changing shape of local economies.
“Through our strategy update we will identify key infrastructure initiatives to tackle these challenges because we want not just strong regional economies, but good social and environmental outcomes too.”
Growing Victoria’s Potential is the first in a series of releases that will occur throughout 2019 as part of the update of the 30-year infrastructure strategy.
The paper is underpinned by nine regional profiles which have been developed through a year-long process of data gathering and consultation with regional stakeholders.
Mr Masson acknowledged the work of Regional Development Victoria and other key stakeholders in developing the profiles.
“A critical part of our research has been working with people who live and work in regional Victoria to ensure we had local insights to help us better understand the data.
“Over the next year, we will continue to talk to people right across the state about how infrastructure can help grow Victoria’s potential and I encourage everyone to join the conversation,” Mr Masson said.
Source: Infrastructure Victoria