TASKFORCE AIMS TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO PICK REGIONAL VIC OVER MELBOURNE
Shadow parliamentary secretary Tim Smith said more people needed to move to regional centres, such as Shepparton, to stop Victoria becoming too Melbournecentric.
Mr Smith visited Shepparton yesterday to announce he was chairing a taskforce to investigate how to encourage people to settle outside the city.
He visited the offices of colleague, State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell, to discuss population policy and housing affordability with Greater Shepparton City Council and the Committee For Greater Shepparton. The state member for Kew said 92 per cent of the 100 000 people who moved to Victoria every year, moved to Melbourne and this urbanisation was causing many problems, such as enormous traffic congestion.
"We're becoming a city state rather than a state of cities and this taskforce is investigating how to encourage people to settle or move to regional centres," he said.
Some of the ideas he suggested included planning and taxation powers and better infrastructure.
Mr Smith said compared to other Australian states, Victoria was not that big, but because of limited infrastructure, such as train services, people would not commute from outside the city, where in the same sized area in south-east England, people would happily commute long distances to London because of the good infrastructure there.
"Shepparton is our fifth largest centre and is always looking for growth and we need to know what is needed to make that happen," he said.
Mr Smith said the taskforce would do the research while the Liberal Party was in opposition and it would be completed by next year.
By Declan Martin