Regional city mayors gather in Shepparton

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Victoria’s 10 largest regional cities have bolstered their commitment to work together to drive investment in regional Victoria, respond to population growth, make regional cities even better places to live, and manage the impacts of climate change and the transition to net zero.

An advocacy alliance comprising the local governments of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga; Regional Cities Victoria will work with Federal and State governments to address housing shortages, attract new industries to regional Victoria, and ensure services and infrastructure keep pace with the extraordinary population growth across Victoria’s major regional centres.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Ben Blain joined other regional city mayors in Shepparton this week, to continue collective advocacy efforts and take the leadership group forward as Victoria’s trusted advisor to governments and other stakeholders on the issues most important to regional Victorians. Collectively, these cities are home to more than 800,000 people and contribute to approximately 10 per cent of Victoria’s economy.

"Regional cities are increasingly attractive to people moving to Victoria or those leaving metro areas to pursue job and lifestyle opportunities," Cr Blain said.

"To ensure regional cities such as Warrnambool are well placed to handle the growth requires infrastructure investment and policy support from the Victorian Government.

 "Challenges such as a lack of housing supply and workforce shortages need to be addressed in the short term to fully unlock regional Victoria’s growth potential.

 "A united voice from Victoria’s regional cities means we can provide state and federal governments with a clear picture of our needs and how our cities can contribute to Victoria’s overall prosperity while retaining the liveability that continues to attract a growing number of people seeking a tree or sea change." 

Shepparton Mayor and RCV chair Cr Shane Sali said Victoria's regional cities must be heard.

"We need considered investment to underpin our long-term economic prosperity and ensure we can maintain everything we love about living in our regional cities," Cr Sali said.

"There is a growing concern about the lack of future investment in community infrastructure and the services we need to accommodate the thousands of extra people coming to live in regional Victoria each year.

"We are committed to working with governments, on behalf of regional Victorians, to ensure our regional cities see the same kind of investment that Melbourne's growth suburbs do."

RCV has become regional Victoria’s trusted voice to governments, industry, stakeholders and media. Its advocacy has seen an historic $600m boost to broadband and 5G mobile infrastructure across regional Victoria; first ever Commonwealth contributions to essential utilities, to unlock new housing and make homes more affordable; investment in regional tourism and events; and the attraction of new businesses and jobs to regional cities.

Ahead of next year’s Federal election and a State election in 2026, Regional Cities Victoria wants to ensure regional Victoria gets it fair share.