Putting Government Back To Work For Regional Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government today unveiled Victoria’s Regional Statement, a new vision for our regions that will change the way government works with regional Victorians.

Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford and regional leaders from across the state at Brown Brothers Winery in Milawa to launch the Regional Statement and outline the Labor Government’s commitment to rural and regional Victorians.

The Regional Statement will give regional communities a stronger voice in government decision-making by directing priorities identified by regional communities straight into the heart of the Labor Government’s agenda.

The centrepiece of the Statement is the establishment of nine new Regional Partnerships across the state, with representatives from community, business and all three levels of government.

This new approach recognises that every region is different, and that government needs to change how it operates to respond to the needs of our rural and regional communities – not the other way around.

The independent Regional Economic Development and Services Review, led by former Premier John Brumby, played a key role in the development of the Statement, however the Statement goes beyond the Review’s focus on economic development.

The Statement acknowledges the changes affecting our rural and regional communities and the urgent need to tackle the pockets of entrenched disadvantage and disparity that exist in some parts of our state.

It’s about making regional Victorian cities and communities better places to live and providing a clear way forward to build on regional Victoria’s strengths and tackle the issues that matter most.

The Statement outlines a number of new initiatives that will put the Government back to work for regional Victoria and help build stronger, more resilient and more prosperous communities, including:

  • Developing a $34 million Regional Skills and Training package that will help local communities, particularly disadvantaged groups and areas, access the training they need to get the jobs they want
  • Investing up to $25 million to upgrade ‘first and last kilometre’ routes across regional Victoria through the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund, subject to the passage of the Port of Melbourne lease legislation. This will grow local agriculture by improving access to market by cutting travel times and costs
  • Investing $20 million in the next stage of the Macalister Irrigation District project through the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund
  • Identifying projects of state or regional significance where government intervention may be able to fast-track appropriate developments to boost local economies and create jobs
  • Developing a pipeline of the ten most significant regional tourism projects to fully realise the economic potential of the State’s iconic assets, creating jobs, attracting new generations of domestic and international tourists, and increasing visitor spending
  • Delivering better reception for mobile devices along Victoria’s busiest V/Line rail routes through the Regional Rail Connectivity Project, making it easier for commuters and visitors to and from regional Victoria
  • Revitalising our support for regional businesses by transitioning our Regional Development Victoria offices into Regional Business Centres, creating a one-stop-shop for businesses looking to grow

The Statement also outlines the Labor Government’s significant commitments and investments for regional Victorians, highlighting the work already underway on hundreds of projects to deliver the services and infrastructure our regions need to prosper.

These include:

  • The $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which is open for applications and unlocking new jobs and investment across the state
  • Delivering an average of $456 per year per student of additional funding in rural and regional Victoria through the Education State
  • Delivering the $416 million Murray Basin Rail Project, which includes committing to fully standardising and upgrading the entire network
  • The $320 million TAFE Rescue Fund, which is already flowing and reopening closed campuses, upgrading buildings and helping TAFEs get back on their feet
  • The $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund which will drive growth, create jobs and boost exports from paddock to port
  • Consulting on major policy developments including the Water Plan and the Regional Network Development Plan

The Regional Statement is available online at www.regions.vic.gov.au, along with details of the Labor Government’s commitments and projects to support regional Victoria.

The External Advisory Board’s report on the Regional Economic Development and Services Review is also available online at www.economicdevelopment.vic.gov.au/reds-review.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We’re putting government back to work for rural and regional Victorians with a commitment to create jobs, provide a better start for young people and ensure a brighter future for families and communities.”

“The Statement will make sure that, more than ever, government is working for regional communities. Not those with the loudest voices – but the families, workers and communities that are the heart and soul of regional Victoria.”

 “I truly believe that Victoria can’t be the best place in the world unless our regional communities are the most successful in the nation. That’s why we’re getting on with it.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford

“No government should ever take regional Victoria for granted. Families in regional Victoria deserve a government that works as hard as they do, and that’s what this Statement is all about.”

“It sets a new approach that will change the way government works with regional Victorians by bringing local priorities to the heart of government decision-making.”