Thursday, 8 July 2021

The Andrews Labor Government is backing businesses and industries in the state’s north east to attract critical workers through new investments to tackle housing shortages and other barriers to regional workforce attraction.

Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas today announced a $5 million investment in new Regional Workforce Pilots which would be strategically located across the state to help regional and rural communities attract the workers they need.

While the local economy benefits from strong demand for housing from visitors, this has increased market rents with the median rate in the Alpine Shire climbing by more than 10 per cent in the 12 months to the March quarter.

In response, the Labor Government will invest $260,000 to support Alpine Shire Council to pilot a Key Worker Housing Program to match workers to suitable housing by connecting them with property owners.

The pilots will build on new Victorian Government investments designed to create more jobs and attract more workers to the region including through the $10 million Regional Recovery Fund. This includes $825,000 to Tourism North East to plan for long-term affordable housing.

Housing affordability and workforce needs have been a consistent priority for the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership. Victoria’s north east region is one of four sites to benefit from the pilots. The others will be located within the Grampians, along the Great South Coast and at Robinvale in northern Victoria.

The Regional Workforce Pilots are part of the Government’s almost $30 billion investment in regional and rural Victoria since 2015, supporting thousands of jobs and contributing to the nation’s lowest regional unemployment rate.

The Regional Workforce Pilots and regional housing initiatives build on the Government’s historic $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to construct more than 12,000 new secure and modern, social and affordable homes throughout the state – with $1.25 billion being invested in regional Victoria.

For more information about the Regional Workforce Pilots visit

Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas

“We understand that workforce shortages are a real issue in the North East – that’s why we are investing in these new pilots as well as other immediate initiatives to boost employment across the state.”

Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes

“Our support for the High Country, where tourism is paramount to our state’s prosperity, will help create new opportunities for workers in this beautiful part of regional Victoria.”

Quote attributable Ovens Murray Regional Partnership Chair Amber Gardner

“A lack of affordable and accessible workforce housing and seasonal staff accommodation is a major inhibitor of business growth in the Ovens Murray, which is why addressing this issue through innovative new programs is a priority for the Ovens Murray Regional Partnership.