Media Release

19 June 2017

Guy-Walsh: Interim Report of the Victorian Population Policy Taskforce

Monday 19 June 2017

Interim Report of the Victorian Population Policy Taskforce

Victoria is growing at over 100,000 people every year yet there is no clear plan to ensure that infrastructure and services keep pace with this enormous growth in our population.

Victorians are crying out for visionary leadership to the year 2050 and beyond to manage threats to our liveability from the population explosion that is impacting every aspect of our lives. From commuters being constantly stuck in traffic, over-crowded trains and trams, pollution, energy, important services like schools and hospitals, the crime wave and housing affordability; managing rapid population growth is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Victoria today.

A Liberal Nationals Government will provide the leadership and framework we need to manage our state’s growth.

The majority of Victorians, 77 per cent, choose to live in Greater Melbourne, and 90 per cent of our annual growth settles in Melbourne. Continuing with the current ‘business as usual’ policy will by 2051 see an additional 3.8 million people in Melbourne but only 690,000 people moving or settling in the rest of Victoria. This effectively makes Victoria a city state. The Liberal Nationals Coalition’s vision is to transform Victoria into a state of cities, so we can decentralise Victoria and make it better for everyone.

Over the last six months, the Victorian Population Policy Taskforce has travelled across our great State holding community forums from Mildura to Moe; Wodonga to Warrnambool, ensuring that many different perspectives are heard in how we manage this unprecedented growth. We have conducted many community forums, focussed mainly in regional areas, to understand the concerns and thoughts of community leaders, local businesses and residents. We will continue to hold these forums as we prepare the final report.

In addition, we have received over one hundred submissions from the general public and interested organisations. We have received submissions from Taskforce members who are experts in their chosen fields, as well as from the three regional taskforces in Shepparton, Ballarat and Geelong. The product of this consultation process is this interim report, which records all that the Taskforce has heard so far from the community on one of the greatest challenges facing our state – population growth.

Earlier this year, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy MP announced that if the Liberal Nationals Coalition win the 2018 election, Victoria will have a dedicated Minister for Decentralisation for the first time since the 1970’s – the last time the state had a successful decentralisation agenda. After the announcement, Mr Guy said: “Victoria’s state government can’t sit idly by as a helpless bystander while traffic congestion worsens; train overcrowding reaches critical levels while population decline is happening just 200 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD in some of our regional cities.”

Without government action now, Melbourne and Victoria will continue to grow in an unsustainable way, impacting the liveability and quality of life that countless generations of Victorians have taken for granted that are now under threat.  The interim report we are releasing today is the first step to where we want to be heading.

 

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy MP:

We need to ease the squeeze on Melbourne’s huge population growth.

That means creating push and pull factors like better infrastructure, health and education services and good job opportunities in Melbourne and in the regions.  We can’t just hope people will want to live and work in the regions, the state government must provide incentives like great jobs, services and infrastructure.

This interim report provides the basis for a better vision for Victoria, a decentralised state where every community benefits from population growth that at the moment is only occurring in Melbourne.

Daniel Andrews has no plan, no vision and no interest in decentralisation.  Under Labor, we will continue to see a Melbourne that expands forever and regional Victoria being ignored.

 

Quotes attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh MP:

Of the people who move to our state each year, 90 per cent will move to Melbourne, but still the Andrews Labor Government is doing nothing to make sure our country communities share in this growth.

There’s more to regional and rural Victoria than just Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong and the Liberal Nationals Population Policy Taskforce has been listening to our country communities as we develop a whole of government approach to managing population growth in our state.

 

Quotes attributable to Population Taskforce Chair Tim Smith MP:

Victorians deserve better than being squashed on a train, stuck in traffic for hours and paying more for electricity.

The Liberal Nationals have a positive plan to manage population growth by decentralising our State, by taking the pressure off Melbourne and growing regional Victoria.

77 per cent of our state’s population live in Melbourne and 90 per cent of our growth comes to Melbourne every year, whilst Daniel Andrews sits idly by with no plan to manage this enormous growth in our population.

 

(The Interim Report can be downloaded here)