Victorian Government announces $36.8m for regional police stations

vic police regional developmentPolice are the latest target of a spending blitz by the Victorian Government.

Almost $600 million will be spent in next week’s state budget on public safety, including $36.8 million on regional police stations.

New police stations will be built at Colac, Murtoa, Bright, Warburton, Mallacoota, Cowes and Corryong.

And $2.94 million worth of refurbishments will take place across stations at Bacchus Marsh, Bairnsdale, Benalla, Churchill, Cobden, Geelong, Lakes Entrance, Maffra, Moe, Mount Buller, Portland, Rosebud, Sorrento, Warragul and Warrnambool.

Almost $4 million will be spent replacing or upgrading police residences across Victoria.

Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Justice, Ben Carroll, announced the regional funding in Colac this week.

“Community safety is paramount,” Mr Carroll said.

“The Government is delivering on a commitment to provide better resource for a modern police force,” Mr Carroll said.

The State Government will be spend $11.47 million building the new Colac police station, an announcement welcomed by Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan. To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.


State Government to fund feasibility study of Wimmera Mallee pipeline expansion

regional vicThe Victorian Government will fund an almost million-dollar feasibility study into expanding a water pipeline in the state’s west.

Premier Daniel Andrews is on a two-day tour of drought-affected communities around Horsham and Ararat.

The study will examine expanding the Wimmera Mallee pipeline network to cover an area of more than 300,000 hectares, as well as replacing the open channel between Rocklands Reservoir and Taylor’s Lake with pipeline.

“These are proud communities. A lot of people are doing tough and every Victorian stands with these local areas, farmers, families, those who need our support perhaps now more than ever,” Mr Andrews said.

Ironically though some rain has fallen in the region overnight, but Mr Andrews said it was not enough.

“Whilst 4 or 5 millimetres of rain overnight is welcome, all of us, particularly in Melbourne, need to know and understand that you would need a prolonged period of rain fall indeed above average rainfall to make up for the exceptionally dry conditions,” he said.

Environment Minister Lisa Neville said the pipeline could save a large amount of water.

“We’ll also look at a pipeline between Rocklands and Lake Taylor and that has potential to save around 2,000 megalitres of water a year,” she said. To read more click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-6 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.


Aussies living in regional areas die younger, are less educated and have fewer job prospects

regional austraia job prospectsWhile our politicians are feathering their own nests spending critical funding in the most privileged cities, 6.8 million people who reside in regional and remote Australia are being denied access to basic services.

A News Corp investigation of ABS data shows they die younger, are less educated, and have fewer employment prospects.

The figures expose a catastrophe that has been decades in the making — a disaster that has been drilled by government neglect.

Today, News Corp Australia draws a line in the sand to stop th injustice and demand a Fair Go for Regional Australia.

The one in three Australians in the regional and remote areas deserve the same access to health care, education, and employment prospects as those in our capital cities.

Living in the bush should not be a life sentence.

The campaign will put pressure on our politicians in the lead up to the Federal Election to deliver a Fair Go for the regions.

If we look at Social Atlas of Australia median age of death figures from 2012, on average, people in Sydney and Melbourne lived to be 85, while Brisbane and Adelaide it was 84 and 84.5 respectively. But in Darwin, the median age of death was just 66, and in the NT outback 56.

In coming weeks the investigation will also expose shocking obesity rates, education outcomes and unfair funding distribution for the regions. To read more click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

Call for transition strategy to assist Hunter coal mining communities in wake of job losses

B0GR0E Open cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley NSW Australia

Pressure is building on the state and federal governments to come up with a formal strategy to help Hunter mining communities deal with the industry downturn.

BHP Billiton announced on Tuesday it would cut 290 jobs from its Mount Arthur mine near Muswellbrook, bringing to 1000 the number of anticipated job losses in regional mines this year. Others are set to go at Drayton (500), Donaldson (90-plus), Bulga (60) and West Wallsend (100).

Federal Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon is advocating the development of a regional strategy to promote economic diversity in mining areas and Muswellbrook mayor Martin Rush has called on the NSW Government to commit $30 million to an Upper Hunter Economic Development Corporation to help affected communities transition to new industries and create job opportunities.

Cr Rush said with markets retreating and coal prices dropping, it was “becoming increasingly clear this is no longer a cyclical downturn, but a structural decline for the future of thermal coal”.

“The State Government needs to ensure that areas that have contributed so much for so long to the state’s economy are protected during this period of very strong economic headwinds,” Cr Rush said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said job losses and the halving of coal prices over three years had prompted him to lobby for a transition strategy. He has proposed the Hunter branch of Regional Development Australia oversee the building of a business case for government support .

“It is not in anyone’s interests to accelerate the demise of coal but market forces indicate that in the long run, it will play a smaller role in our local economy,” he said.

“I am proposing a consultative three-stage process that will establish a case that government intervention is justified, determine where the money should be spent, then develop a robust funding submission.” To read more click here.

Preparing for growth in Australia’s cities and regions

Media Release

Investment in urban and regional infrastructure will be better informed with the release of the Progress in Australian Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015 and State of Australian Cities 2014-15 publications today.

The publications provide an understanding of the nation’s overall economic and social wellbeing.

The economic output of our major cities has grown and their national importance remains extremely high, although mining activity in regional Australia has seen the overall percentage contribution by major cities to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dip slightly. [Page 1, State of the Cities 2014-15].

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the release of both reports provides a deeper, more complete picture of the population, employment, economic and transport trends that are occurring across Australia.

“Building the infrastructure Australia needs for the future is best informed by a thorough understanding of the challenges ahead, and these publications will provide vital information for infrastructure planners and communities,” Mr Truss said.

“The Australian Government released both the State of Australian Cities and State of Regional Australia reports concurrently to provide a nationwide view of Australia’s progress.”

Mr Truss said the release of the publications recognised the interrelated nature of cities and their surrounding regions.

“State of Australian Cities 2014-15 is an important tool for all levels of government in understanding where our cities are performing well and where there are opportunities for improvement,” he said.

“While there is no doubt our cities are vitally important for the nation’s prosperity they cannot be considered in isolation from their surrounding regions.

“The Progress in Australia’s Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015 report illustrates the different ways that regions change and takes into account aspects like population growth, economic wellbeing and social progress.

“This report shows that infrastructure continues to support the economies of regional Australian by promoting the efficient flow of people and resources while also providing regional Australians with access to essential services such as education and health.

“In December 2014, my Department released the Progress in Australian Regions—Yearbook 2014 to provide a statistical resource that can help answer the question of how regions are progressing against economic, social, environmental and governance indicators.

“This publication will enable governments, private investors and the community to identify trends that are important for policy development and investment decisions.

“The Government will continue to provide detailed analysis of the challenges facing the nation—inclusive of regional Australia.”

Mr Truss said the Australian Government had been investing widely in urban and regional infrastructure since being elected.

“Our commitment to delivering national prosperity begins with delivering the infrastructure Australia needs, and we have embarked on a nationwide programme of investment to achieve this end,” he said.

“Commitments such as the $8.5 billion upgrade of the Bruce Highway and the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing—the largest commitment to a single regional road project in Queensland’s history—will support the continued movement of goods to domestic and international markets.

“Likewise, the Perth Freight Link will create a new world class freight connection between the Roe Highway and the Fremantle Port, and we are expecting a business case and delivery plan for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project soon.

“The announcement of Badgerys Creek as the preferred site for Western Sydney’s airport is a significant commitment, and we are investing $2.9 billion towards key road upgrades to support the region through the $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

“The $5 billion Asset Recycling Initiative is helping states build major urban public transport projects, such as the Second Harbour Rail Crossing in Sydney.

“When projects like these are combined with our other initiatives such as the Black Spot, Bridges Renewal and Roads to Recovery programmes—with Roads to Recovery receiving over $1.1 billion in extra funding in the past fortnight—Australia’s infrastructure future looks very promising indeed.”

The publications can be found online at: and

Australian Regional Development Conference (ARDC)
26 – 28 August 2015 | Albury, New South Wales

Conference sponsored by La Trobe University, The Regional Development Company, Vertel, EJ Australia, REMPLAN, .id the population experts and the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc.