Economic Development Plan

The PUGRC are a key part of Victoria’s growth response outside of the metropolitan growth areas and the Regional Cities. Additionally, they contain much of Victoria’s tourism assets, recreation opportunities, water catchments and productive agricultural areas.

To successfully manage the population growth and visitor populations, the Peri Urban region is developing an overarching strategy which will identify suitable employment and investment opportunities and the required infrastructure projects for the region. The project will be developed with the support of Rural Councils Victoria.

The objective of the strategy will be to enable cohesive, whole of government planning and the sharing of significant infrastructure which would reduce unnecessary duplication across the region. Additionally, the Strategy will enable both Local and State Government to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the strategic requirements for the region.

The project is commencing in early 2017.


Managing Population Change

The Peri Urban Councils are growing rapidly, relative to their existing resident base and at higher rates than the Regional Cities. The region contains four of the five fastest growing regional Shires in Victoria.

To 2031, the Peri Urban Councils will grow by an average of 45.3% in comparison to the Regional Cities at 26.7%.

Comparison across Peri Urban Councils, Interface Councils and the Regional Cities

Council Total Revenue 2016/17 Average rate population growth p.a. to 2031 2011 population 2031 Forecast population Total population growth by 2031 Total Population growth by 2031 Council size Km2
Bass Coast $72,340,000.00 3.07% 30,200 48,800 14,600 48.34% 854Km2
Baw Baw $87,561,000.00 3.60% 43,400 67,700 24,300 56% 4,028Km2
Golden Plains $42,618,000.00 2.50% 19,000 29,000 10,000 52.67% 2,703Km2
Moorabool $54,317,000.00 2.80% 26,700 46,100 17,400 60.63% 2,100Km2
Surf Coast $76,493,000.00 2.60% 26,700 39,600 12,900 48.31% 1,553Km2
PUGRC Ave. $64,365,143.00 2.50% 29,171 42,900 13,729 45.32% 2413Km2
Regional Cities Ave. $160,046,125.00 0.67% 82,962 109,013 26,050 26.7% 4,404Km2
Interface Councils Ave. $219,830,800.00 4% 134,750 233,580 98,830 77% 1024Km2
Source: 2016 Victoria in Future Forecasts and 2016/ Budgets.
The Regional Cities are Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shapparton, Wangaratta, Warnambool and Wodonga. The Interface Councils are Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mornington, Mitchell, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges.

Across much of the peri urban region, the impacts of population growth, lack of resources and forward planning by local and State Government are evident now and will become contentious local issues into the future as communities continue to grow and change. Evidence of the growth and impacts includes:

  • The 2007 Strategic Plan for Warragul Hospital had forecast 786 births per year by 2019, this was exceeded in 2012 and 2013 with 881 births 1040 births respectively. That’s 1 birth every 8.4 hours. The hospital expansion is required now along with kindergartens and schools to accommodate the significant numbers of children being born in the municipality.
  • The Regional Secondary College at Warragul has been asked to identify how to accommodate double the number of students.
  • The upgrade of the Wonthaggi Hospital to Sub-Regional Status (Bass Coast) has been long promised. With the significant growth of permanent residents and the seasonal influx that occurs, this is essential.
  • Kinglake secondary education options require students to leave the mountain, In this context a range of public transport options is essential.
  • Around 400 children are born in the Surf Coast annually with the 0-4 year old population in Surf Coast Shire to almost double 2006 levels by 2031. Kindergartens in Torquay, Jan Juc and Anglesea are now at capacity for four-year-old kindergarten.
  • Moorabool Shire has waitlist for Kindergarten places by postcode due to residents of neighbouring Shires using the services. There is currently a shortfall of 27 kindergarten places and this will rise to 52 by 2016 without new facilities delivered.
  • Across the peri urban region, more than 38,000 people are already commuting to employment outside of the region. That’s equivalent to the entire population of Wodonga commuting to work. This will rise to 58,000 by 2036 if strategic interventions are not delivered to create more local employment.



The Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils represents the fastest growing rural Councils in Victoria.

We are committed to growing our communities in a sustainable way that facilitates population growth and employment opportunities outside of Melbourne and Geelong while retaining local character, important agricultural lands and environmental assets for Victoria.

The Councils of the peri urban region face significant financial challenges in funding current and future growth infrastructure as a result of significantly lower budgets than neighbouring municipalities.

For instance:

Comparison of Total Budgets – 2016/17 Financial Year

Moorabool SC – $54.3 million – PUGRC Ballarat SC (Regional City) – $183 million
Melton SC (Interface) – $205 million
Greater Geelong SC (Regional City) – $380 million
Baw Baw SC – $87.5 million – PUGRC Yarra Ranges SC (Interface) – $178 million
Cardinia SC (Interface) – $107 million

The Councils of the Growth Areas have access to a $50 million per anum Growing Suburbs fund. The PUGRC has begun to advocate for access to this fund and an increase in the funds available to accommodate the Peri Urban Shires.

 Infrastructure investment

Peri Urban Councils Regional Cities Interface Councils
Ave. Total Capital Works Budget 2016/17 $18 million $53 million $63 million
Infrastructure spend per Km2 $7,462 / Km2 $27,836 / Km2 $61,523 / Km2