Budget boost for peri urban region

Bacchus-Marsh-township-2068-1024x682The State Budget backed some of our calls for important funding for the fast-growing fringe regions outside Melbourne including:

  •  Extending the $50 million Growing Suburbs Fund;
  • $5 million for grants to support growing regional towns;
  • $101 million for state regional road upgrades;
  • An additional $30 million for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund; and
  • $300 million for the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for vital regional health projects.

Image: Moorabool Shire Council

Advocating for our region – June 2022

PUCVDE~2Our board has had a busy few months engaging with stakeholders and working across our region to ensure we are better equipped to handle population growth.

Prior to the election we met with both the Government and the Opposition to ensure both sides of the chamber were well-versed in the unique challenges and circumstances facing peri urban areas.

We made representations to the Hon Andrew Giles MP, then the Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure and now Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in the new Albanese Government.  Our board also met with the office of the Hon Catherine King MP, newly appointed Cabinet Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government to discuss existing and future funding arrangements for liveability infrastructure.  In these meetings we had a wide-ranging discussion about urban growth pressures and digital connectivity.

Working at the State level, our board have met with the Hon Shaun Leane MP Minister for Local Government, Suburban Development and Veterans to discuss the Growing Suburbs Fund and the importance of funding certainty.  We also made representations to the office of Hon Brett Carroll MP Minister for Public Transport, Roads and Road safety and discussed the priority road and transport issues for the region.

Our board also hosted a discussion with the Hon Mary-Anne Thomas MP Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Agriculture regarding skilled worker shortages affecting the region.

We also briefed the Hon David Davis MP Shadow Treasurer, Richard Riordan MP Shadow Minister for Local Government and Resources and Bridget Vallence MP Shadow Minister for Industry, Manufacturing and Innovation on our Pre Budget Submission, and took the opportunity to discuss urban policy and infrastructure funding at length.

We had a productive meeting with the Office of the Hon Martin Pakula MP Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Trades, Business Precincts, Tourism, Sport and Major Events as well as the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to discuss tourism and event recovery measures.

At a recent board meeting we met with Parks Victoria to get an understanding of the assets they manage and the funding available to them from the state government.

There are numerous issues with local parks and tracks either closed or not sufficiently maintained which affects tourism opportunities within the peri urban region and our board will be looking at further advocacy work in this area.

Looking ahead, we will be putting the case for peri-urban communities to the new Albanese Government as they formulate their new budget and portfolio priorities.  With a state election looming at the end of the year, we are predicting a busy 6 months ahead to ensure the peri urban region receives the policy and funding recognition that the fast-growing fringe deserves.

Image: PUCV Delegation Meeting L to R – Cr Leaney, Cr Gamble, Mr Madden, Mr Sagona, Mr Dupe, Cr Berry, Ms Wastie, Cr Sharkey, Mr Waight, Mr Riordan MP, Cr Tessari, Mr Davis MP, Cr Stapleton

From our Chair – June 2022

PUCV Delegation L t R Cr Leaney, Cr Berry, Cr Gamble, Mr Madden, Cr Tessari, Ms Wastie, Mr Sagona, Cr Sharkey, Mr Dupe -2The beginning of 2022 has been a busy one for Peri Urban Councils Victoria, as we advocate on behalf of the growth areas immediately adjacent to Melbourne and Geelong, representing a population of over 180,000 Victorians.

Our region is growing rapidly, a trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic, with more people working from home and embracing lifestyle choices over metropolitan and inner-city living.  Indeed, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that outer suburbs have experienced some of the highest population growth in Australia.

With borders open, peri urban councils have welcomed tourists back to our region in significant numbers. This, in addition to many more people calling peri urban regions home, is creating a growing strain on roads and local infrastructure that will need to be addressed.

As the dust settles on the Federal election, we have warmly welcomed the new Albanese Government and would like to congratulate our new Federal Members and Senators particularly local representatives the Hon Catherine King MP Member for Ballarat, the Hon Dan Tehan MP Member for Wannon, the Hon Darren Chester MP Member for Gippsland, Libby Coker MP Member for Corangamite, Sam Rae MP Member for Hawke and Russell Broadbent MP Member for Monash.

We look forward to working with them to champion the interests of the peri urban region in the 47th Parliament of Australia.

Image: PUCV March delegation L-R Cr Leaney, Cr Berry, Cr Gamble, Mr Madden, Cr Tessari, Ms Wastie, Mr Sagona, Cr Sharkey, Mr Dupe.

Budget boost for fast growing fringe

Peri Urban Councils Victoria (PUCV) has today welcomed the release of the 2022-23 Victorian State Budget, and the important funding allocated to fast-growing peri urban regions.Bass C Inverloch Farmers Market -0570 (3)

“This budget will go some way to supporting growing fringe regions around Melbourne and Geelong to manage growth and offer a better balanced lifestyle” PUCV Chair and Councillor of Bass Coast Council Cr Brett Tessari said.

“The peri urban regions are experiencing some of the highest growth rates in the country so it’s great to see this budget once again back the Growing Suburbs Fund and other grant programs to support growing regional towns” Cr Tessari said.

Important investments announced as part of the budget include:

  • Extending the $50 million Growing Suburbs Fund;
  • $5 million for grants to support growing regional towns;
  • $101 million for state regional road upgrades;
  • An additional $30 million for the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund; and
  • $300 million for the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for vital regional health projects; and
  • $17 million to protect and preserve our coastal environment from erosion and flood risks, $10 million for investment in Great Ocean Road erosion management and funding to upgrade jetties and national parks.

“As we head into a state election later in the year, we will be looking for investments that support the future of the fast growing fringe regions and the growing population who choose to live there” Cr Tessari concluded.

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Peri Urban welcomes federal budget

Peri Urban Councils Victoria (PUCV) has today welcomed the release of the 2022-23 Federal Budget, and the important funding allocated to fast-growing peri urban regions.

“This budget will assist the peri urban region to manage growth in a sustainable way” PUCV Chair and Councillor of Bass Coast Council, Cr Brett Tessari said.

“PUCV have been making a pitch for more infrastructure and services to support a better balanced lifestyle in our fast-growing peri urban regions” Cr Tessari explained.

“It’s good to see this budget acknowledge the regional migration trend, and back that up with funding for digital connectivity, transport and job creation” Cr Tessari said

New figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the population of peri urban and regional Australia grew by 70,900 people during 202/21,the first time in 40 years that Australia’s regional population grew more than the capital cities.

Relevant investments announced as part of the budget that will benefit the peri urban region include:

  • A new $2 billion Regional Accelerator Program for local priorities in infrastructure, manufacturing and industry development, skills and training, research and development and education;
  • A new $1.3 billion telecommunications package to connect regions through better telecommunications and support regional growth;
  • $500 million (until 2024) added to the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program: an extension of the program (total investment in the program is $3 billion);
  • $40 million (over 4 years) for the Bridges Renewal Program: an increase of $10 million per year;
  • Regional Home Guarantee – providing up to 10,000 places each year for next 3 years to support first homebuyers to in regional areas; and
  • $150.3 million to support medical training in rural and regional Australia.

“PUCV is calling on both sides of parliament to continue to invest in important civic and cultural infrastructure to support the COVID-led exodus from our cities” Cr Tessari said.

We will be working with the Government and Opposition in the lead up to the Federal Election to ensure the peri urban region receives a fair slice of the pie,” Cr Tessari concluded.

Peri Urban councils seek funding certainty to manage growth

Peri Urban Councils Victoria (PUCV) haBacchus-Marsh-township-2068-1024x682ve welcomed new government funding for vital community infrastructure and are calling on the state government to provide certainty about future funding rounds.

PUCV member councils have secured $13.5 million in government funding under the latest round of the Growing Suburbs Fund for infrastructure that supports a better-balanced lifestyle for their communities.

Cr Brett Tessari, PUCV Chair and Bass Coast Councillor said the funding was a much-needed boost to community infrastructure in high-growth areas.

“People moving into the peri urban regions expect a high standard of social infrastructure and the Growing Suburbs Fund greatly assists our member councils in meeting these demands” Cr Tessari explained.

Cr Tessari said: “To help councils plan for growth we really need the government to ensure there are future funding cycles of the Growing Suburbs Fund.”

“So we are calling on the government to have an annual funding round and ensure the funds are committed to in each state budget cycle,” he said

The Growing Suburbs fund has provided over $30 million in infrastructure across the peri urban region over the past two years, including funding for community hubs, libraries, recreational facilities and tracks and trails.

Successful projects funded under the Growing Suburbs Fund 2021-22 include:

  •  Inverloch to Wonthaggi Trail: Bass Coast Shire Council ($3 million). Total project $7.7 million;
  • Baw Baw Precinct Stage 1: Baw Baw Shire Council ($3.5 million). Total project $30 million;
  • Rokewood Community Hub and Pavilion Upgrade: Golden Plains Shire Council ($3.5 million). Total project $4.8 million; and
  • Ballan Library and Community Hub Program: Moorabool Shire Council ($3.5 million). Total project $7 million.

The Growing Suburbs Fund was established in 2015 as a $375 investment over seven years to support critical infrastructure in fast-growing interface council areas.  It was expanded in June 2020 to include councils in the peri-urban areas of Victoria as an acknowledgement of their growth pressures.

“We want to deliver the social infrastructure for our region that makes it a great place to live and work, but we need to be able to fund and plan accordingly” Cr Tessari concluded.

Peri Urban area investment supports a better balance

The Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils are ready to partner with the State and Federal Governments to ensure they are growth-ready ahead of the expected influx of domestic and international migration in 2022.

With a federal and state election looming the PUGRC are making a pitch for infrastructure and services to support more Victorians to secure a better-balanced lifestyle.

Cr Brett Tessari, PUGRC Chair and Bass Coast Councillor said the COVID-led exodus from major capitals had been well documented, particularly as the work-from-anywhere phenomenon has become the new norm.

“What has been less understood is that the Peri Urban areas in a commutable distance from these capitals have borne the brunt of this growth, and we know this trend will continue as migration picks up due to the borders opening” Cr Tessari said.

The PUGRC member regions were expected to grow by almost 50% or more than 100,000 by 2036, however, with the COVID induced regional shift it is possible that this figure will be reached much sooner.  This is supported by statistics from the Centre for Population’s Regional Internal Migration Estimates, which highlighted that in the 12 months to March 2021, 43 per cent of those leaving Melbourne settled in regional Victoria.

The PUGRC are calling for:

  1. Placemaking: civic and cultural infrastructure to secure the liveability of PUGRC communities;
  2. Job Creating Tourism Assets: development of tourism assets for a stronger COVID recovery;
  3. Digital Connectivity: to support the work from home movement; and
  4. Transport Connectivity: to increase the connections between our communities, regional cities and Melbourne.

“With the borders fully opening and migration expected to reach pre-pandemic highs, we urgently need the State and Federal governments to act fast and invest in our member areas accordingly,” Cr Tessari said.

“We are ready to grow and support people looking for a better balance and really that is a win-win for everyone,” he concluded.

 

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Advocating for our region – December 2021

Our board has had a busy few months engaging with stakeholders and working across our region to ensure we are better equipped to handle population growth.

Our board recently met with the Hon Shaun Leanne MP, Minister for Local Government andBass C Inverloch Farmers Market -0570 (3) Suburban Development, to highlight the key issues and priorities for our region, across each of the five local member councils.

We had a productive meeting with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, focused on the development of Regional Economic Development Strategies.  Our board also met with the Victorian Planning Authority to discuss regional planning and strategic land use.

We also hosted The Infrastructure Collaborative and observed an interesting presentation on software to help avoid delays in large infrastructure projects.

In the new year, we will be concentrating on various planning issues – in particular Precinct Structure Plans (PSP) and Developer Contribution Plans (DCP) as currently there are numerous issues that are negatively affecting council’s ability to provide adequate infrastructure for growth.

 

From the Chair – December 2021

 Cr-Brett-Tessari_a28930b60decd87861cb5491ed347d73_1a0183f9a489507bb4ba32793bb32b5d

As 2021 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on a busy year for the Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils and for the people it represents.

The Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils (PUGRC) advocates on behalf of the growth areas immediately adjacent to Melbourne and Geelong, representing a population of over 180,000 Victorians.  We are also the region that city dwellers choose for recreation, the supplier of nearly half of Melbourne’s food needs and the second fastest growing rural region in Victoria.

Our region is growing rapidly, a trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic, with more people working from home and embracing lifestyle choices over metropolitan and inner-city living.

In light of this, we have updated PUGRC’s Terms of Reference and Policy Framework to ensure that it accurately reflects the challenges facing us today and the opportunities ahead.

We have also developed a Budget Submission 2022/23, to advocate for greater investment and strategic decisions to support our growing region.  As a Federal election looms, we are already eyeing the year ahead to ensure our politicians and policymakers have the peri urban region front and centre when allocating the funding pie.

On a personal note, I am thrilled to once again be elected Chair of PUGRC and to represent a region that I feel passionately about. I wish you all the best for the holiday season and look forward to a busy and productive 2022.