Nationals’ plan to take control of growth

By Seymour Telegraph

The Coalition unveiled a major plank in its decentralisation strategy at Seymour last week, revealing a plan to drive growth across the Goulburn-Murray region.

Dubbed the Goulburn Corridor Growth Authority, the plan involves spending $15million on establishing a new body to oversee and drive infrastructure spending and population growth.

The authority will be based in Seymour and be responsible for a bold vision to grow the region.

It will be tasked with attracting new businesses and jobs to the region, and will be chaired by respected businessman Andrew Fairley.

Nationals leader and shadow Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Minister Peter Walsh said his party was committed to opening up the Goulburn Valley to benefit the region and ease population pressures in Melbourne.

‘‘A Liberal Nationals government will take back control of population growth and make sure we have the right growth in the right places, at the right time,’’ he said.

‘‘We won’t repeat the failures of past state governments that failed to plan for and invest in the infrastructure that will ensure regional Victoria continues to thrive.’’

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said the authority will be charged with growing the area between Seymour and Shepparton, and planning the infrastructure that will be needed to support that population growth.

‘‘I think Seymour is going to grow, but it’s whether we take control of that process and grow in the way we want it to,’’ she said.

‘‘Before the 2014 election I committed $2.5million to revitalise Seymour, but we lost government at that election and I couldn’t follow through with my plans to attract jobs and invest in the town.

‘‘I’ve received a clear message from the community over the past five years that Seymour has incredible potential and we need to be able to capitalise on that.

‘‘We have everything at our disposal here, but we haven’t been a target for economic or population growth, but we want to change that.’’

The Nationals are making no secret of their bold plan to decentralise jobs and growth across Victoria, and Ms Ryan said Seymour was the perfect place for that.

Melbourne’s population has already passed five million and is growing at an average of 2700 people a week.

Part of the authority’s role will be to attract new business and jobs to this region, as well as planning what is required to support more people moving to the region.

‘‘This is a major plank of our decentralisation policy, we looked at the example of Albury-Wodonga which Gough Whitlam targeted to be a major inland city, and it has grown substantially because of that,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘Attracting companies to invest in regional communities is a part of that.’’