CITY of Greater Bendigo mayor Alec Sandner and chief executive officer Craig Niemann will meet other regional leaders and key State Government Ministers this week to discuss better ways to plan for future population growth.
The talks were organised by Regional Cities Victoria as part of the second annual Celebrating Regional Cities week.
Regional cities are expected to secure 25 per cent of the state’s population in coming years, equating to an extra 208,070 people between 2011 and 2031.
Mr Niemann said Bendigo’s population was set to grow from 105,000 to 143,000 during the next 18 years and this would place enormous pressure on services and infrastructure.
“Regional cities like Bendigo are growing at an historic rate and we are keen to gain support for a better plan for Victoria’s economic and population growth,” he said.
“It is terrific that more people want to make Greater Bendigo and other regional cities their home, but we need more support to plan for sustainable growth and provide the necessary infrastructure, community facilities and services.
“A Regional Cities Growth Strategy is essential for councils to plan for sustainable economic and population growth.
“It will guide the delivery of land, infrastructure and essential services and ensure Greater Bendigo remains vibrant and liveable for future generations.”
Cr Sandner said RCV would also discuss the impact of having to fully-fund the superannuation shortfall liability.
“Having to regularly top up the scheme limits our capacity to deliver services and infrastructure for our growing population so we will also be seeking state and federal government assistance in getting this issue addressed,” he said.
RCV was formed in 2000 to represent regional Victoria through a single voice. It includes 10 of the largest municipalities in regional Victoria – Greater Bendigo, Ballarat, Mildura, Greater Shepparton, Greater Geelong, Wangaratta, Horsham, Warrnambool, Latrobe and Wodonga.