The Loddon-Mallee region will share in more jobs and better opportunities under the Victorian Government’s $631 million Ready for Tomorrow: A Blueprint for Regional and Rural Victoria which will deliver a new vision, backed by record funding, to secure the future prosperity of regional and rural communities.
Regional and Rural Development Minister Jacinta Allan said that after a decade of growth in Loddon-Mallee, the Blueprint would help to drive a new era of opportunity and prosperity in regional and rural Victoria.
Highlights under Ready for Tomorrow for the Loddon-Mallee region include:
- $75 million, dedicated through the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund to help improve and build new TAFE and university infrastructure such as student accommodation designed to provide a local tertiary education choice for regional students including development of student accommodation proposal in partnership with Latrobe University, Bendigo;
- $12 million to further upgrade the Mildura freight line to improve capacity and transit times. It will involve the upgrade of 15 level crossings along the rail corridor making them safer, and allowing trains on the corridor to travel at a faster speed.
- A commitment to building on the government’s achievement in creating regional jobs by growing government jobs in Bendigo;
- $11.4 million for more regional buses including improved town bus services in the Romsey and Lancefield;
- $17.2 million for the Regional Growth for the Future strategy to ensure future growth in regional centres is strategic, creates more jobs and preserves the lifestyles enjoyed by regional families. This will support the development of a comprehensive land use and urban plan for Bendigo;
- $3.9 million Revitalising Regional Towns initiative will help four regional Victorian towns, including Robinvale, to tackle economic and social disadvantage;
- Bendigo and Swan Hill to take part in the $3.2 million Youth Action Strategy which will involve young people having a say in planning and governance of their region, building on the Better Youth Services initiative;
- $6 million for a new ‘Villages of Victoria’ campaign showcasing the unique characteristics of Victoria’s villages including Kyneton, Castlemaine and Maldon; and
- $2 million for Regional Tourism Boards which will include a new board for Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges.
Other Ready for Tomorrow initiatives the Loddon-Mallee will benefit from include:
- $50 million Sustainable Small Towns package: Locations such as Buloke Shire, Gannawarra Shire, Loddon Shire and Central Goldfields Shire will be able to apply for projects that improve public amenity such as streetscapes and community halls, as well as projects that improve sustainability and energy efficiency;
- $3.3 million Developing Regional Leaders: Training, mentoring and networking regional Victoria’s leaders of tomorrow; and
- $3.5 million Networked Rural Councils: Rural councils will benefit from being part of the wider Rural Councils Victoria network. The state’s 38 rural Councils can work together and share resources to address emerging issues.
“Our Government is determined to support families living and working in the Loddon-Mallee region,” Ms Allan said.
“This new $631 million Blueprint demonstrates the depth of our 18 month consultation with regional communities, councils and peak bodies to form actions that will make our regions more prosperous and create new opportunities for its residents.”
Ms Allan said the Loddon-Mallee region would share in the $110.1 million Investing in Skills and Young People strategy to deliver more opportunities and better access to tertiary education.
This includes new targets to increase the number of enrolments and graduates in regional Victoria with new infrastructure support to encourage investment in new student accommodation, TAFE and university facilities, leadership and cadetship programs and a new youth strategy.
The region will also benefit from $99.4 million towards a new action plan to boost regional industries to help small businesses, create thousands of new jobs through investment attraction and support tourism operators, including with new infrastructure.
A further $203.9 million will provide regional areas with world-class infrastructure in water, cleaner energy and industry development, improvements to broadband services, local roads, timber roads, bridges, bus services and more affordable housing.
There will be $158.4 million to support the regional way of life with funding for sports clubs, cultural activities, and community organisations and $58.9 million will guide the sustainable, prosperous economic and social growth of Victoria’s regions.
Ms Allan said the Brumby Government was continuing to invest in the services that matter to families in regional and rural Victoria.
“Ready for Tomorrow is about backing our regional communities to be leaders in new job creation, new industry development and new ideas,” she said.
“It’s about delivering first-class tertiary education opportunities for our young people so they can live and work in our regions. It’s about growing our regions through investments that create jobs in local communities and it’s about protecting the lifestyles that regional families have come to cherish.”
REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT FUND - $260 MILLION BOOST
Ms Allan said the hugely successful $611 million Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) would be fully committed by 30 June then boosted by $260 million from 1 July under the Blueprint.
Ms Allan today announced five new projects worth $9.8 million to receive RIDF support, having been identified by those communities to generate new jobs and new opportunities.
“This hugely successful fund – the first of its kind in Australia – is helping to create jobs, lock in prosperity, secure lifestyles and create new opportunities for regional and rural Victorians.
“We want to see that continue which is why from 1 July the RIDF will be boosted by $260 million to support infrastructure that leads to job creation, business investment, and community pride.”
The projects announced today to be supported under the existing RIDF include:
- $730,000 for the $926,000 upgrade of the Iron Horse Intermodal Terminal in Merbein to help reduce costs which will result in more competitive pricing for freight customers;
$1.8 million for a $7.5 million grape waste-to-energy project at Australian Tartaric Products in Colignan to install a boiler that converts grape remains to energy for the operation of its manufacturing plant;
- $300,000 for the $517,000 for development of a traveller’s rest in Sea Lake to demolish the existing toilet block, build a new facility as well as a sheltered barbecue and seating area, bus and car parking and a children’s playground;
- $230,000 for a $460,000 North Central Victoria Community Fuel Project to secure a supply of biofuel for the region, provide a return to producers growing oilseed crops for the production of biodiesel, and contribute to a reduction in the agricultural sector’s carbon footprint; and
- $298,000 towards the $397,000 Robinvale CBD Development, Robinvale for streetscape improvements including a median along Perrin St with shade trees and centre street lighting; new street furniture including tree guards; bench seating and seat/table sets; new bollards and cable to provide a sense of entry to Perrin St; surfacing of a shared laneway linking Perrin St to the IGA supermarket and car park; and community art work involving and portraying Robinvale’s multi-cultural community.