BENDIGO’S current population of 105,560 will rise to 153,050 by 2031 and significant infrastructure will be needed to accommodate the growth, according to a new report released by Regional Cities Victoria.
Implications of Population Growth on Infrastructure and Resources in Regional Cities reports $4.4 billion will need to be spent on infrastructure in Victoria’s 10 regional cities to keep pace with the population boom.
The report shows Bendigo’s rail services, hospital beds, TAFE places and aged care beds will all need to be significantly increased by 2031 in a high growth scenario.
City of Greater Bendigo chief executive officer Craig Niemann said the report highlighted the need for forward planning by all forms of government.
“In the past five years we are seeing stronger growth than what had been expected,” he said.
“That presents challenges (but) it’s better knowing that today than down the track because it will help us with our thinking now.
“It’s not just local government, but all levels of government working together on how we might think about the projections moving forward.”
He said the council was already looking to provide the infrastructure to deal with such a population rise.
He said the need for just under 20,000 more residential dwellings required in a high growth scenario was currently being looked at in the council’s Residential Development Strategy Review.
Regional Cities Victoria suggest by 2031 Bendigo’s 43,540 homes would need to expand to 64,910.
“That would mean lots of residential lots that need to be planned for and developed well before that,” he said.
“That’s all work we’re doing right now, about where that growth might be.”
Regional and Rural Development Minister Peter Ryan said the Victorian government was putting in place an extensive infrastructure agenda right across Victorian regional cities.
“This includes the Regional Rail Link, which improves travel times between Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne (and) the $660 million Bendigo Hospital project,” he said.
He said the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund and $300,000 grant to Regional Cities Victoria were helping regional Victorian towns prepare for the future.
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