Government launches growth plan

Planning Minister Matthew Guy launched a long-term plan for promoting growth in the Loddon Mallee region on Thursday.

The Loddon Mallee North Regional Growth Plan is the Napthine government's vision to build a "state of cities" by "sharing the benefits of growth across Victoria". 

The plan involves Buloke, Campaspe, Gannawarra, Mildura and Swan Hill shires.

Mr Guy said the plans were a historic achievement that brought together state and local government and regional communities.

“With modest population growth anticipated over coming years, a key focus of future planning is the continued growth of this region’s local economy and allowing regional centres to grow and thrive,” Mr Guy said. 

In an official announcement of its plan, the government said it anticipated a population of 160,000 in the region by 2041.

The government highlighted six key features of its plan including "diversifying the region’s economy by taking advantage of value-adding opportunities and emerging industries, particularly in agriculture, mining and alternative energy". 

The plan also highlighted a vision to promote Mildura as a regional city linked with a network of towns and to support regional growth centres such as Echuca and Swan Hill. 

The government said it also wanted to boost affordable housing and job opportunities across smaller towns such as Birchip, Charlton, Donald, Kerang, Kyabram, Robinvale, Rochester, Sea Lake and Wycheproof are also part of the vision.

The government also plans to improve freight transport links across the region.

Mr Guy said the Loddon Mallee North Regional Growth Plan was in conjunction with his recent announcement of $12.3 million in the 2014-15 state budget to fund regional growth plans and assist councils with major projects.

“The Loddon Mallee North region’s economy is driven by its competitive advantage in agriculture and its strategic location on national transport routes  and it is important to maximise these for future job creation."


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