NATIONALS leader Peter Walsh has called for more resources in regional areas as metropolitan populations relocate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Walsh was in central Victoria on Tuesday, where he visited businesses and service providers including Bendigo Foodshare.
He said regional communities such as Bendigo had experienced a spike in migration out of metropolitan areas since the start of the pandemic
"The COVID pandemic forced a shift in the way we live and think about work and led many to reconsider what's most important in life," he said.
"The ongoing uncertainty of future lockdowns has seen an exodus out of Melbourne, as people look to secure a better lifestyle for themselves and their family."
Mr Walsh highlighted the need for growth of services such as Bendigo Foodshare as the region's population grew.
"There should be no stigma for people asking for help and people might need a hand," he said.
"Foodshare is one of those organisations, through all the volunteers they have, to give those people a hand up when they need it."
Bendigo Foodshare will expand to a new site later this year.
Manager Bridget Bentley said the larger site would help cater for an increasing population.
"Bendigo Foodshare is going through amazing change," she said.
"We are moving to a new warehouse and creating a new home for us that will double our food capacity and get more food out to people who need it in central Victoria.
"We are focusing skills and accessibility to food to people that need help and building those essential skills in growing, cooking and sharing food."
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