small business Community facilities | October 19, 2017

Pulford ignorant of regional population decline

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP has slammed Labor’s Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford for refusing to acknowledge population challenges in our country communities.

Ms Pulford’s claims “regional centres are … leading the nation in attracting new residents”, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports most of Victoria’s new residents are moving to Melbourne.

Ms Kealy said despite being Labor’s representative for Western Victoria, Ms Pulford failed to understand the need for a plan to grow Victoria’s regional communities.

“For Minister Pulford to say this shows how completely out of touch she is with true regional Victoria,” Ms Kealy said.

“Labor has a blinkered view that Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong represent regional Victoria.

“The real story is that genuine regional centres like Horsham and Hamilton are suffering as a direct result of Labors city-centric policies and lack of funding,” she said.

ABS data shows there has been a decline in both Horsham’s and Hamilton’s populations in recent years.

“Melbourne grew by more than 126,000 people last year, but in the same time regional Victoria grew by just 20,106 people,” Ms Kealy said.

“Melbourne is quite literally bursting at the seams while the population of our regional communities continues to fall.

“This is why the Liberal-Nationals Population Policy Taskforce is working to develop decentralisation policies to balance our population growth and ensure regional Victoria shares in the benefits.

“The Premier for Melbourne has no plan to manage and grow the population of regional Victoria.

“Country people living in the Lowan electorate are sick of being treated like second-class citizens by the Andrews Labor Government,” she said.

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