The Nationals Gippsland South Population Population Taskforce Tim Smith Wonthaggi Leongatha Decentralisation Taskforce

Population Taskforce comes to South Gippsland

The Liberal-Nationals Coalition Population Policy Taskforce has brought its roadshow to South Gippsland seeking ideas on how to better spread Victoria’s population around the state.

Member for Kew and chair of the Taskforce, Tim Smith, and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, who is deputy chair of the Taskforce, conducted events in Wonthaggi and Leongatha to discuss decentralisation ideas.

Mr Smith and Mr O’Brien visited Wonthaggi at the invitation of Brian Paynter, Member for Bass, speaking to a diverse group of local business and community members.

“The population Policy Taskforce is working to ensure that we spread our growth around the state and not just around Melbourne,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Last year our population grew by 146,000 people but 92 per cent of that occurred in Melbourne and another five per cent in Geelong.

“Sadly the proportion of Victoria’s population living in country Victoria is falling and we need to reverse this decline.”

Mr Paynter said Bass Coast is a growth area with great opportunities but we need to improve local services and infrastructure to encourage more residents.

“First start is the Wonthaggi Secondary College and hospital which are my highest priorities, but there is a lot more to do.

“We got some great ideas from the Wonthaggi forum and I look forward to continuing to have input into the policy deliberations of the taskforce.”

Mr O’Brien and Mr Smith also met with South Gippsland Shire councillors in Leongatha discussing matters including health care, transport and planning.

Mr O’Brien said the taskforce will deliver a final report at the end of this year with policies to encourage decentralisation to be outlined ahead of next year’s state election.

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