Key partnership for rural councils

Article image - Key partnership for rural councils Cr David Edwards signs agreement with Victorian Planning Authority chief executive officer Stuart Moseley.

Victoria’s fastest growing rural councils have entered into a partnership with the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) to manage population growth across the region.

The exclusive partnership between the Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils (PUGRC) and the VPA signals the Victorian Government’s recognition of the strong population growth in the region and the challenges of maintaining liveability for existing and new residents.

The peri urban rural region is experiencing a population explosion, with growth rates higher than that of the regional cities of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

To 2031, the population across the peri urban region is predicted to grow by an average of 50.22 percent, in comparison to the regional cities with predicted growth of 39 percent.

Under the exclusive agreement, the VPA will work with the PUGRC councils on key land use planning and development opportunities across the peri urban rural region.

Chair of the Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils and Mayor of Moorabool Shire Council, David Edwards, said, “The Peri Urban region contains some of Victoria’s most highly regarded natural assets and productive agricultural areas, and these are being threatened by unchecked population growth and urbanisation.

“This partnership with the VPA will enable our region to work closely with Government to ensure better liveability, improved infrastructure outcomes and protection of our internationally recognised landscape and environmental assets.

“This means that we have a direct line of communication into government on planning matters, and how government perceives the development and growth demands on our region.

“This is an important step forward for the future of our communities. Having a formalised, strong and effective working relationship with government ensures our future.”

The Peri Urban Group of Rural Councils consists of Surf Coast, Bass Coast, Golden Plains, Baw Baw, Macedon Ranges and Moorabool Shire Councils.