Population growth indicates region ready for decentralisation
Recent Census data indicates Greater Bendigo’s population is ready to welcome decentralisation of government agencies, according to Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke.
Between 2011 and 2016, Greater Bendigo’s population grew by 8.4 per cent, meaning the local population has increased by nearly 10,000 people in that time.
Cr O’Rourke said Council was anticipating a population of 200,000 people by 2050 and was actively looking to grow its population.
“Decentralisation isn’t a dirty word, it makes logical sense. As our region grows, Greater Bendigo will need to be able to diversify its employment offerings,” Cr O’Rourke said.
“There are over 11,000 workers employed in the centre of Bendigo and initial research suggests upwards of 20,000 in the broader area. This represents one of Victoria’s highest concentrations of diverse employment, much of it in high-end employment categories.
“Melbourne is forecast to reach 8 million people by 2050 but the rat race isn’t for everyone.
“Our capital city is growing faster than infrastructure can be developed, which means people living on Melbourne’s outskirts are reliant on their cars and spend hours in traffic to get from A to B.
“Housing affordability, a strong, diverse local economy, a range of education providers, Australia’s best regional art gallery, premier health facilities, no traffic and a beautiful natural environment make Greater Bendigo a very attractive place to live.
“We are growing and improving our public transport network, which complements our goal of creating 10 minute neighbourhoods and having people living close to their daily needs or a bus or train stop.
“Surrounding municipalities also have much to offer, with central Bendigo then acting as a hub to provide services.
“Greater Bendigo and the wider central Victorian region are ready for decentralisation. There is $1M in the State Budget to investigate developing a government customer service hub in central Bendigo, work which would be facilitated by Regional Development Victoria, and Council is ready to discuss how to make this project a reality for our region.
“A ‘gov hub’ would also support Regional Development Victoria’s new promotional campaign ‘Ready when you are’, which is designed to attract people to live in regional areas. The State Government has said that research shows the key attractors to relocation are affordable housing, education, health and lifestyle – with key drivers being family, social connections and employment. Greater Bendigo is able to deliver on these important attractors in spades.
“A ‘gov hub’ would be another feather in our cap for our modern, attractive city and region, and contribute greatly to our liveability, economy and aim for population growth.”