TOP of Regional Cities Victoria’s state budget wishlist is a planning study for each of its 10 member cities.
RCV has asked for $1 million to be distributed between its members — including Ballarat — to help prepare for projected population growth.
Its other priorities include $1 million over three years for an Industry Broker Program for regional cities, $1 million to match federal government funding for a regional cities marketing campaign and $500,000 over two years for a Digital Economy Plan.
Ballarat City Councillor Judy Verlin said it was significant 88 per cent of Victorians live in Melbourne and the RCV’s member cities of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
“I don’t think there is any more important time for Regional Cities Victoria to play an advocacy role,” Cr Verlin said.
“There has been a lot of debate of late over population growth and its effect on the regions.
“We have to understand there will be challenges in putting infrastructure in place ahead of development and growth.”
Councillor Craig Fletcher said it was vital Ballarat remained a member of the RCV.
“It is important Ballarat has a strong voice at the table,” Cr Fletcher said.
Ballarat’s current representatives at the RCV, which costs $10,000 annually, are Mayor Mark Harris and chief executive officer Anthony Schinck.
The RCV’s current key priority areas are planning for growth, improving broadband and information and communication technology, ensuring world-class public and freight transport networks and attracting a skilled workforce.