Entitled, "Growing Regional Victoria," the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is pushing yet more growth in infrastructure and housing on regional Victoria, with the accompanying short-term jobs and destruction of environment, space, and biodiversity. Anyone travelling through regional Victoria (and almost any Australian state) will notice the drab housing estates with their ever meaner lots and devegetated surrounds, wedging miscellaneous drifts of precarious humans desperate for accommodation, into pleasant country towns: raising costs, interrupting democracy. The VCCI just promises more of the same tragedy. A few will profit enormously. The rest of us will pay. The way the industry promotes its plans is pretty indicative of how confidently it expects to influence government. In fact, most state governments in Australia, and Victoria's certainly, are little more than property development finance corporations. See inside for the details of the VCCI's predictable plans.
The picture on the right is from "Victoria's regional cities are growing outwards but many question whether the sprawl is sustainable," by Christopher Testa and Rhiannon Stevens, ABC Ballarat, 26 February 2022. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-26/ballarat-population-growth-housing-developments-sprawl/100854260 That article describes a resident moving out of Ballarat because, "What were paddocks and forest are now house rooftops."
The article, like most mainstream articles, sort of wrings its hands, but does not address why people are forced onto the regions. All government and private policies aim to drive up demand for housing. Demand is being driven up by mass migration, manipulation of interest rates, and other policies (like rate increases and unemployment) that cause people to capitalise on their city properties and move to the country. Developer lobbies will tell you that people need housing, so the industry kindly creates it, but the industry drives the whole thing, and unfortunately, all Australian governments are now in cahoots. That is why we say that these policies undermine democracy and engineer dystopia. Australians cannot bring themselves to believe that they may live in cities of 10 million within 50 years, cities that will look like those huge Chinese ones. Unfortunately, the property development and finance industry sees such cities as normal now, along with water and energy poverty.
The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has released a 2022 State Election Regional Platform, Growing Regional Victoria.
It follows extensive consultation with businesses across Regional Victoria, including roundtable meetings, focus groups and member surveys ahead of the State Election on November 26.
As Victoria’s peak business body representing 50,000 members and clients, the Victorian Chamber has made 17 recommendations to help grow Regional Victoria, including:
- Creating a housing development scheme to expand housing supply and planning in Regional Victoria
- Funding a targeted, industry-led `Work in the Regions’ initiative to encourage new regional Victorian and young people to work in industries with labour shortages
- Creating an Agriculture Passport to allow seasonal employees to work across growers and farms
- Increasing the payroll tax threshold from $700,000 to $1.2 million across Victoria and decrease the rate from 1.21 per cent to zero in Regional Victoria to make it more attractive for business investment
- Developing a 10-year experience economy strategy focused on tourism and events that will attract visitors to Regional Victoria ahead of the 2026 Commonwealth Games
- Building a Regional Victorian Manufacturing Strategy and Fund to boost Victoria’s local manufacturing industry and capabilities
- Commissioning a state-wide review of local content procurement processes in collaboration with the State Government and at least six regional councils to drive regional business growth
Growing Regional Victoria is one of the four key pillars of the Victorian Chamber’s State Election Platform: Powering Victoria’s Future. The other pillars are Strengthening Victoria’s Jobs and Skills, Building Victoria as the best state to operate a business and Driving Victoria’s economy.
To view Growing Regional Victoria, email the media team at [email protected]
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra says:
“Regional Victoria is the lifeblood of Victoria’s economy and its growth will play a key role in powering Victoria’s future.
“Our regions are home to one in four Victorians and account for 700,000 jobs and almost 40 per cent of the state’s small businesses. Victoria is also Australia’s biggest food producer and in 2026 will host the first truly regional Commonwealth Games.
“Generating $72 billion annually and contributing nearly 20 per cent to Victoria’s economy, Regional Victoria also provides a third of the state’s total exports, and it’s crucial that we empower our regions to continue to grow and innovate.
“For Victoria’s regions to prosper we need to invest in infrastructure, transport and housing and ensure we are developing a skilled workforce for the future.”