Regional Victoria braces for population surge


Regional Victoria braces for population surge

MELBOURNE is set to grow and regional Victoria is feeling the pressure.
The Wonthaggi Rotary Club invited acting Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne Arron Wood to the Wonthaggi Club to deliver a presentation about regional Victoria’s role in the population boom recently.
Mr Wood said it is anticipated Melbourne would be home to 10 million people by 2050. As a result, the state needs to learn how to cope with demand by leaning on regional Victorian towns, such as Wonthaggi.
Mr Wood said farmers and local producers could play a role by showcasing their goods at the Queen Victoria Market. The redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market will double the size of the floor trading area.
“It would literally be farm to plate. We’d have producers from different regions in Victoria at Queen Vic Market, as well as the boutique industries like cheeses, wines, top shelf beef and dairy,” he said.
“The other thing we need to do is use the needs of the capital city to drive regional development.”
Mr Wood said he initiated a project called the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project. With 14 organisations including the City of Melbourne, Melbourne University, RMIT, NAB, and the Melbourne Convention Centre Bureau, electricity requirements were pooled.
“We went out to market for a renewable energy plan. It was a tender that was Australia wide, but it was weighted towards Victoria. It was won by a wind farm in Ararat. That wind farm will be developed by Pacific Hydro and we will turn the sod in the next few weeks,” Mr Wood said.
“It’s taken the electricity needs of the city and driven more jobs in regional Victoria. About 140 jobs will be created during the construction phase and I want to see Melbourne doing more of that.”
Mr Wood said transport would have to be looked at, specifically freight and the way it moves across the state, interstate and internationally.
“Growing up in a country town, we look to our capital city. We love going there and watching the footy or whatever it might be, but at the same time we expect development in regional Victoria too. Sometimes we get a bit forgotten,” he said.
Mr Wood tied his environmental program into his presentation. The program – Kids Teaching Kids – has been running for almost 20 years.
Public schools across Australia – including South Gippsland schools – have used the program in that time.
“What we do is, we ask the students to choose an environmental topic. It could be sustainable agriculture, it could be marine health, any sort of issue,” Mr Wood said.
“We then link them to an expert industry mentor in their chosen topic and we work with them over term three, and they have to present their workshop to their peers at the end. It’s about driving action.
“Right across Australia, it has led to lots of practical projects like waste being taken out of waterway, and trees being replanted; all sorts of really good on the ground outcomes, driven by young people.”
The program has also been picked up by South Korea and New Zealand.
The program can be found at It’s free to participate and grants are available.

Interesting conversation: Wonthaggi Rotary Club incoming president Graeme Sprague (left) and outgoing president Ashley Lamers welcomed acting Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne Arron Wood to Wonthaggi recently. Mr Wood posed the question “is Melbourne ready for 10 million people?” to people at the evening.

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Posted by on Mar 14 2018. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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