20 April 2012
The Nationals listen to local government
The City of Greater Bendigo Mayor, Councillor Alec Sandner has told the Shadow Minister for Local Government and Regional Development Senator Barnaby Joyce it needs federal government funds to progress plans for the Bendigo Airport redevelopment.
Representatives from the City of Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton City Council, Moira Shire Council, Loddon Shire Council, Gannawarra Shire Council, Mount Alexander Shire Council, and the Shire of Campaspe put their ideas and concerns to Senator Joyce and The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie.
The local government roundtable heard Bendigo’s aerodrome had passed its use-by date.
“It’s absolutely essential that we sit down and work out what are the important issues in a local area from local people,” Senator Joyce said.
“The strong message I got from the mayors is that they want more control over what is important in their local area.”
“Discussions centred on future growth, inequitable rates systems, the need for constitutional recognition and emergency response management following recent flood events in the state’s north-east,” Senator McKenzie said.
The Murray Darling Basin Plan also fuelled talks, with the Murray River Group of Councils, and the Campaspe and Gannawarra Shires taking the opportunity to hand their submissions to Senators Joyce and McKenzie.
“Councils want a greater focus on the outcome of the plan, rather than how Victoria is going to achieve the magic 2750 gigalitre target to return water to the Basin,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The message was clear: by taking the water, a key driver of this region’s economic development, the MDBP will ruin regional Victoria.”
Infrastructure development was a key issue for all councils present.
“Some councils felt regional Victoria was growing quicker than its metropolitan counterpart, yet it did not boast the appropriate public transport facilities to attract people from Melbourne to the regions,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Nationals are listening to regional Victoria and will work diligently to overturn the Gillard Government’s shortfalls in supporting local government.”