Alliance lobbies for regional cities

June 21, 2024 BY

Warrnambool CEO Andrew Mason, Geelong CEO Alison Wastie, Shepparton's CEO Fiona Le Gassick and mayor Shane Sali, Horsham mayor Robyn Gulline, Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan, Wodonga mayor Ron Mildren, Wangaratta mayor Dean Rees, Latrobe mayor Darren Howe, Latrobe CEO Steve Piasente, Wodonga CEO Matt Hyde, Warrnambool mayor Ben Blain, Horsham CEO Sunil Bhalla, and Mildura CEO Martin Hawson. Absent: Ballarat mayor Des Hudson.

MAYORS within Regional Cities Victoria met in Shepparton last week aiming to strengthen the connection and collective vision of the state’s ten biggest regional cities.

Alliance members are planning to work together in the long term to improve liveability, to lobby the State and Federal governments for major project funding, to prepare for growth, and achieve net zero emissions.

The group of mayors includes the City of Ballarat’s Cr Des Hudson and the City of Greater Bendigo’s Cr Andrea Metcalf alongside leaders from Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.

“Now more than ever, Victoria’s regional cities must be heard,” said RCV chair, Cr Shane Sali, also the mayor of the City of Greater Shepparton.

“We need considered investment to underpin our long-term economic prosperity and ensure we can maintain everything we love about living in our regional cities.

Tour: The mayors of Regional Cities Victoria took a look around Shepparton as part of their visit, guided by Cr Shane Sali, local mayor and chair of the alliance. Photos: SUPPLIED


“There is growing concern about a lack of future investment in community infrastructure and the services needed to accommodate the thousands of extra people coming to live in regional Victoria every year.

“We are committed to working with governments, on behalf of regional Victorians, to ensure our regional cities see the same kind of investment that Melbourne’s growth suburbs do.”

Priority areas of the RCV alliance include responding to housing shortages, catering to growing populations with infrastructure, and encouraging new industries into regional Victoria.

More-than 800,000 people live in the regional cities within the alliance and RCV mayors are aiming to get a good deal for their communities during next year’s Federal election period and in the 2026 State election.

A $600 million funding package for regional broadband and 5G mobile improvements has already been secured partially due to RCV alliance lobbying.

“Its advocacy has seen… the first ever Commonwealth contributions to essential utilities, to unlock new housing and make homes more affordable, investment in regional tourism and events, and the attraction of new businesses and jobs to regional cities,” a statement from RCV said.