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Published Wednesday 10 June 2020

We need to grow our suburbs

Changes to the State Government Growing Suburbs Fund could have significant impacts on Mitchell Shire Council’s growth.

As the State’s fastest growing Local Government Area, more Victorians are wanting to call Michell Shire home. To meet that growth and to provide a high standard quality of life there must be a strong partnership between all levels of government.

The State Government announced this week $25 million for the Growing Suburbs Fund, but it now appears the total funding available through the initiative is just $25 million - half of what was previously shared between the ten Interface Councils and, this year, will include a further six Peri-Urban Councils.

While Mitchell Shire Council welcomes all support from the Victorian Government, it, along with the other nine Interface councils, will wait with bated breath for the October State Budget to see if more funding will be offered.

The Growing Suburbs Fund helps stimulate the economy by creating jobs and that delivers for individuals and families by reducing levels of disadvantage. It increases community engagement, supports mental wellbeing and improves access to health infrastructure services. At a time like this, Interface Councils believe the GSF will provide essential support for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable people.

This has been a lifeline for Mitchell, our partnership with the State Government has been instrumental with a number of key projects including fast tracking a Youth Wellbeing Hub in Wallan and the Sydney Street Kilmore Rejuvenation project. It has also supported a number of playgrounds across the Shire and the soon to be constructed Early Years Hub in Wallan East.

Without the State Government’s support through this fund, these projects may not have happened.

There has been an oversubscription to the GSF’s priority project funding round every year, which shows the willingness of Councils to financially commit to these important community projects.

Council is hopeful the upcoming budget will include another Growing Suburbs Fund announcement and provide additional assistance to people currently living in rapidly growing outer suburban areas without the adequate infrastructure or support.

Comments from Mayor David Lowe

“Our partnership with the Victorian Government has provided more than $18 million funding into our shire for critical infrastructure needs through the Growing Suburbs Fund,” he said.

“It is an extremely important program which provides our Council with additional financial assistance to meet the needs of the state’s fastest growing community.

“Council has a solid track record of successfully delivering projects funded through this program including the Community Bank Adventure Playground at Wallan, the Broadford Youth Room, the Wallan Family and Children’s Centre, Hudson Park Play space and Moore Court play space at Kilmore, the Broadford Living and Learning Centre Upgrade, the Wallan Town Heart redevelopment and the Greater Beveridge Community Centre.

“We acknowledge that the present financial climate is difficult for all levels of Government, but the reality is that people want to call Mitchell Shire home. This funding is vital while we grow to support our amenity, liveability and resilience of our wonderful communities.

“Construction projects like those supported through the GSF also provide vital economic stimulus and support our local economy and jobs as well as the wider state recovery.

“Decisions like these will have longer term impacts on Council’s ability to deliver infrastructure and services.”

This page was last updated on 12 June 2020.