Each region of Victoria has its own strengths, opportunities and challenges. At Infrastructure Victoria, we know infrastructure solutions must meet local needs and support diverse communities.
Realising regional Victoria’s economic potential
Regional and rural Victoria play a vital role in the Victorian economy. These areas make up nearly 20% of the state's economy and produce a third of its exports. Businesses in regional Victoria need help to connect with customers and markets, become more resilient and unlock their growth potential.
Strengthening regional communities
Population growth and decline, demographic changes, increasing urbanisation and climate change are playing out in different ways across regions. Regional Victoria also has more people in need of health and social services compared to Melbourne. Fit for purpose infrastructure that meets local needs and addresses relative disadvantage can help foster community wellbeing. It can also improve health, education and community belonging.
Improving connectivity to overcome distance
Regional Victoria has relatively dispersed populations and great distances between them. It is not always possible to provide the same range and diversity of services available in metropolitan areas. Infrastructure can support innovative solutions to connect people to jobs and services outside their local area.
Within 2 years, specify clear levels of service for each type of regional road and bridge. Following this, dedicate a 10-year funding program to sustainably fund Victorian Government regional road and bridge maintenance and upgrades to meet these service levels. Funding should be prioritised based on improving safety, decreasing vehicle emissions, and lifting productivity.
In the next year, fund a 30-year periodic regional freight rail maintenance program, informed by a publicly available network development and asset management plan. Using the plan, thoroughly determine the feasibility of the next major regional freight upgrade within 5 years.
In the next 2 years, develop a Victorian nature-based tourism strategy to guide industry development and prioritise further investments. During the next 15 years, support regional tourism investment by allowing more site-specific leases for up to 49 years for infrastructure proposals that meet strict criteria and complement environmental and cultural values.
Support and partner with Aboriginal communities in the next 2 years to guide future investments in Aboriginal tourism and cultural heritage, including through Joint Management Plans.
In the next 5 years, redesign existing regional transport services so they are integrated, based on regional needs assessments, and sustainably funded. Use significant technological and reform opportunities to deliver innovative service models that meet local needs.
In the next 5 years, continue delivering regional digital connectivity improvements, and monitor and review the need for further government investment following the rollout of the Digital Future Now initiative.
In the next 5 years, develop more resilient regional telecommunications infrastructure so communities can stay safe during emergencies, including better mobile coverage, back-up systems and power supply, and emergency mobile roaming.
In the next year, start a 5-year funding program for libraries in regional towns and rural areas to improve community access to fast, free internet services, leveraging existing library infrastructure.
In the next year, start regional planning for social services to identify opportunities for multipurpose shared services facilities, then deliver them where appropriate, over the next 5 years, in partnership with local governments and community organisations.
In the next 5 years, fund local governments to plan and help deliver a network of designated, accessible climate-adapted community facilities, to manage the health impacts of extreme heat and bushfire smoke.