Ripon MP: Victoria needs to discover the benefits of living in Ararat and Stawell region | Opinion

Stawell and Ararat are great places to live; this is a secret that the rest of the state must be let in on if we are going to attract more residents.

Our region is home to open spaces, wonderful people, beautiful countryside, great wineries restaurants and pubs, affordable real estate and the Grampians on our doorstep.

On the other hand, Melbourne is growing every day, people are being priced out, and its infrastructure can’t keep up.

Millions of new residents to Victoria continue to cram into Melbourne. 

It’s not sustainable.

We need to work on making a plan to grow the opportunities available in Stawell and Ararat and market our region as an attractive location for these people.

That’s why I recently invited Tim Smith MP Chair of the Victorian Population Task Force to speak at a population forum in Ararat.

The forum looked at the problems facing our state over the next few decades with an imbalance of growth focused on Melbourne’s and looked at ways Ararat and Stawell could take on some of that growth.

It was a great chance for stakeholders to share their thoughts on what is needed locally to attract more people to our part of the state.

Ideas discussed included attracting more employers, improving transport, and developing more infrastructure to cater for this extra growth.

Under Daniel Andrew’s most of Victoria’s development has been focused on the city of Melbourne, regional Victoria has is being left behind.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy acknowledged this when he asked Tim to form this taskforce and come up with a plan to grow Regional Victoria.

We need to make sure our local infrastructure is ready though, and roads will be a huge part of that.

It was very disappointing to hear of Daniel Andrews’ plan to enforce a 70km speed limit on deteriorating country roads.

This is a frank admission by the Andrews Government that they are not up to the task of maintaining our roads to a safe level, this is not surprising given that they axed the Country Roads and Bridges program upon being elected.

Enforcing slower speed limits on broken down roads is a cop out, if you would want to make our roads safer then fix the roads.

Louise Staley is the state Ripon MP