Budget wish-list for urban fringe councils


Peri Urban Councils Victoria (PUCV) has made a pitch to the federal government for a bigger slice of the federal funding pie to avoid playing catch-up on essential community infrastructure.

PUCV is an advocacy group made up of representatives from different shire councils that interface metropolitan Melbourne and Victoria’s largest regional cities including Moorabool.

Moorabool councillor Moira Berry is a current member and former chair.

Last week, PUCV board members traversed the halls of Canberra, meeting with ministers, opposition ministers and local members of parliament to press the case for increased investment in the fast-growing fringe regions.

PUCV chair, councillor Michael Leaney, said the peri urban region has a huge role to play in delivering solutions to Australia’s deepening housing crisis.

“However we need the enabling infrastructure to keep pace with growth,” he said.

“Our roads are already clogged by 66,000 residents commuting to employment outside the region, plus we accommodate 10.5 million tourist visitors per year.”

The peri urban councils adjacent to Melbourne and Geelong are some of the fastest growing in the country, with a population that is expected to increase by more than 30 per cent by 2036.

The submission 2024-25 makes the case that peri urban regions require critical investment in enabling infrastructure that is beyond the capacity of local government in a rate capped environment.

It calls for specific investment in civic and cultural infrastructure, job creation, digital connectivity and transport connectivity.

Cr Leaney said because peri urban councils are on the doorstep of both metro Melbourne and Victoria’s largest regional cities people rightfully expect a high standard of infrastructure and services, for both work and play.

“Now is the time to learn from the mistakes of the past, and make sure the infrastructure investment matches the projected urban growth,” he said.

Moorabool council chief executive Derek Madden said the submission advocates for issues that unite all peri-urban councils.

“The PUCV is focused on issues and projects across all peri-urban councils so the submission focussed on roads in particular. We are very keen to ensure Moorabool Shire receives its share of funding to improve our road network,” he said.