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New snapshop of Regional Victoria

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Long lives, beautiful country, safe and content communities, and healthy economies – a new report released by the Planning Minister, Rob Hulls, reveals many reasons why regional Victoria is the place to be.

“This snapshot shows that regional Victorians are more likely to volunteer, feel valued and safe, and take an active role in their communities than their city counterparts,” said Mr Hulls.

Regional Matters. An Atlas of Regional Victoria 2005 has been developed by the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

It features maps, charts and commentary on trends using information gathered from various sources, including each State Government department. The result is a comprehensive overview of important social, economic, demographic, environmental and recreational changes.

“This type of information is invaluable to Victoria’s policy and decision makers as we can clearly see which areas we are excelling in and which areas need more work,” Mr Hulls said.

“The diverse perspectives on various regional issues allow the Bracks Government to concentrate on the things that matter the most to regional Victoria.”

The first edition of the Regional Atlas, released in 2002, was used in policy development to ensure that funds were allocated to the areas and sectors most in need, as well as helping to inform strategic planning, research and communication.

“This whole-of-government approach ensures that regional Victoria continues to benefit from the best, most informed decisions regarding their communities.”

The 2005 edition is organised around eight themes: changing populations; community wellbeing; servicing communities; industry and skills; land and people; water in a dry land; coastal development, and energy choices. Statewide, it shows:

  • Young single men outnumber young single women in many regional areas. This has led to responses such as the Beaut Blokes program which aims to attract young single women from the city to rural areas in western Victoria.
  • Some regional centres such as Swan Hill and Colac are actively seeking overseas migrants to fill skills needs, while Warrnambool has also laid out the welcome mat to increase its cultural diversity.
  • The regional Victorian economy has become more diversified over the past decade in agriculture, manufacturing and service industries.
  • Specialised industry clusters have developed, such as surf manufacturing in Torquay, marine industry in Paynesville, and aviation in the Latrobe Valley.
  • While health indicators such as life expectancy are lower compared to Melbourne, quality of life indicators are higher, such as feeling valued, feeling safe and liking the community.
  • Residents in regional Victoria are more engaged with their community than their city counterparts, with more country people participating in decision-making boards, attending community events and parental involvement in schools.
  • Rates of volunteering are high in regional Victoria, especially in community, welfare and sporting activities. Volunteer emergency management organisations such as CFA and SES also depend greatly on volunteers in regional areas.

To obtain a copy of the Regional Atlas 2005 visit the website:


Written by Greg Naylor

18 April 2006 at 8:33 pm

Posted in media release

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