My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Minister for Regional Cities, Dr Napthine, and concerns regional cities and regional centres. In 2010 the previous Labor government approved amendment VC71 to the state planning policy framework. This introduced regional Victoria’s settlement framework, which recognised Hamilton as a regional city and centre. This was done to ensure that the capacity of major infrastructure was not affected adversely.
It also provided for focusing major government and private sector investments in regional cities and centres on major transport corridors, particularly railway lines, in order to maximise access and mobility for commuters, and to provide adequate and competitive land supply, including urban regeneration, redevelopment and greenfield sites, and more effective utilisation of land.
The framework was also about strengthening settlements to ensure that retail and office-based employment and community facilities and services are concentrated in central locations. Hamilton fitted very nicely into all of this because it had excellent health services and educational opportunities as well as being the largest town in the shire of Southern Grampians.
At a recent Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing in May, Minister Napthine listed 10 regional cities he represents as Minister for Regional Cities. Hamilton was not included in this list. Being recognised as a regional centre, as Hamilton was under the Brumby Labor government, the town was in a strong position to attract government business into the shire as well as to attract significant commercial investment. Under the new government system, which excludes townships like Hamilton — and I should say Portland, which is in the minister’s own electorate — from representation in the regional cities portfolio, these towns will be significantly disadvantaged.
I ask the minister to take action and to explain to me and to the people of Hamilton and Portland why their regional centres have been locked out of the minister’s portfolio, resulting in these towns missing out on opportunities for funding.