Investment in strategic infrastructure is a key priority of Victorian Chamber’s Victoria Summit 2015 – Regional Victoria, opened today (14 August 2015) in Bendigo with a focus on strengthening regional business competitiveness, employment, trade and investment.
"Continuing hard and soft infrastructure investment is key to long-term regional growth and must be delivered as part of an integrated regional approach," said Chief Executive Mark Stone.
"Infrastructure must not only tackle short-term gaps and push-forward existing ‘investment ready’ projects, but provide ‘future-proofing’ to enable our regions to meet their trade and commerce potential in years to come."
Victorian Chamber’s Victoria Summit 2015 policy paper, Regional Victoria Means Business, contains a number of recommendations to support regional infrastructure including:
- Progress major regional investments by creating a one stop shop for local and state government regulatory approvals to reduce costs and delays
- Accelerate the NBN rollout in regional Victoria and ensure it strategically prioritises areas where upgraded internet access will provide the greatest benefit to local economies
- Improve mobile and Wi-Fi services on V/Line trains
- Encourage further unsolicited bids from the private sector to enhance the pipeline of regional infrastructure projects
- Identify state owned assets in regional Victoria, such as under utilised land, which could be sold, leased or privatised to raise capital to reinvest in new projects
- Investigate the scope to further decentralise key state government departments or agencies to regional locations in order to improve regional stakeholder access to these agencies and support regional employment opportunities. Implement a 5-10 year reform timetable
- Provide $2 million in funding to deliver regional small business training on how to access government procurement, covering how to prequalify, where to find out about tenders, practical advice on how to form joint ventures and introductions to key procurement officers within government agencies.
Other priority areas addressed at the Victorian Chamber Victoria Summit 2015 include:
- Supporting regional small business
- Supporting regional leadership and deepening global business connections
- Strengthening regional skills, education and training
- Accelerating regional land-use and new business investment opportunities
- Growing regional Victoria through tourism and events; and
- Strengthening regional service delivery and enhancing regional business decision making.
Priority projects by region have also been identified.
The Victoria Summit recommendations will form the basis of Victorian Chamber’s regional business agenda into 2016 and beyond, including for Victorian Chamber’s 2016-17 state budget submission and the next federal election.
"We cannot expect Victoria’s economic performance to be strong without vibrant, outward looking and competitive regional business," said Mr Stone.