Case made for regional city deal for Shepparton

By Thomas Moir

Regional Capitals Australia has thrown its support for the case for a ‘‘regional city deal’’ for Shepparton.

In a statement, the organisation argued regional cities such as Shepparton should share in investment due to the city’s increased importance to ‘‘not only to the state, but also the region it serves’’.

The group characterises the city as offering alternatives for business and families to escape Melbourne’s congestion and cost of living, and as a regional hub, providing essential services and resources for those across the region.

The group cited Shepparton’s median house price of about $270000, low congestion and low commute times as evidence the city deserves such investment.

Regional city deals, like the previous ‘‘city deals’’, are described as bringing together all tiers of government to develop cities, identify ways to grow the regional economy.

Greater Shepparton City Council recently endorsed a city deal pitch document.

And while the council had been made aware of a slight change towards ‘‘regional deals’’, chief executive Peter Harriott said the Regional Capitals case supported the council’s lobbying efforts.

While Shepparton was not selected as one of the pilot projects identified, Mr Harriott believed there was an awareness Shepparton had deal ready to go.

‘‘We either want to be considered as a future pilot, or future deal,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve done as much work, if not more, than anyone else that’s received a city deal.

‘‘We’re ready to leverage off the investment from state government.

‘‘(We’re) now asking the Federal Government to partner on those projects and others, like the bypass, to deliver on our regional city deal.’’

Mr Harriott said the ‘‘next play’’ would be to go back to Canberra and further encourage decision-makers for support in an allocation for such a deal.