Inquiry to probe Latrobe’s economic potential

Latrobe City’s contribution to the Australian economy will be thoroughly examined when an inquiry into regional cities gets underway.

Labelled the capital regional city of Gippsland, Latrobe City and its surrounding rural towns such as Sale and Leongatha will be looked at to determine the flow-on effects of business and populace growth.

Announced by the Senate this week, Regional Capitals Australia – an alliance of 26 regional cities including Latrobe – welcomed the inquiry and looked forward to the Federal Government formally recognising the economic contribution to society from rural and regional areas.

“We believe that every dollar spent in a regional city has a far greater benefit than is currently understood,” RCA chair Rod Kendall said.

“These cities offer an opportunity for Australia’s future development that is not well recognised or well supported by current government policy.”

Focusing on what has driven growth in Latrobe City and what is inhibiting it, Latrobe City mayor Dale Harriman said the inquiry showed the Federal Government was starting to take regional areas seriously.

“It’s almost like Melbourne is to Victoria what Latrobe City is to Gippsland, it provides that support network,” Councillor Harriman said.

“We tend to find there’s a big influx of workers into Latrobe Valley from the surrounding shires so obviously what happens to Latrobe City has a flow on effect to those surrounding shires.

“If they expect us to be taking on heaps more in the way of population then we need to have the services, such as health services, sporting clubs, road and public transport to be able to cater for those population increases.”