SOUTHERN Grampians Shire mayor Albert Calvano says Hamilton has a very important role to play in supporting freight movements and has called on state government support in today’s budget.
The council is also pushing for the government to stimulate population growth in regional areas through the budget, along with money for roads, increased transport options — including passenger rail between Ararat and Portland — health and education facilities, decentralisation of government services, tourism infrastructure and freight logistics.
“Places like Hamilton have a role to play in building the economy in regional Victoria,” Cr Calvano said.
“It and the small towns surrounding it have the community infrastructure to accommodate growth.”
Cr Calvano said for many years the state government had been promoting population growth in Melbourne and more recently its satellite provincial cities like Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong, assuming that this is good for Victoria as a whole. “The fact is, however, that many regional centres and towns face population decline as people move to these capital centres,” he said.
“A concerted effort to decentralise jobs would be welcome across the state.”
Cr Calvano said because Hamilton centred at the Henty, Hamilton and Glenelg Highway junction, the city had an important role to play in supporting freight movements.
“This junction connects the Great South Coast region to Ballarat, Geelong, Mt Gambier and South Australia and the north-western parts of Victoria, where considerable development is happening in mining of mineral sands processed in Hamilton,” he said.
“There are real opportunities for Hamilton to become a freight logistics centre that supports agriculture, mining and other industries and reduces logjams and bottlenecks in freight movements, linking to the ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne.
“Hamilton is perfectly situated to become a freight logistics hub in the south-west region and investment in freight can only help build jobs in the region.”