Flying squad program announcement welcomed
Rural Councils Victoria has welcomed today’s pledge that an elected Liberal Nationals government will restore the planning flying squads program.
On the final day of RCV’s Rural Summit at Lakes Entrance, Victorian National Party Leader Peter Walsh announced that, if elected at this year’s Victorian elections, the Council Planning Flying Squad program would be reinstated, taking pressure off Victoria’s rural and regional councils, which are under increasing pressure from rates capping, rising costs and skills shortages.
Mr Walsh, who is also Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation, said the flying squads would support the Liberal Nationals’ decentralisation plan to encourage business to expand, relocate and invest in regional Victoria.
In hearing the announcement RCV Chair Cr Rob Gersch said the news – which followed on the Liberal Nationas pledge to reinstate the Country Roads and Bridges Program – was welcomed.
“What the summit further reinforced is that rural councils are under increasing pressure to do more with limited funds and we welcome this announcement about the flying squad,” he said.
“We will be further lobbying for the Victorian Labor Party to make a similar announcement as we believe it is in the best interests of rural people.
“The flying squads bring in expert planners to help councils, who often have difficulty in recruiting and retaining planners to their Council staff.
“We are thrilled to hear this announcement today.”
Cr Gersch said the Summit, which was themed around the liveability of rural areas and what Councils would do to make them more attractive to people, was a great success and an opportunity to focus on the positive attributes they offer.