THE Regional Australia Institute has called for a campaign to promote the opportunities of living in regional Australia, and help drive a population shift in coming decades.
The RAI's call follows the release of its report called Regional Population Growth: Are we ready?
Northern Grampians Shire Mayor Kevin Erwin welcomed the report as council sharpens its focus to attract more people to settle within the region.
Read more: Stawell tops Wimmera for house price growth
The council stated that population growth is a key area of focus, with an estimated 1000 new jobs coming to the region in the next five years.
Some of the major projects include the Bulgana Green Power Hub, Nectar Farms, Stawell Gold Mine and the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory among others.
The council also stated it remains confident that it can attract developers to create sorely needed additional housing to the area, through a new housing development in Sloane Street, Stawell to support these employment opportunities. The development would create between 60 and 110 dwellings.
"I think the report is fantastic and really brings to light why it's so important to start getting people moving out to regional and rural areas," Cr Erwin said. "We couldn't be more supportive of RAI's recommendations, and we're hoping the governments are, too, so that they can help encourage families to relocate to regions such as ours."
Cr Erwin is also chairman of the Wimmera Development Association board, and acknowledged the housing shortage was a problem.
"Of course we have to sort out the housing problem," he said. "Recently Frewstal Abattoirs have been paying for motel rooms for their staff because there's nowhere in town to rent."
RAI co-chief executive Kim Houghton said a successful strategy involved considering who would most likely move to an area such as the Wimmera.
"It's very much a matchmaking process. Once you have job vacancies, you have to find people attracted to them," he said.
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