The Latrobe Valley would host a regional sitting of Parliament under a Liberal Nationals plan to get parliamentarians out of the city and into country Victoria.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh announced the commitment this week at the first sitting of State Parliament for 2018.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said it would be the first time Regional Parliament was held since 2012, after the Andrews Labor Government scrapped the program.
“For city Labor MPs, the Latrobe Valley is a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’,” Ms Bath told the Legislative Council.
“The Latrobe Valley continues to undergo massive challenges as a result of this government’s current policy agenda. Thousands of jobs were lost after Labor closed the Hazelwood power station and then restricted timber supply to sawmills.”
“Bringing parliament back to the valley will ensure all MPs recognise how this region has changed and why it is so important to restore a bright future to the Latrobe Valley.”
Mr Walsh said Daniel Andrews’ decision to scrap Regional Parliament was more proof he can’t see beyond Melbourne’s tram tracks.
“Daniel Andrews’ city-centric focus has denied our school children and communities in regional Victoria a chance to be part of Victoria’s democratic process,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals will put an end to the absolute contempt Labor has shown our country communities and make sure our regional communities can be part of the parliamentary process.”
The last regional sittings were held by the former Liberal Nationals government in 2012.
The commitment would see Mildura, Shepparton, Warrnambool and the Latrobe Valley host parliamentarians from one chamber of Parliament – either the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council – for one sitting week each.