Nats plan to deal with rapidly growing Bass Coast

The Nationals have announced a new plan to address housing shortages and help deal with the rapid growth in the Bass Coast Shire said local upper house MP, Melina Bath.

Known as the ‘flying planning squad’, the Nationals plan is to fast track planning approvals for rapidly growing regional communities like Bass Coast and West Gippsland.

The new policy to address housing shortages in regional Victoria was launched by Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh at the party’s state conference which was held in Wonthaggi recently.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said she had, earlier in the month, met with the Mayor of Bass Coast, Brett Tessari who outlined the planning and development challenges being experienced in Phillip Island, Wonthaggi and Inverloch.

“The influx of home buyers and renters in Bass Coast has sent house prices soaring, while rental vacancy rates have plummeted,” said Ms Bath.

“Victoria’s lockdowns are seeing more Victorians make the move out of Melbourne.

“City goers have discovered Gippsland is a fabulous place to work, live and raise a family, and not only holiday or day visit.

“The benefit of space and the possibility of a sea or tree change has made Bass Coast incredibly attractive, fuelling the demand for land and additional housing.

“Regional councils like Bass Coast require additional funding, resources and skillsets to fast-track land developments in order to meet this demand.”

The Nationals plan will open 50,000 new lots of land in rural and regional communities by allocating $5 million to establish a new ‘flying planning squad’ to assist in speeding up and simplifying the planning approvals process.

Ms Bath said the Wonthaggi North East Precinct which is a Bass Coast Shire Council priority project would benefit from The Nationals initiative.

“Bass Coast is one the fastest growing communities in Victoria and it is certainly experiencing the housing squeeze.

“Council is seeking to double the size of Wonthaggi through the development of 450 hectares of residential land and 61 hectares of industrial land – this will require significant planning resources.

“The Nationals support the Wonthaggi North East Project, and it is critically important that the project doesn’t drown in bureaucracy and red tape, which is where the flying planning squad would assist.

“The growth of regional communities and regionalisation of Victoria is vital, so we become a state of cities and not a city state,” Ms Bath said.