Rural councils have put the pressure on the Victorian government to dish out the money in the upcoming budget.
Regional Cities Victoria this week called on almost $1.5 million dollars to be allocated to growing regional Victoria’s population and economy.
Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie took on the role of RCV deputy chairwoman in mid-February in the hope she could help raise the profile of regional Victoria and influence the government’s decisions.
RCV’s biggest request for the 2016-17 budget was for $1.1m for a campaign to replace the Regional Victoria Living Expo, which was dumped in December.
The group also asked for $125,000 to research critical infrastructure for cities, $100,000 to identify emerging industries for government spend on training and $100,000 to leverage sister-city relationships.
Cr Speedie said creating infrastructure was vital to growing Wodonga’s population.
“Regional cities need the opportunity to get in front of those looking to live or invest outside of the capital cities,” she said.
“We want to ensure our young people have opportunities in education and training close to home.”
The council identified Wodonga could double its population within 25 years, allowing for growth around the Leneva-Baranduda corridor.
“Wodonga is the fastest-growing city in the Regional Cities Victoria group and we continue to develop and deliver on our community's aspirations for their city,” Cr Speedie said.
“We have a high proportion of young families and our high standard of living, quality assets and continued investment in the region which brings an economic and jobs boost makes this a great place to live.”
RCV chairman and Bendigo mayor Rod Fyffe said a campaign was needed in 2016 to attract population away from Melbourne and into rural cities.
“RCV’s member cities are in the best position to lead a new-look regional living campaign because of our intimate knowledge of the key drivers of population attraction,” he said.
“We can bring together local businesses, community leaders and neighbouring rural communities to drive the campaign and showcase what regional Victoria has to offer.”
The government was expected to hand down the Victorian budget in May.