ALBURY-Wodonga "absolutely" should be on a new list of "rapid growth" regional cities being compiled by the federal government for specific investment.
Regionalisation Minister Bridget McKenzie gave that response to The Border Mail on Friday after delivering a speech in Wodonga that outlined plans to foster expansion in country hubs.
"I have tasked my department to identify a group of regional cities that meet a defined set of criteria that could be future cities of rapid growth," she said.
Those conditions include having locations in every state and territory bar the ACT and the cities having a population between 25,000 and 250,000 and being at least 90 minutes from a capital city.
A further 14 factors would also be assessed, such as a digital links, economic self-sufficiency, housing affordability and availability, health services and drinking water supply.
Senator McKenzie told The Border Mail the Twin Cities "tick all the boxes".
She said the fast growth focus was in addition to the Regional Deals policy which has already seen Albury-Wodonga earmarked for federal funding as part of a pack with state governments.
"It actually builds on the Regional Deals," Senator McKenzie said.
"It's about finding targeted investment where you're going to actually get the most bang for your buck.
"It's about saying these second tier cities are not suburbs of capital cities, they are actually unique entities in and of themselves...(with) unique opportunities for growth."
Senator McKenzie hoped the cities would be identified before the pending federal election.
Business NSW Murray-Riverina regional manager Anthony McFarlane was among the audience at The Cube for the minister's speech.
He hoped the rapid city investment would "turbo charge" Albury-Wodonga's Regional Deal.
"I'd love to see it and it would provide that foundation for some solid growth into the future," Mr McFarlane said.
The Regional Deal's progress has been stalled by the Victorian government not fully committing.
Senator McKenzie said she was "ever hopeful" that Spring Street would ratify the package and hoped the state government was not waiting for the federal election to pass before making a commitment.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"The growth of prosperous, sustainable regions requires bipartisanship, because it cannot occur within an electoral cycle," she said.
Senator McKenzie's speech was hosted by the Regional Australia Institute and its chief executive Liz Ritchie, the former director of the Deniliquin Ute Muster.
She welcomed the oration, saying it was a turning point for regional areas and applauded the call for 50 per cent of Australia's population growth to be outside capital cities.
The institute is conducting a marketing campaign, Move to More, via billboards, radio and social media in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to encourage tree changes.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.