THE Victorian premier says he will put a massive focus on regional cities at next week’sCouncil of Australian Governments meeting.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will sit down with premiers and chief ministers for the meeting which is expected to cover a wide range of topics.
However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he will be making it clear to the PM that a focus on onlycapital cities will not be acceptable.
While Mr Turnbull has putcities on the agenda appointingJamie Briggs in the new role of the Minister for Cities, Mr Andrews said it was important the focuswas not just on Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra as part of the role.
“I will be making sure, at the COAG meeting, that the prime minister and government understandthat it is not good enough to have a capital city agenda,”Mr Andrewssaid.
“So whether it is Ballarat or Bendigo or Geelong or smaller regional centres like Shepparton, we need to make sure the national government is not just about Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra it needs to be about supporting regional cities to grow with the services, job opportunities and facilities that they need.”
Despite the two-daymeeting expectingto have a major focus on tax reform, in particular the GST, Mr Andrews said it was important that regional cities were not forgotten in the discussion,.
“Whether it is infrastructure, education orhealth, it is not just acapital city agenda, it has to include regional cities,” he said.
“I intend to make sure when we resolve a way forward for a new economic dialogue about the way we are going to work together to grow jobs and opportunities, it won’tjust be capital cities, it has got to include regional cities.
“That will be my presentation, that is the position ofthe Victoriangovernment.
“That is not negotiable as far as the Victorian government is concerned.”
The draft copy of the COAG agenda was sent to state premiers andlists”a new dialogue for economic reform” as the first item of business meaning the meetings will be centred on this topic.
Reducing the incidence ofdomestic violence, tackling ice addiction, the federation white paper, countering violent extremism and Indigenous economic development are the other five items listed for the two-day meeting.
The COAG meetings will be held on Thursday and Friday.
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