The Rural and Regional Committee (‘the Committee’) is a Joint Investigatory Committee of the Parliament of Victoria. It was first established in 2007 and is preceded by the Rural and Regional Services and Development Committee. The Committee comprises seven Members of Parliament drawn from both Houses and all Parties. The Committee elects the Chair and is chaired by Mr Damian Drum MLC, Member for Northern Victoria. The members of the Rural and Regional Committee have long affiliations with rural and regional Victoria. They are all passionate about the need for government to continue to contribute to sustaining and developing rural and regional Victoria for the benefit of all Victorians, and to do so through extensive consultation with local people.
The Terms of Reference for the Rural and Regional Committee’s current Inquiry into Regional Centres of the Future were given to the Committee by the Legislative Assembly on 27 May 2008 under s33 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003.
According to the Terms of Reference the Committee was to inquire into, consider and report on measures to build on the current Government's investment in regional Victoria, through further development and enhancement of regional centres, focusing on the development of regional centres as places of economic, environmental, social and cultural innovation that enable regional Victoria to meet the challenge of predicted future population growth in this state, and, in particular, the Committee is required to report on: 1) measures that could be taken to encourage new and existing businesses, industries and government authorities to establish operations in regional centres; 2) the development of industrial land to support the economic base of regional centres; 3) the most effective investments in infrastructure to encourage business and industry development in regional centres, and to support and encourage further population growth in regional centres; 4) measures to promote strong social capital and high quality‐of‐life outcomes in growing regional centres; and 5) examples from other jurisdictions where promotion of population growth in regional centres has successfully occurred.
The Committee’s reporting date is 30 September 2009. The Committee advised the Minister for Regional and Rural Development that the Final Report would be tabled by the final sitting week of the 2009 Parliamentary session.