Time to lure Melburnians

September 12, 2017

Greater Shepparton is below the state average for high salary earners.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, high salary earners are in shorter supply in regional areas like Shepparton than the Victorian average.

According to last year’s Census data, little more than one per cent of people aged over 15 in Greater Shepparton earn more than $3000 a week. Comparatively, an average of three per cent earnt the same amount across the state.

Sixty-five per cent of last year’s Census respondents in Greater Shepparton earn up to $1000 a week, according to the .id economics’ analysis of Census data.

So what is the value of having high salaries available in the region? Basic trickle down economics would suggest the main goal is to generate more disposable income circulating through retail centres, food and cafe precincts, and in leisure activities locally. This is clearly of value.

But as Committee for Greater Shepparton chief Sam Birrell has stressed in today’s News, there is more to the discussion around average weekly salaries than bringing higher paid roles into the region just to improve spending. It is also about ensuring businesses and government place senior management roles in the regions to ensure the regions are heard.

Better decisions are surely made by those on the ground, who understand the issues and the opportunity available, in regional areas and further afield. The decentralisation discussion — the push to ensure Federal Government agencies like-minded to regions are relocated to those regions — has been less noisy lately than it was earlier in the year. But the value of doing so has gone nowhere.

Perhaps as connectivity with Melbourne improves and a city like Shepparton has the chance to benefit from the overheated property market in Melbourne, the lifestyle advantages in the Goulburn Valley can be spruiked as a highly valid reason to move here. But ensuring top-quality facilities are available in the region is also relevant.

Mr Birrell suggests Victoria could use its five largest regional centres. Surely by developing regional cities located relatively close to Melbourne, the city, too, will benefit in being relieved of population pressures looming over the next decade.

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