COVID-19 demonstrates the need for regional designation for the Mornington Peninsula.
Yesterday’s announcement that the Mornington Peninsula would be placed into lockdown, but not Geelong, is yet another example of the disparity of those who have regional designation and those that don’t.
CfMP board member, Shannon Smit said, “Whilst the CfMP acknowledge the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic from a health perspective, it is very confusing to industry on the Peninsula that we are included as metropolitan Melbourne, yet Geelong isn’t. And the Premier took the option to include one Regional Shire, the Mitchell Shire in the lockdown. Greater Geelong has a population of 252,000 and is 79km from Melbourne CBD and the Mornington Peninsula population is 165,800 and is 70km from the CBD, so it doesn’t appear that the rules are being applied fairly.”
The formal designation of the Mornington Peninsula as a ‘region’ rather than a metropolitan community is a priority pillar of the Committee for Mornington Peninsula (CfMP). Regional Victoria has access to a wide range of Victorian Government initiatives through agencies such as Regional Development Victoria. These include reductions in payroll tax, land tax, and access to the $500m Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund to assist overcoming the challenges that come with living and working outside of urban areas. Although regional by nature, the entire Mornington Peninsula forms part of Metropolitan Melbourne. This mean Mornington Peninsula residents and businesses face all the challenges of a regional community, without access to crucial funding and support received by other regional areas.
Shannon said that the Committee believed the designation of the Peninsula as ‘regional’ would open up many opportunities currently denied to this community.
“We keep hearing time and time again that local employment, access to education and services and the opportunity for local businesses to compete, is being hindered by the Mornington Peninsula being lumped in with metropolitan Melbourne. Not being designated ‘regional’ is harming our capacity to provide meaningful jobs, ensure reasonable access to post-secondary education opportunities and to secure Government support for key services, project funding and government program eligibility. Geelong is 75 kilometres from the CBD and Greater Geelong has a population of 252,000 and has regional designation, yet Mornington which is 70km from the CBD and the Mornington Peninsula has a population of 165,000 doesn’t have regional designation.”
“The ABS has assigned the Mornington Peninsula as Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4s). SA4s are specifically designed for the output of Labour Force Survey data and reflect labour markets within each State and Territory within the population limits imposed by the Labour Force Survey sample. Most SA4s have a population above 100,000 persons to provide sufficient sample size for Labour Force estimates. In regional areas, SA4s tend to have lower populations (100,000 to 300,000). In metropolitan areas, the SA4s tend to have larger populations (300,000 to 500,000). The population of the Mornington Peninsula is approximately 165,000, so by definition is considered a regional SA4s by the ABS.
Shannon said “It is an anomaly that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recognises the Mornington Peninsula as regional, yet in Victoria the region is not considered regional. This means that Local businesses pay twice the rate of payroll tax and more stamp duty on property purchased for business investment than the same business would pay on the Bellarine Peninsula and other regions outside the metropolitan area.
Why? Those communities are said to be ‘regional’ and we are not?”
“Recently the Victorian government opened up the Growing Suburbs Fund to include six councils who are designated regional, when previously the Fund was only available to Melbourne’s ten interface councils including the Mornington Peninsula. This eats further into the funding pie available to the Mornington Peninsula.”
“When we are all trying to increase quality employment and sustainable economic opportunities, we run into the fact that it costs more to employ people and invest in new business projects here than in competitor locations. There is no sensible justification or reason to make it harder for our local businesses to succeed and am employ local people, and going by the response C4MP is receiving, lots of people agree with us.”
The CfMP are currently conducting a survey of local issues, and of the 125 responses to date 92% support a push for the Mornington Peninsula to become regional.
Shannon said “In the coming weeks the CfMP will be seeking to meet with all levels of government to present a case for a change in the status of the Mornington Peninsula.”
How can you help?
We welcome you to get involved in supporting our advocacy and research into the Mornington Peninsula becoming a region.
We understand from members that being Metro impacts them on a business, personal and health level in relation to support provided, services and other opportunities available to them.
We encourage you to contact your local member of Parliament to raise your concerns on how not being regional is impacting you on a business, personal or health level.
Details of Local Members of Parliament:
David Morris- Member for Mornington
Chris Brayne – Member for Nepean
Neale Burgess- Member for Hastings
Greg Hunt – Member for Flinders
Peta Murphy- Member for Dunkley
Press release supplied by Committee for Mornington Peninsula
Want to get involved? Contact Alina Hinton-Tooley – Executive Officer