HORSHAM Rural City councillors want the federal government to support its ideas for new industries and employment opportunities in the region.
Councillors, at a meeting on September 23, noted a submission to the Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas inquiry.
The submission said Horsham would benefit from efforts to diversify the economy - aside from agricultural production - to build resilience.
"Horsham's role, as a regional city in the broader Wimmera, sees it well-placed to accommodate growth in public service industries such as health and education, as well as industries that develop more organically through an increase in population," the submission read.
The submission said key strategic economic development opportunities could include expanding Horsham's Central Activity District, developing tourism with a focus on food and wine, and more investment in renewable energy.
The submission said growing events and establishing a waste processing industry to help address Victoria's recycling challenges could be other economic growth opportunities for Horsham.
It also called on the state and federal governments to commit to improving transport connectivity to capital cities and major ports, and to returning passenger rail to Western Victoria.
Cr Pam Clarke said Horsham's unemployment rate was below the national average but attracting professionals such as doctors and lawyers remained a challenge.
"It is a huge issue trying to bring people here to come and live," she said.
Cr Les Power said the submissionnoted Horsham's population growth would average 0.5 per cent across the next 20 years.
"Hopefully this council, and future councils, can see how we can encourage other forms of employment other than relying purely on agriculture and mines," he said.
"We need to encompass the state and federal governments to look at us as a viable regional centre. We need to stand up and be counted. I think this is where we start saying, 'We want this' and really put some pressure on state and federal governments."
Cr David Grimble said it was important that governments showed action instead of "lip service".
"They talk about congestion in metro areas, and how we might alleviate this is change the dynamics of how major cities develop and put people out in the regions - but they're not really actioning what they talk about," he said.
"Governments need to own our problem."
The Senate established the inquiry on July 31. It aims to report on how governments can create new industries and employment opportunities and guide transitions to employment in regional areas.
Its final report is due on December 4.
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