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Monday, 25 August 1997
Page: 6778

Mr REID(10.34 p.m.) —I want to tell the House of three good news stories which appeared in my local media recently. On 22 August the Bendigo Advertiser reported that Bendigo's population increase in five years has surpassed the combined growth of both Geelong and Ballarat. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures based on the 1996 Census data show that the City of Greater Bendigo population between 1991 and 1996 increased by 3,786 persons, beating the combined increase of 3,473 for Geelong and Ballarat. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Information Services Manager, Paul Kennedy, indicated that the city of Greater Bendigo population was 84,593 compared with 80,807 in 1991. The figures showed that Bendigo's annual growth rate of 0.9 per cent was the second highest in Victoria.

On the following day in the Bendigo Advertiser there was an article entitled `New home boom'. It read:

New home building approvals in Greater Bendigo jumped almost 50 per cent in a year, surpassing by massive margins the state and metropolitan Melbourne growths.

It further reported that:

. . . building approvals for 470 new private homes were given in Greater Bendigo in the 1996-97 financial year.

This was a 49.2 per cent rise on 1995-96 . . .

It also quoted Housing Industry Association economist Tony Medic as follows:

Mr Medic said $44.5 million was spent in the last financial year on building new homes in Greater Bendigo compared to $30 million in 1995-96, while $77 million was spent in the area on new homes, renovations and other building activities.

On 25 August 1997, there was an article entitled `City in midst of property boom', which read:

The City of Greater Bendigo issued 1439 planning certificates for property development in the first six months this year—a 30 per cent increase [over] last year.

The article also referred to comments by the Chief Executive Officer of Bendigo, Mr Hadley Sides, saying:

Mr Sides said other council data also pointed to a growth in residential and commercial building activity in Greater Bendigo—confirming Housing Industry Association figures of a massive growth in new home building activity in the region.

Mr Sides further went on to say that the council and HIA figures showed that Bendigo was becoming the fastest growing urban centre in Victoria. He cited three main reasons for this growth: firstly, the fall in interest rates have encouraged people to re-enter the housing market; secondly, as Bendigo's population has increased, so has building activity; and, thirdly, a slowdown in the new home market because the recession which we `had to have' and which had created a backlog in the past few years was now clearing up. This is all very good news and all very clear evidence of the economic path that the Howard government is proceeding along and the positive results that have been achieved over the past 12-month period in the City of Greater Bendigo.