Large regional towns like Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo will see their populations swell in coming decades as more people move to the country, the Victorian government has predicted.
Latest population forecasts show 2.2 million people will live in regional Victoria by 2051, an increase of 57 per cent.
Planning minister Matthew Guy said more city dwellers were expected to opt for a country lifestyle in that period.
“Natural increases and a projected increase in residents moving from Melbourne to regional centres are expected to drive this boom,” he said.
According to government estimates, the largest increases will be seen in Greater Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
These centres are expected to house approximately one third of Victoria’s regional population in the next four decades, Mr Guy said.
In addition, planning has commenced on a long-term project to house 35,000 new people in Wodonga.
Baw Baw and Latrobe are being targeted as “growth hotspots”, while major development has been planned for Warragul, Drouin, Shepparton and Warrnambool.