A new Sunbury council would give residents more control over planning and population growth, according to the state opposition.
On the eve of the state election, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy campaigned in Sunbury last week, reiterating his stance to separate Sunbury from Hume.
Mr Guy also released the proposed border of the new council – similar plans to those previously released.
Mr Guy is confident splitting Sunbury from Hume will help control population growth and improve services.
“A Liberal Nationals government will create a Sunbury council so local people can have more control about local population growth and infrastructure and services,” Mr Guy said.
According to forecasts, Hume’s population is expected to increase to 372,627 by 2041, with the population squeeze putting stress on housing affordability, roads, public transport, schools and hospitals.
Sunbury Residents Association president Peter Free said he hoped a new council would build missing infrastructure that is needed in the area.
“Halls and arts centres are needed, a hospital, tourism is failing in Sunbury,” Mr Free said.
“A new council will benefit the people of Sunbury, it will benefit the whole area.”
But Hume mayor Cr Geoff Porter said the council had not yet spoken to the opposition about the move.
“Hume City Council is aware of statements made in the media but is yet to be directly informed by either the Liberal candidate for Sunbury or the leader of the opposition,” Cr Porter said. “It is frustrating and disappointing yet again, Mr Guy can speak to the media about it but does not have the courtesy of meeting with us, especially given that our residents would be directly impacted by this.
“This is a significant issue that will impact the whole of Hume – its communities, staff and all stakeholders could be disadvantaged if it was to proceed.”
Victorian Local Governance Association chief executive Kathryn Arndt urged caution in splitting Sunbury from Hume, suggesting there would be a “14 per cent rate increase for local residents if a split was to proceed”.
“In order to ensure financial viability of the new split council, rate increases of 5.5 per cent would be required for 10 years,” Ms Arndt said.