Mallee spans the four Local Government Areas of Mildura, Swan Hill, Gannawarra and Buloke. The

Map of the Mallee region including the four local government areas; Mildura, Swan Hill, Gannawarra and Buloke.

region includes the traditional lands of the Millewa-Mallee, being Latji Latji, Ngintait and Nyeri Nyeri Traditional Owners, and the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk peoples.

The region is home to over 91,000 Victorians. Mildura and Swan Hill are the main regional centres. Agriculture – broadacre cropping and irrigation – drives Mallee’s economy as well as associated processing, manufacturing and services. The Murray River provides the region with water for irrigation, for drinking and for tourism and recreation.

The Mallee is the only region in Victoria with access from three states, with road, rail and air connections. The main freight route from Adelaide to Sydney passes through the region via Mildura, the major regional city.

Five topics from the draft strategy that are relevant to the Mallee are below. More details are in the topics' links. Complete the survey. Tell us what you think about the draft recommendations for regional Victoria and Mallee.

Draft recommendations

Expand the tabs below to read the draft recommendations for each topic.

Mallee residents have:

  • lower rates of internet connection
  • gaps in internet connectivity
  • slower internet speed and
  • less reliable mobile coverage than Melbourne.

One in four Mallee households do not have internet access. This means many people cannot access online services (for example banking, job search, health and social services, and education). Unreliable internet connections can make it hard to do business. Unreliable internet also reduces public access to safety information in times of emergency.

There are opportunities to improve internet access and digital connections in Mallee. Reliable on-farm internet access would improve productivity for the agricultural industry, and meet demands across the health, education and local government sectors. Improved internet and mobile phone coverage in tourist locations would better meet visitor expectations.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 80. Continue to address regional Victoria’s digital connectivity gaps (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

In the next five years, continue delivering regional digital connectivity improvements, and review the need for further government investment following the roll-out of the Digital Future Now initiative.

Draft recommendation 86. Improve resilience of regional telecommunications infrastructure (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

In the next 10 years, develop more resilient regional telecommunications infrastructure so communities can stay safe during emergencies, including greater network redundancy and back-up power supply.

Draft recommendation 87. Fund regional libraries to provide better internet access (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately provide funding for regional and rural libraries to improve community access to fast, free internet services, leveraging existing library infrastructure.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Mallee has a diverse tourism offering including:

  • the Murray River
  • Wyperfeld National Parks
  • Victoria’s largest salt lake, Lake Tyrrell
  • Indigenous heritage sites in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and the Murray-Sunset National Park
  • food and wine experiences.

The coronavirus pandemic border closures have harmed the visitor economy. Yet, as restrictions start to ease, tourism has a role to play in the region’s economic recovery.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 82. Plan for future investment in regional nature-based tourism infrastructure (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

In the next five years, develop a Victorian nature-based tourism strategy to guide industry development and prioritise further investments.

Draft recommendation 83. Develop a Victorian Aboriginal tourism strategy (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Partner with Traditional Owners to develop a Victorian Aboriginal tourism strategy in the next five years to guide future Aboriginal tourism investments, including through Joint Management Plans.

Draft recommendation 84. Boost tourism infrastructure by allowing more national parks to grant long leases (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Attract investment in Victoria’s regional tourism industry by immediately allowing more national parks to grant leases of up to 49 years for infrastructure proposals that meet specific criteria and complement environmental and heritage values.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Mallee residents have relatively high rates of preventable health issues, suggesting that primary health provision may not be readily accessible to all. The region also has challenges in attracting and retaining a skilled health workforce.

Healthcare services are now more readily available over the phone and online. This trend has accelerated over the last year. More people in Mallee are accessing health care remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patients now consult with General Practitioners (GPs), specialists and other health providers over the phone and online. Health professionals have used the internet to remotely diagnose and check patients’ health. Delivering more healthcare using technology can give patients more convenient, flexible and quality services.

For those living in rural and remote areas, telehealth could provide greater access to quality care, specialists and allied services and reduce travel.

However, some services still need in-person contact and care, as telehealth is not appropriate in all situations. The region has relatively high numbers of mental health clients, as well as those receiving drug and alcohol treatment. Our recommendations aim to respond to gaps in local service availability and provision.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 21. Use innovation to deliver better models of healthcare (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Within five years, help slow the growth in demand for hospital infrastructure by funding a comprehensive statewide health innovation strategy to promote better models of healthcare.

Draft recommendation 72. Co-design an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Infrastructure Plan (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately commence a co-design process to develop a plan to guide investment in Aboriginal community controlled infrastructure to meet current and future social, economic and cultural needs.

Draft recommendation 75. Deliver infrastructure for a better mental health system (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately establish a dedicated infrastructure fund to support a better mental health system, building on the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.

Draft recommendation 88. Use rural schools for children's specialist and allied telehealth services (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Retrofit or better use selected rural school infrastructure for children's specialist and allied telehealth services to improve children's health and development. Immediately begin with a trial in Wimmera Southern Mallee.

Draft recommendation 92. Build regional residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Within five years, build residential detoxification and rehabilitation facilities in regional Victoria to provide equitable access to alcohol and other drug treatments.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Local governments deliver many social and community services to regional communities. These include:

  • child and family services,
  • aged care,
  • health care services and
  • programs to foster social inclusion and improve wellbeing.

Some regional councils, such as Buloke and Gannawarra shires, have small relatively budgets due to small ratepayer populations. They also need to fund many services to communities spread over a large geographic area. Meanwhile, the regional centres, Mildura and Swan Hill, have seen population growth accompanied by growing demand for services.

Many council facilities have a single purpose at a specific point in time. Others are ageing and no longer fit for purpose. This limits service quality, and councils face challenges in managing these facilities well. At the same time, community needs are changing and some facilities no longer meet local needs.

Councils are finding ways to provide facilities that can respond to contemporary needs. This includes building multipurpose service facilities, for example an integrated health and wellbeing building.

Another solution is to upgrade outdated facilities or give them a new use which matches current community needs.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 89. Deliver multipurpose shared social service facilities in the regions (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Immediately undertake collaborative inter-agency planning for regional social services to identify opportunities for multipurpose shared facilities, then deliver them where appropriate in partnership with local governments and community organisations.

Draft recommendation 90. Support regional councils to update, repurpose or retire outdated community infrastructure (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Fund rural and regional councils in the next five years to update, repurpose and retire outdated community infrastructure for better service delivery.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

Now more than ever our state requires more homes for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Mallee has the second highest rate of homelessness in regional Victoria. While Mildura and Swan Hill have relatively high levels of social housing compared with Victorian averages, many still cannot access good quality, affordable housing.

Social housing provides low-income Victorians secure, affordable and appropriate housing. There is an urgent need to improve availability of fit for purpose housing in Mallee. This means that some of our most vulnerable community members are on social housing waiting lists and are experiencing financial stress.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 57. Rapidly renew old public housing (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Rapidly renew dilapidated public housing properties, with a priority to renew at least half of all older low-rise apartments and older three-bedroom detached dwellings by 2031.

Draft recommendation 94. Expand social housing in regional centres, in locations with good access (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Focus social housing investments in regional centres, near access to transport and services, to contribute to a target of 4.5 social housing dwellings for every 100 Victorian households by 2031.

Draft recommendation 95. Make social housing suitable for changing local climates (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Prioritising northern Victoria, continue to deliver a long-term program of modifying social housing to be climate-resilient by improving the energy efficiency and energy affordability of residences.

Complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these draft recommendations.

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IV will use the information collected to inform Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy.

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Other recommendations related to Mallee in the draft strategy

Read the Mallee regional priorities summary for other recommendations related to the region.

Shared community facilities in action

Story from Shepparton: a football club also a leadership training hub

The Shepparton Rumbalara Football Netball Club has a long association with the Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative. The club provides leadership training hub for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander community, as well as netball training. It provides a range of training, education, health, leadership and social support programs.

Story from Murray: Old hospital turned into a health and wellbeing centre

The Walwa Bush Nursing Centre is in an isolated town on the upper Murray. The facility exists because of a community campaign following the closure of its eight-bed hospital. The facility was transformed with community fund raising and state government grants. The new health and wellbeing centre is a mix of health and community services. It now houses:

  • General Practitioners
  • district nursing
  • home care
  • emergency first response
  • outpatient clinic
  • pharmacy
  • gym
  • community centre
  • IT centre
  • banking services
  • RUM radio
  • community car
  • meals on wheels
  • health services
  • counselling services.

The centre is run by a community owned not-for-profit and has been successfully operating since 2006.