While people living in the outer suburbs love where they live and feel a strong sense of community, it is clear from the Interface Councils Liveability Snapshot, released in the Victorian Parliament this week, that residents
are living with significantly less services and infrastructure than people in inner or middle Melbourne, and in some cases, even regional areas.
The findings from the Liveability Snapshot reveal concerning levels of inequity that are creating significant pockets of isolation and disadvantage in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. Based on State Government data accessed by Interface Councils, the more alarming figures include:
More than 40 per cent of residents in the outer suburbs do not live near public transport.
Unemployment in the outer suburbs is the highest in the state, sitting at 6.9 per cent it is 1.1 per cent above the state average.
Local job provision in the outer suburbs is the lowest in Victoria with a self-sufficiency rate 1 of 62.5 per cent, which is 30 per cent less than the state average.
Almost one in five people travel more than two hours each day for work and the number of people who travel to work by car is almost 3 out of 4 workers, again the highest in the state.
Residents in the outer suburbs are reporting the highest levels of psychological stress and mortgage stress in the state, yet have access to the lowest levels of GPs and allied health services per 1000 per people.
The Walk Score® 2 for grocery shopping is 33 per cent compared to all other areas in Melbourne, which score higher than 50 per cent.
While the outer suburbs offer the highest levels of open space in the state, their access to these parks and reserves by foot is significantly limited. The Walk Score® for parks in the outer suburbs is 17 per cent, almost three times less than the Walk Score® for parks in middle Melbourne.
“The Liveability Snapshot reveals some startling figures that any State Government should be deeply concerned by,” said Cr Peter Clarke, Interface Councils spokesperson and Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor.
“The situation has been created by years of solid growth, a key driver for the Victorian economy, as well as historic underfunding for the suburbs on the fringe of Melbourne. Last year’s budget saw the largest increase in government spending the outer suburbs but this follows 16 years of budget drought.”
“Gaps in infrastructure and services need more than just sporadic funding support. There have been two Parliamentary Inquiries and two Victorian Auditor General’s Office reports in the last nine years highlighting the problem and no party has developed and supported a comprehensive policy to address the infrastructure and service shortfalls identified in the reports. In fact, to our knowledge no party has formally addressed the recommendations of inquiries.
“Both major parties have espoused rhetoric that ‘every Victorian deserves access to jobs and services no matter where they live,’ yet no party has developed a policy that has deliver on this aspiration.”
As part of Interface Week 2017, representatives from Interface Councils are meeting with 12 Ministers, 13 Shadow Ministers and many local MPs to discuss the serious liveability challenges facing residents in Melbourne’s outer suburbs and the need to adopt a whole-of-government approach to developing a solution.
Both the Interface Councils Liveability Snapshot and 2018/2019 Budget Submission will be at the fore and discussed with decision-makers during Interface Week.
In the coming months, the Interface Councils Liveability Snapshot will be presented to the community for feedback before it evolves into the final Interface Councils Liveability Policy, a document that Interface Councils will be asking all candidates to commit to in the lead up to the 2018 election.
Interface Councils comprises Cardinia Shire Council, City of Casey, Hume City Council, Melton City Council, Mitchell Shire Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Nillumbik Shire Council, City of Whittlesea, Wyndham City Council and Yarra Ranges Shire Council.
The Interface region is home to over 1.5 million people, including 410 thousand families, and the Interface Councils group formally represents these ten municipalities.
For more information contact Zoe Forbes via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 8317 0111.
A copy of the Interface Councils Liveability Snapshot and/or 2018/19 Budget Submission is available on request.