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State Budget Submission: It’s Not About A Handout, It's About People.

Every year, Interface Councils provide a submission to the Victorian Government for the State Budget. But why?

It’s not about the money, its about the people living in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. 1.6 million people.

The submission is not a matter of putting the hand out to ask for money. The submission is about highlighting the fundamental requirements of any community and how these are currently lacking in interface areas. It’s about identifying solutions that can enable local government and state government to ensure timely delivery

of infrastructure and services in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, together.

During the past five years, Melbourne’s fringe has accounted for 49 percent of growth in Melbourne and 44 percent of the entire State’s growth. While not all Interface Councils experience the same degree of rapid population growth, they do share the pressures associated with servicing both rural and urban communities, and the critical need to address the lack of access that residents must jobs, infrastructure and services which is compounded by the tyranny of distance.

While our residents are proud of where they live, they are tired of not having adequate access to public transport, spending hours in congestion, travelling two hours to employment and not being able to easily access health and human services including GPs, allied health practitioners and mental health support.

The Interface Councils 2018/19 Budget Submission is about asking State Government to do its bit to help make it possible for residents to get on and live their lives the way they want to live it. We are requesting that they provide:

  • A long-term commitment to $50 million per annum for the Growing Suburbs Fund to ensure it can continue to bridge the gap in community facilities and amenities that help bring people together, encourage healthy lifestyles and enable local health and human service delivery.

  • An immediate injection of $250 million to bridge the gap in health and human services such support for mental health, family violence, housing and homelessness, alcohol and other drugs and allied health (e.g. pharmacies, psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists).

  • A funding commitment to deliver the required outer suburban arterial (OSAR) road packages in Melbourne’s outer north and south-east under the OSAR program, following the positive steps that have been taken towards less road congestion and safer roads in the west, with a Western OSAR package funded and underway.

  • A long-term commitment to $225 million per annum to bring bus services up to an acceptable level, and ensure we are providing choice for residents when trying to access jobs, services, education and amenities.

  • Immediate and long-term funding commitments to ensure schools are delivered to cater to over-demand, in a timely manner.

  • A long-term commitment to $20 million per annum to implement local initiatives that bring jobs closer to home and boost local economies.

The liveability challenges that these asks to seek to address do not exist in isolation. They are all interlinked and exacerbate the profound impact each of them has on communities. This brings us to our final ask, $2 million to establish an interdepartmental taskforce to develop a whole-of- government (integrated and

coordinated) response to the liveability challenges facing Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

Why? Because for years, both Interface Councils and other independent bodies have identified the issues and made recommendations to resolve many of them. And despite this, we face similar, if not the same, issues today.

If you are a resident of Melbourne’s outer suburbs and you support these requests, write to your local MP and let them know. The more voices calling for change, the better the chance for more liveable communities.

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