Liveability means quality of life; it means built and natural environments, economic prospects and social stability, educational opportunities and cultural possibilities. Families living in Melbourne’s outer suburbs love where they live and community that surrounds them. But they are tired of the daily struggles they face as a result of growing liveability inequalities such as the lack of basic services and amenities families in inner Melbourne enjoy.
Years of solid growth, changing demographics and historic underfunding in Melbourne’s outer suburbs has put pressure on two critical aspects of life: services and infrastructure. Supply is not meeting demand. This has created pockets of isolation and significant disadvantage in the outer suburbs. Needless to say, living in a poorly-serviced suburb takes a toll on families and communities.
But what does the state of liveability in Melbourne’s outer suburbs actually look like?
Melbourne’s Interface Councils region falls short in a number of key aspects of daily life.
It falls short in rates of local job provision – most people travel 2+ hours per day to get to and from work. This means time with the family is compromised because parents leave home before their children get up in the morning and arrive home after they’ve had dinner.
It falls short in the number of GPs, pharmacies and mental health services per 1000 people. This means that young people are not getting the mental health support they need, like 15-year old Alex who faces a 4-hour roundtrip to access the closest headspace centre from home.
It falls short in rates of access to fruits and vegetables – almost 50% of residents do not meet their dietary guidelines. As much as parents would like to give their children fresh fruit and vegetables every day, many find it easier to access fast food restaurants.
It falls short in levels of adequate facilities and sports grounds – social participation and cohesion are compromised because supply doesn’t meet current demand. When Eva goes to footy training after school she must use the men’s change rooms.
The Interface Councils Liveability Snapshot highlights the need for a whole-of-government response to make sure Melbourne’s outer suburban communities have access to appropriate services and infrastructure. A response that will mean families in the Interface region can live their lives with the support and facilities they need to live the best life possible.