This week, Interface Councils released the long-awaited follow-up of the 2013 One Melbourne or Two? Report which reveals that about $11 billion is still needed to close infrastructure and services gaps as more than 765,000 people are expected to flock to the outer suburbs in the next 15 years.
During the past decade, the Interface Councils region has welcomed over 440,000 new residents; with nearly 200,000 welcomed in the past four years alone.
“During the past five years, residents in the outer suburbs have increasingly struggled to access vital services and critical infrastructure. Long commutes to work and health services are not uncommon for many residents. The region is heavily car dependent, meaning those who use public transport are subjected to infrequent service and long walks to public transport stops. Further compounding these issues are high levels of mortgage and rental stress, and high unemployment,” said Cr. Kris Pavlidis, Mayor of Whittlesea.
“The Interface Council Region (ICR) continue to fall behind the rest of Melbourne when it comes to services and infrastructure but it will need to cater for more 53% of Melbourne’s population growth and almost 50% of Melbourne’s new dwellings.
“One Melbourne or Two? clearly shows that more action needs to be taken by our partners in State Government to get funding up to an acceptable level that will ensure that we can accommodate the expected growth over the coming years.”
The report also reveals that the impending growth will result in the need to create at least 310,000 new jobs throughout the region and an investment of $8.1 billion in public transport alone will be needed to accommodate this continued growth.
One Melbourne or Two? also shows the persistent need to invest in essential infrastructure that provides education, health and other essential services. The report estimates that an injection of $2.7 billion will be required to meet the demands of population growth across the Interface areas.
“Urgent action must be taken to invest in essential infrastructure and basic health and human services. Otherwise, we will continue to play catch up and the disadvantages will be exacerbated,” said Cr Pavlidis.
Interface Councils is a group of ten municipalities that form a ring around metropolitan Melbourne, comprising 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. Together, the group works to enhance the liveability of the region for its residents. For more information visit www.interfacecouncils.com.au.