Over the past five years, Interface Councils have continually cautioned government that more resources are needed within Melbourne’s outer suburbs if the city is going to sustain its title as the ‘world’s most liveable city.’
Today we learned that Melbourne lost the top spot in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index to Vienna. Melbourne missed the top ranking due to Vienna’s continued surge in culture, environment and stability.
While Melbourne continues to have a consistent stability ranking, the figures pertaining to culture and environment are troubling. The culture and environment indicator ranks sporting availability, culture availability, food and drink, consumer goods and services, social or religious restrictions, corruption and climate. This year, Melbourne failed to make significant gains that would have kept the city at the top spot.
“What we are seeing here is that two very different cities are emerging,” said Cr Peter Maynard, Mayor of Wyndham City Council. “On one hand we have a thriving Melbourne CBD and on the other we have Melbourne’s outer regions that do have accessible infrastructure such as recreation centres, sporting facilities, cultural events and services that make communities more liveable.”
Last year, Interface Councils undertook an in-depth analysis of liveability within Interface Councils. The research found that many residents simply do not have access to the same level of services and infrastructure that other Melbournians enjoy.
“The truth is, most residents are car dependent in outer suburban communities,” said Cr Maynard. Residents often travel long distances to access food, cultural activities, recreation centres, sporting events and services. Further investment is needed in public transport to reduce car dependency and to build needed infrastructure that provides a range of community services that will enhance health, wellbeing and social cohesion across Interface communities.”
More troubling than today’s findings are other emerging liveability trends that could spell trouble for future rankings. The recently released One Melbourne or Two? Report indicates a growing infrastructure gap that will limit access to essential infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and libraries.
“The revised One Melbourne or Two? report clearly shows more action needs to be taken by our partners in State Government to get funding up to an acceptable level that will ensure 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. Improvements in public transport are critical to make sure people in the outer suburbs have a good quality of life,” said Cr Maynard.
In response to the breath of liveability research that the Interface Councils have undertaken, the group have released a comprehensive Liveability Policy that provides innovative solutions to manage growth and improve liveability.
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.