No certainty for Growing Suburbs Fund but strong support from all parties
Interface Councils wrapped up Interface Week 2019 on Friday meeting with more than 30 Members of Parliament, Ministers and Shadow Ministers to discuss better planning for Melbourne’s fringe.
Interface Councils Chair and Mayor of Mitchell Shire Council, Cr Bill Chisholm, said the Growing Suburbs Fund Progress Report showed the Fund had already enabled more than 160 community infrastructure projects and created upwards of 2800 jobs but that there was no certainty it would continue into the next financial year.
“The Growing Suburbs Fund is vital to providing community infrastructure to Melbourne’s outer suburban communities and we were focussed on making it the centre of our discussions at Parliament last week.
“The liveability of the outer suburbs depends on the Fund continuing. At the moment we have no certainty that this will happen but at the same time new suburbs are popping up overnight and there’s backlog of more than $1 billion in underfunded community infrastructure linked to approved Precinct Structure Plans.
“We are calling for the reinstatement of the annual commitment of $50 million for the Growing Suburbs Fund to be made when the Budget is handed down in May.
“It has already provided families who don’t live within close proximity to the CBD with sports and leisure centres and reserves; community and cultural centres, pavilions, hubs and spaces; and playgrounds. This type of community infrastructure is the glue that holds our communities together. The physical assets, services, programs and activities enabled by the Growing Suburbs Fund create greater social cohesion, healthy and active lifestyles and access to support services,” Cr Chisholm said.
Cr Chisholm added that Melbourne’s outer suburbs had welcomed 200,000 new residents during the past four years and the Government’s announcement of the 50,000 housing lots in the 12 new suburbs that are all on Melbourne’s fringe added to the mounting pressure for better planning to significantly improve public transport, roads, schools, health and community services.
“It is more important than ever that the Victorian Government has a spotlight on the outer suburbs. They are driving people to these areas in droves so it’s reasonable they enable adequate services and infrastructure for areas that are already buckling under the pressure of population booms.
“The elected officials we’ve met with during the past week were all very receptive and understood the vital nature of an ongoing commitment to the Growing Suburbs Fund and that better planning is essential for adequate roads, public transport, schools, kindergartens and health and community services,” Cr Chisholm said.
Interface Week is an intensive week of meetings to engage elected officials on a range of priorities for Melbourne’s outer suburbs and the pressing issues that impact the communities living there daily. Interface Councils is the group of ten municipalities that form a ring around metropolitan Melbourne: 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.
Interface Councils Media Contact: Zoe Forbes, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0438 924 462