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A tight budget, but challenges remain

Challenges in providing services and infrastructure to Melbourne’s outer suburban communities remains as pressing as ever in the wake of yesterday’s state budget, according to the Interface Group of Councils (IFC).

The IFC comprises the 10 municipalities that form a ring around metropolitan Melbourne – the Cities of Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges, and the Shires of Cardinia, Mitchell and Mornington Peninsula.

The ten councils have a total population of around 1.6 million residents – representing approximately 28% of Victoria’s population and 36% of Metropolitan Melbourne’s population.

The Chair of the IFC, Cr Jennie Barrera, Mayor of Wyndham City Council, said that even with the State Government’s commitment to housing 70% of Melbourne’s population growth in inner and middle ring suburbs, forecasts* show that the already burgeoning outer suburbs will become home to a million more people over the next two decades.

“We acknowledge the tough economic conditions facing all tiers of government and thank the Victorian Government for its significant investment in infrastructure and services across our cities in this Budget,” Cr Barerra said.

“With one million people set to call the outer suburbs home over the coming years, it is imperative that we continue to work closely with our colleagues in the State and Federal governments to deliver strong, liveable and connected communities that our residents are proud to call home.”

Cr Barerra said Melbourne’s outer suburbs are the most car-dependent region in the state.

“To get residents off our roads, and using public transport, we do need a greater investment in our public transport network to help residents get to where they need to be quickly and safely,” Cr Barrera said.

“Last week’s allocation of GAIC to deliver additional services on our bus network is something we welcome, but so much more needs to be done. Only through a continuous program of review and investment will our bus services contribute to transport equity, reduce congestion on roads and improve liveability in our outer suburbs”

Cr Barrera said that the Growing Suburbs Fund, which has for many years supported the delivery of infrastructure in fast-growing communities, needed to be restored to previous levels.

 “At only $5 million for 2024/25, this is now a 90% reduction on funding levels set two years ago,” she said.

“This is in addition to the State Government metropolitan partnership program ceasing, there is now very little support for small scale community infrastructure works – projects that are crucial to improving access to services and the liveability of our suburbs.”

“We are pleased to see extra funds to address our stretched nursing workforce capacity for our Maternal and Child Health services, and more time to work through the challenges of funding the rollout of the Best Start Best Life early childhood education reforms.”

“None of the needs of our outer suburban communities or their funding challenges are going to go away. Tight fiscal conditions for all governments heighten the need for us to work together to find the most effective and efficient ways to serve our communities.”



*A copy of the Report by SGS economics outlining these population forecasts can be found at:


Contact Daniel Maltar for further information or to request an interview with an Interface Councils spokesperson on


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