top of page

INTERFACE WEEK 2023 – Outer Suburbs, Not Out Of Mind

Melbourne’s fringe set to grow by 1 million even after planning reforms

As part of Interface Week 2023, Outer Suburbs, Not Out of Mind distinguished urban planning expert, Dr Marcus Spiller from SGS Economics and Planning has shared a significant thought piece on development of good public policy to guide Melbourne’s growth story.

His research shows that even with the State Government’s proposed 70/30 housing commitment, its impact on growth across Melbourne’s outer suburban Councils will be modest.

“Even if the State Government’s 70/30 objective is met, the Interface Councils' population is still expected to reach 2.5 million by 2036, compared to 2.7 million on current projections, a reduction of only 6 per cent.

“Melbourne’s growth management strategies for the outer suburbs will need to be a collaborative effort between governments for successful urban transformation,” Dr Spiller said.

Dr Spiller also underscored the principle of people living in the Interface regions sharing the same economic opportunity as the rest of Melbourne.

“My research shows that residents on the fringe have limited economic opportunities compared to the average Melburnian. Addressing this gap is vital for unlocking the city's full potential and promoting prosperity for all residents.”

Chair of the Interface Councils, Cardinia Shire Council Mayor, Cr Tammy Radford said the latest research showed the inequity of the spread of jobs across Melbourne.

“Three generations of growth communities tell a compelling story,” Cr Radford said. In 1996, new residents moving into Lynbrook could access over 370,000 jobs within a half hour drive in the morning peak. Some 15 years later, those living in Officer could access less than 300,000 jobs in a half hour drive during the morning rush.

In 2021, those in Pakenham East – would have access to just over 130,000 jobs. “This supports what we are seeing on the ground. For Melbourne’s growth story to be successful, people in our Interface communities shouldn’t be disadvantaged by a lack of ready access to employment opportunities and basic services,” she said.

Dr Spiller’s research also found that a policy of decentralisation of public sector jobs to Interface locations, would improve equity and productivity.

“As the Government sector grows in line with a burgeoning population, decentralising the equivalent of all new State Government jobs to Melbourne’s regions could see up to 77,500 jobs moving to suburban areas over 30 years.

“Were these decentralised jobs to be concentrated in Metropolitan Activity Centres and National Employment and Industry Clusters as designated in Plan Melbourne, the net welfare gain to the community would be around $400 million,” Dr Spiller said.

Dr Spiller also highlighted the potential of federal and state governments co-operating on significant city- shaping policy.

“A comprehensive Commonwealth-State partnership akin to the National Competition Policy is required. This partnership would align federal and state interests, leading to planning reform, housing delivery improvements, and infrastructure investment,” Dr Spiller said.

“There is the potential for a Commonwealth funding transfer of up to $1.95 billion per year to Victoria, considering a potential 2% GDP boost to Melbourne’s GDP from urban restructuring.”

Dr Spiller’s insights during Interface Week 2023 shed light on Melbourne's growth management opportunity, emphasizing the need for strategic planning, innovative housing delivery, economic integration, and improved jobs access to ensure a prosperous and inclusive future for the city.

About Interface Week The Interface Councils represent 1.6 million outer suburban residents. Interface Week provides an important annual opportunity for representatives of the Interface Councils- Mitchell, Hume, Wyndham, Melton, Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Yarra Ranges, Casey, Cardinia, and Mornington Peninsula - to meet with key state parliamentary representatives to share perspectives on the challenges of building stronger communities.

About Dr Marcus Spiller Dr Marcus Spiller is a Principal and Partner of SGS Economics & Planning Pty Ltd, a firm he helped to establish almost 30 years ago. Marcus has worked as an academic, local government town planner, Ministerial Adviser and senior bureaucrat in State and Commonwealth Government agencies. He is widely published on regional economic development, housing policy, infrastructure funding and metropolitan governance. He is an honorary Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne and a Life Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia.

Note to Editors This information in this media release is based on a presentation by Dr Marcus Spiller – SGS Economics and Planning for Interface Week 2023, discussing Melbourne's growth management strategies.

For further information or to request an interview please phone Sofia Dedes: 0400 512 618 or email


bottom of page