Melbourne grinds to a halt on mad population growth

By Leith van Onselen

Last week’s annual population data for Australia’s capital cities revealed that Melbourne’s population grew by an insane 108,000 people in the 2015-16 financial year:

With the city adding a whopping one million people (a 27% increase) in the 12 years to 2016:

Micro-data from the ABS also revealed that the lion’s share of Melbourne’s population increase has occurred in the Northern and Western Suburbs:

Predictably, this deluge of new residents is causing massive problems for infrastructure, with the peak period becoming longer and more painful for commuters every year. From Domain:

With record-breaking population growth, peak “hour” time in Melbourne is becoming longer and more painful practically every day.

With severe traffic congestion, slow or non-existent public transport, dangerous walking routes and frustrating noise issues, Melbourne’s suburbs can become almost unlivable during the busy times in the morning and evening.

The worst impacted suburbs are mostly located near the most congested roads in the state, with the majority in the north…

The article goes on to describe the worst congestion zones across Richmond, Camberwell, Glen Huntley, Skye, Heidelberg, and Brunswick – basically all over.

Sadly, the endless gridlock is not expected to change. In November last year, Infrastructure Victoria warned that Melbourne is facing eternal gridlock as its population soars way beyond the capacity of the road system, and admitted that it would be impossible for Melbourne to build its way out of congestion. Ernst and Young also forecast that tram speeds would grind to a halt.

The Victorian Government’s own population projections have Melbourne’s population growing by 97,000 people per annum (1,870 people a week) over the next 30 years to more than 8 million by 2051:

The fact of the matter is that there is no way that the State Government can build enough infrastructure to keep up with this growth. It hasn’t done so as Melbourne’s population ballooned by one million over the past 12 years, and it won’t do so as it’s population rises by another 3.4 million people over the next 35 years.

Melbournian’s living standards are doomed unless the federal government dramatically lowers Australia’s immigration intake – most of which flows to Melbourne and Sydney – and alleviates the endless pressure on infrastructure and housing.

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  1. 65,000 as NOM, the rest babies and net interstate migration. Just saying…
    The growth is obviously to high as the various issues related to increased urbanisation beyond infrastructure growth play out.

    • Yes, but first generation migrants have more babies than those born in Australia (on average) so immigration has indirect as well as direct effects on population.

    • Looks like I need to educate you again. The “natural increase” figures you quote have also been driven largely by immigration. That is, babies of immigrants get counted as “natural increase” whereas “interstate migration” captures those displaced by overseas migration into Sydney (which pushes people into Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra).

      This is why the Productivity Commission says that Australia’s population would peak at 27 million mid century under zero NOM, whereas it would hit over 40 million under current settings. Less than 9 million of this 13 million difference in population growth is directly from NOM, with the other 4-plus million resulting from extra “natural increase” caused by immigration (as migrants have children).

      In short, mass immigration is the overriding driver of Melbourne’s (and Sydney’s) population growth. Nothing else comes remotely close.

      It’s time you stop obfuscating the discussion.

      • ‘It’s time you stop obfuscating the discussion’?

        The NOM is NOM and natural increase is natural increase, for you to ‘combine’ the two is obfuscating the discussion.
        This is quite a long bow to draw to claim ”natural increase” caused by immigration’.
        The facts remain, NOM to Vic was 65,000 and the rest was natural increases and NIM. That is the actual data and it is clearly ‘obfuscating the discussion’ to make a false claim that 108,000 was due to immigrants or births from immigrants not born here but now Australia residents. Clearly immigrants who were not born here also die but you choose to selectively forget that as well.

        It may be true that recent immigrants have a higher fertility, although I think the indigenous have the highest from memory (2.74 in 2011 as I recall), however to then claim that they are somehow part of the NOM is stupidity. Regardless of the higher rates, as I have stated before, our fertility has been below replacement since 1973.

        Yes NOM is the majority growth for our population growth, but it is only one part of our growth. Natural increase and the demographic momentum are the other major parts.

        Yes, totally ignore more people living longer (momentum) as it suits an ‘population explosion by immigrants bias.

        In the ten years to June 2011, there was a rapid increase in the number of people aged 85 and over in Victoria (up 49%).”

        “In the five years to 2015, the median age in Greater Melbourne remained unchanged at 36.0 years, but increased from 40.5 to 42.2 years in the rest of Victoria.”

        You do know what happens when more people live longer right and the effect that has on the population growth rates?

        • “Yes NOM is the majority growth for our population growth, but it is only one part of our growth. Natural increase and the demographic momentum are the other major parts”.

          Read the Productivity Commission report. There’s a 13 million population difference between zero NOM and current policy. Only 9 million of this due to the direct effect of immigration. The rest is the boost to “natural increase” as immigrants have kids.

          This is not rocket science. But you continue to obfuscate the fact that immigration is the overwhelming driver of Australia’s population growth. Nothing else comes remotely close. If we cut NOM to zero (not that I advocate that), then Australia’s population would barely grow (stabilise at 27 million mid-century). These are the facts. But you keep ignoring them (or deliberately obfuscating the discussion).

      • “Composition of migrant families

        In 2009-10, Australia had 6.3 million families of which 40% (2.5 million) were migrant families and 60% (3.8 million) were non-migrant families. To qualify as a ‘migrant family’ for this article at least one ‘key member’ of the family was born overseas (see Glossary).

        Australia’s migrant families are comprised of:

        45.7% migrant couples with resident children of any age
        43.5% migrant couples without resident children of any age
        9.5% migrant lone parents with resident children of any age
        1.3% migrant other families of related adults, such as brothers or sisters living together, where no couple or parent-child relationship exists. ”[email protected]/Latestproducts/3416.0Main+Features2Mar+2013

        The latest data we have it seems. 3416.0 – Perspectives on Migrants, Mar 2013

        So 53% of 2.5 million families is 1,325,000 immigrant families with children out of 6.3 million families. Mmmmm…. certainly not a major factor in our natural increase at all.

      • I became a paying member, as willy got blocked for providing an opposing point of view and data.

      • Paid to write drivel?
        I am not the one claiming natural growth is part of our NOM. Tell us, how many of the approx 300,000 babies were born to people not born here?
        Immigrants have babies and immigrants die as part of our natural growth.

    • According to the ABS, in 2016, 55.4% of our population growth was due to immigration and 44.6% due to natural increase, so immigration, not natural increase is the biggest factor in our population growth, at least for Australia as a whole.

      According to this webpage from the Human Rights Commission, 46% of Australians have at least one parent born overseas, and 26% were born overseas themselves, so 20% of Australian-born people have at least one parent born overseas.

      Migrants have babies, just like everyone else, and those babies would not be here without our immigration program. If we assume that around 10% of babies have two migrant parents and 10% one, then counting 15% of natural increase as due to our immigration program seems very reasonable. You are looking at about 6.8% of population growth. It is actually probably more than that because what matters is the proportion of migrants in the young adult generation, not the Australian population as a whole.

      This reminds me of arguments on the American Left when they say that illegal aliens, or “undocumented immigrants” as they would put it, are not eligible for welfare benefits (true), but ignore the fact that they can claim these benefits through their US born children.

      • Correct, NOM is the largest part of our population growth and true that our natural increase is made higher by immigrants, however to then reclassify natural growth as part of our NOM is wrong.
        You have left out immigrant deaths as part of your calculations, why?

      • When the ABS gives the figures for population growth, they are already taking deaths and emigrants into account. It is not reasonable to call Australian born children of immigrants part of NOM, but it is reasonable to say that their presence and contribution to population growth are attributable to our immigration program.

  2. Did us Melbournians do something bad and this is payback? Is it a federal government plan (excessive immigration) to make the state governments look bad as a reason to get rid of them? What possible justification could there be for continuing this deliberate degradation of our city?

    • nexus789MEMBER

      Underpins the housing bubble and protects the politicians combined $300m+ property portfolio. They don’t care about your congestion problems.

    • Not to mention Workchoices MK 2, strongly supported by both parties. Cheap labour importation.

  3. St JacquesMEMBER

    The way out of this is simple: gradually cut immigration levels year by year by about 30 000, until the national immigration level is around 50 000, so that the economy can adjust. But it’s not going to happen, the politicians snouts are in the Ponzi trough. Looks like it’s going to have to be fixed the traditional way – by an economic crash.

  4. Goodness me. And of those 1 million, how many were given good/ok jobs instead of me.

    That is the other insane thing – AUS gives degrees and jobs to undeserving foreigners at the expense of Aussies who know English better.

    • nexus789MEMBER

      Not different to politicians in other Western countries that are betraying their own population and community with this insanity.

      • AUS has one of the highest immigration rates in the world and has had it for many years.

        It is a miracle that Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, have shrinking populations.

  5. So driving range/golf course I use sometimes (Kingston Links) is looking to be rezoned and acquired by a developer. 800 dwellings proposed. 100 year flood plain, swampy, between two freeways, massive electricity infra nearby. Proposing to use an existing single lane road as the ONLY ACCESS !!

    But maybe it’s appropriate in the scheme of things.

    But it occurred to me… 800 dwellings is a BIG development and yet it will house roughly 2% of ONE YEARS pop growth in Melbourne. That is a truly sobering thought.

    • The ATC tower at MEL airport is 75 metres tall – so they could allow 75 metre tall apartment blocks to be built in industrial areas like Laverton and Dandenong South, but no. The bastards will destroy schools and golf course to build horizontal housing.

      • We’re at the point where there are no good answers. We don’t want more exurbs on the fringes, we don’t want more density in the CBD and we don’t want more suburban infill. All of these things have massive drawbacks which just show that what needs to happen is that Australia needs to stop cramming everything into two cities and spread the F out.

        But until there is a National PLAN about how that should happen, immigration needs to be scaled back. Anything else is a betrayal of the interests of the electorate.

      • You’re right, Dave. It’s a gross betrayal of interests of the electorate. That’s why the electorate should be rising up and making demands on the government to stop this betrayal.

        But saying there are no good answers – there are plenty of good answers and the answer of reducing immigration should be top of the list. But both LNP and ALP would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to actually do anything.

      • You’re right. Look at any European city – even the small ones – and they have suburbs of 4-5 story multi-dwelling units. The key is to build them well, with plenty of noise and heat insulation.

      • HadronCollision

        Like people are playing golf anymore anyway
        25 years wait to member up at Vic? LOL.

        Cycling is the new golf, no waiting lists, and cheaper annual fee (N+1 notwithstanding)

    • The Patrician

      Or to put it a little more soberingly, it will house about 1 weeks population growth

  6. Numbers for 2016-2017 will be MUCH higher than those for 2015-16… International student explosion…

  7. The population tsunami will probably stop or slowdown sometime in the future, but not real soon. In the meantime, all those people are going to be jammed into the existing infrastructure because the country doesn’t have the brains or the funds to develop the necessary new infrastructure.

    I imagine that for good quality of life, 100,000 people need something like 1 major hospital, 15 schools, 2 train stations, 2 police stations etc etc. I haven’t heard that Melbourne has been setting a new hospital to work every year for the last 12 years, and I doubt that there are plans to do so in the future, let alone all the other stuff. The third world is moving here, and we’d all better get used to being third worldians, because that is our future.

    To put it a little more succinctly, it looks to me like Melbourne is irretrievably fucked. So is Sydney.

      • I prefer 70’s Brit punk while parking in traffic on the expressway. The Pistols, Buzzcocks, Wreckless Eric, Poly Styrene, The Only Ones, The Undertones, Magazine etc… The angry mood of most of the music dissipates the frustration somehow. I also shout in my car. It’s very therapeutic and nobody can hear you, though it does occasionally draw some odd looks from those parked around you.

    • It would good to put a dollar figure to the cost of “1 major hospital, 15 schools, 2 train stations, 2 police stations etc etc”

      Dollars resonate.

  8. This topic is wearing a bit thin now.
    Its old news.
    Melbourne, Sydney…..on the road to be shitholes due to mad population growth.
    Now that we know this, move on.

    • I disagree. Sure, we’ve heard it again and again, and good on UE for continuing to bang the drum.

      But if it’s a call to action, to maybe demand that the government reduce immigration, or to vote for Sustainable Population Party at the next election. then this has to be better than just sitting back and accepting the destruction of our major cities. I wish UE’s articles would appear in the MSM to gain more attention, but in any case, most Australians would have noticed that our cities are growing way too big too quickly.

  9. HadronCollision

    Youse guys are all looking at this wrong.

    What a terrific opportunity to move your family out to Broadford and the expansive environs, onto a 300sqm block and no yard and commute on the Vline “fast” trains in and avoid the Hoddle/Tulla/Easter/Monash/every other gridlock.