Two months ago, Infrastructure Victoria forecast that the state’s population will grow from around 6.6 million at the moment to 10.8 million by 2051, and that the population of Melbourne’s ‘fringe’ suburbs will increase by over 900,000 people over that time:
Now Infrastructure Australia has released a new report warning that infrastructure and services are failing to keep pace with rapid population growth in outer suburban areas, which is harming living standards:
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Population growth is rapidly outstripping demand for vital social infrastructure in Melbourne’s seven fastest growing local government areas…
Infrastructure Victoria’s latest research, Social infrastructure in Melbourne’s growth areas, finds that Wyndham, for example, has one aquatic recreation centre for every 149,000 residents, compared to the state average of one centre for every 65,000 persons.
The situation is nearly as stark for the provision of libraries, which deliver an increasingly broad range of services and are now often designed as the core of multi-purpose community hubs. Melton currently has around one library per 90,000 residents, compared to the state average of one per 41,000 persons.
Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive Michel Masson said: “Rapid urban expansion means social infrastructure has failed to keep pace with population increases in the new growth areas of Melton, Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham.
“It’s not enough to just plan and build housing in greenfield suburbs, all levels of government need to better integrate social infrastructure so that everyone has access to similar services, regardless of postcode,” he said…
Victoria’s population is projected to surge by 20% in the next 15 years, with Melbourne’s seven growth areas anticipated to make up a large share of this increase.
Trailing investment in vital social infrastructure risks further widening the disadvantage gap between many newer and established suburbs…
Let’s remember that Infrastructure Australia has already modelled the outcomes for Melbourne as its population surges to a projected 7.3 million by 2048 under three development scenarios, namely:
- Expanded Low density: 60% of development to take place in existing urban areas;
- Rebalanced Medium density: 70% of development to take place in existing urban areas; and
- Centralised High density: 80% of development to take place in existing urban areas.
Under every single development scenario, liveability in Melbourne is projected to deteriorate, with increased congestion and commute times, as well as reduced access to jobs, schools, hospitals and green space:
Instead of addressing the population problem at its source, Infrastructure Victoria instead recommends more infrastructure investment in growth areas. This comes alongside its 30-year blueprint, released in August, which recommended sweeping changes to the way we are charged to use road and rail, in order to ‘manage’ demand.
The obvious question arises: given its dire forecasts for Melbourne’s liveability, why hasn’t Infrastructure Victoria recommended that the state take in less migrants in the future to ease these population pressures?
The answer is obvious: Infrastructure Victoria’s board is stacked with big business representatives, which privatise the gain from having more people via expanding their domestic markets and lowering wage costs:
Michel (Masson) started his career at Deloitte before joining the Bollore Group where he held various senior finance positions in the transport and logistics division in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. In 2005 he joined Keolis as head of Finance and Operations for the International Division where he was responsible for leading public transport operations in seven countries and held various non-executive director positions in UK and German rail franchises.
“Jim Miller chairs the Infrastructure Victoria board. He is also Vice Chair at J.P. Morgan, an Advisory Board Member at Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and Director at Household Capital…Jim was an Executive Director at Macquarie Capital from 1994-2015…”
“Maria Wilton’s experience in the investment industry spans thirty years. Maria is a member of the global Board of Governors of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute…”
“Ann (Sherry) is one of Australia’s leading business executives with a career that spans Government, Banking and…”
Infrastructure Victoria is like a meeting place for the very people who represent the champions of mass immigration and over-development.
It does not represent the interests of ordinary residents.