Melbourne’s outer suburbs ‘at risk of becoming ghettos’ without infrastructure funding, report finds

ABC Victoria: Melbourne’s outer suburbs ‘at risk of becoming ghettos’ without infrastructure funding, report finds. Wednesday August 2014

Melbourne’s outer suburbs are at risk of becoming “ghettos for the underclass” unless billions of dollars are invested in infrastructure, a report has found.

The Fairer Funding report was launched today by the Group of Interface Councils, which includes the municipalities of Casey, Hume, Mitchell and the Mornington Peninsula.

The report found years of rapid growth had not been matched with investment in public transport, health and education.

“There is the risk that parts of outer Melbourne will become a collection of ghettos, accommodating Victoria’s underclass, people who can’t afford to live in other parts of Melbourne,” the report found.

“The more problematic areas in the outer suburbs are the ones that had significant growth 20 years ago, yet were not provided with infrastructure and support services at that time.

“If history is allowed to repeat itself, the financial and social burden on future governments will be enormous, far greater than the cost of early intervention.”

The Mayor of Mitchell, Rodney Parker, warned the consequences of the infrastructure gap were enormous.

“The social impacts would be along the lines of disconnected youth and communities and a lack of employment opportunities,” he said.

“The reality is that if you don’t get the infrastructure required, the communities are going to become more and more disconnected from what is essentially Melbourne.”

The group wants more than $10 billion over the next 15 years to build new schools, hospitals, libraries, roads and public transport.

“We want to ensure our communities get what essentially the rest of metropolitan Melbourne have and enjoy,” Councillor Parker said.

“The 10 councils represented by this group are going to experience more than 50 per cent of Melbourne’s growth, so we think it’s only fair that we should get a large chunk of the investment.”

Residents say not enough done to cope with population boom
Montrose resident Trish Morris has lived in Melbourne’s outer-east for more than 30 years and said while there had been some positive change, it was not enough.

“We’ve got a population that’s increasing and I don’t think the support for that has been forthcoming to match that increase,” she said.

Ms Morris said a lack of employment and public transport options was having a significant impact on the wellbeing of residents.

“If the jobs that are suitable are not within your local area, that makes it very difficult for you to have a work-life balance,” she said.

“In my life, I’ve quite often had to travel three hours a day in order to earn an income. On a personal level, I’ve found that quite difficult.”

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