"Not only is Geelong now effectively subsumed into the greater growth orbit of the Melbourne conurbation, but there are surprise population surges in some of the state’s remoter provincial cities and communities. I am so excited about this.” (Bernard Salt, "Victoria reimagined from basket case beginnings," The Australian 8 August 2019.)
In a News Limited piece whose title fails to take into account the original careful planning by Robert Hoddle for natural open space and avenues rather than choked alleys for Melbourne, Bernard Salt somewhat maniacally promotes the Federal and Victorian State Government's planned immigration innundation on disenfranchised Victorians.
“The previous set of state projections released in 2016 had Victoria rising to 7.7 million by 2031 whereas the latest iteration has upped this outlook to 8.1 million. That’s another 400,000 Victorians and another 200,000 houses or apartments that must be delivered during the 2020s. That’s important if you’re in the property game.”
Salt lists 15 local government areas with the biggest absolute increase in their 2021 populations according to the 2016 to 2019 projections, and says,
“This is important for big property players. It shows a significant shift in the demand for housing.”
Here’s the line I’d run: “Minister, we need to rezone more land to accommodate the population projections released by your own department.”
“The 2031 outlook for ¬Monash has been upped by 19,000 while for Whitehorse the upward revision is 14,000. More units, I would imagine. And maybe even a touch of high rise or perhaps a more vigorous application of the principles of suburban densification.”
The article also dooms Melton, Whittlesea and Hume to severe growth and Salt predicts that the ‘urban growth boundary’ will need to be pushed out: .
“I can only imagine that all this net additional growth is taking Melbourne’s footprint closer to the edge of the urban growth boundary.
He asks himself:
“I wonder if the really big property players are thinking about where this boundary might next be “adjusted” to accommodate a city not of the five million we have today, but of the eight million projected by mid-century?”
Of course Bernard Salt with KPMG has been a major driver and promoter of such population growth, frequently seen at the various confabs of the ‘big property players’, so this wondering seems very rhetorical.
He discloses the nature of population growth as a ‘burden’. Indeed, it is costing all of us more than money, although the “big property players” probably consider themselves adequately compensated and possibly above suffering from the destruction of community networks, natural spaces and freedom.
“I do think it’s important that the population burden being added to Victoria needs to be fairly distributed, with the inner city taking a higher proportion. It’s a bit like the progressive tax system where the rich pay a higher tax rate. In demographic planning, greater growth should be attached to localities culturally aligned to higher density, and that offer access to jobs and public transport.”
He describes the metastasies of the ghastly tumour that Melbourne is becoming with a pathogist’s delight:
“It’s in rural Victoria where the demographers have done their most riveting work. Yes, riveting. Not only is Geelong now effectively subsumed into the greater growth orbit of the Melbourne conurbation, but there are surprise population surges in some of the state’s remoter provincial cities and communities. I am so excited about this.”
Excited at the loss of control by residents of their city and citizens of their democracy? Excited at the rising costs of living, at water shortages, at pollution, at wildlife extinction?
I think that growthism is an addiction with consequences that cause enormous harm. Like war, which some also consider exciting, it needs to be recognized for the all consuming ill that it is, for the vast majority, with only a tiny few reaping the questionable benefits of cash and power over their increasingly beggared fellows.
Article by Sheila Newman, Demographer and Evolutionary Sociologist.