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Ringwood Public Meeting - Population growth impact on local communities

Hon. Kelvin Thomson is conducting a Victoria First public meeting about population concerns in Ringwood on Saturday 29th March 2014, 2PM-4PM. at Central Ringwood Community Centre, Bedford Park, Bedford Rd. Ringwood. Professor Buxton will be the main speaker. Subject: The impact of Melbourne's population growth on local communities. If you are concerned about population growth, planning issues, over-development, and the loss of residents' rights in Ringwood, please come along. If you are bothered by how growth impacts wildlife, this meeting is for you as well.

The Hon. Kelvin Thomson, Federal
Member for Wills, invites you to come and join Victoria First Inc., at a public meeting on Saturday, 29th March at 2.00PM to 4.00PM at Central Ringwood Commuity Centre, Bedford Park, Bedford Road, Ringwood.[1]

Professor Buxton [2] will speak on “The Impact of Melbourne’s Population Growth on local communities”.

Victoria First putting Ringwood First

Federal Member for Wills, and President of the growing grassroots action group Victoria First, Kelvin Thomson, today announced Victoria First will be holding its next public meeting in Ringwood, to highlight the impacts of rapid population growth; traffic congestion, over development, increasing utility bills and stress on local services.

Special Guest Speaker: Professor Michael Buxton, RMIT University, will speak on “the impact of Melbourne’s population growth on local communities”. Professor Buxton has had a distinguished academic and government career, and is an acknowledged expert on Melbourne planning issues.

“Melbourne’s eastern suburbs are feeling first-hand the consequences of rapid and unsustainable population growth. Growth in the outer suburbs contributed greatly to Victoria's population growth between June 2011 and June 2012”,

Mr Thomson said.

“The City of Maroondah is forecast to grow from 110,270, in 2014 to 125,458 by 2031. This is a 13.77% increase in population.

“This week’s Maroondah Leader article, ‘Apartment demand continues to surge’, highlighted these pressures. Ringwood is experiencing high demand for apartments. Valuer General Figures show that unit sales in Ringwood increased by 11% last year. Across the Ringwood activity Centre there are 14 completed and 16 permits approved residential developments, representing 968 dwellings”,

Mr Thomson said.

“This high density development means more cars on local roads, more traffic congestion, higher home prices, more multi-dwelling developments, and more pressure on local resources. A recent survey by the Eastern Transport Coalition of 1,000 eastern suburb residents found 64% of people rated improved public transport as a top priority, along with education, water, new roads and environment.

Victoria First is a new not-for-profit NGO established to safeguard and enhance Victoria’s way of life. Victoria First is fighting to halt rapid population growth, over development, reduce traffic congestion, stop the increasing cost of council rates, rising utility bills, and seeking to protect Victoria’s unique animals and plants.

Mr Thomson concluded by saying that he encourages residents to come along attend the meeting and join Victoria First, which is campaigning on the issues that matter to all residents and future generations.

Notes and directions

[1] (Melways 49 J8. Nearest railway station Ringwood.
Car Parking available next to Centre)

[2] Professor Michael Buxton joined RMIT in 1998 after 12 years in senior management with Victorian Government Planning and Environment agencies, and with the Victorian Environment Protection Authority. He formerly headed the intergovernmental process for developing Australia’s National Greenhouse Strategy, and the group responsible for the development and implementation of environmental policy in Victoria. He was an elected Victorian local government councilor and Mayor for ten years and was a member of the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Authority for six years. He is a former lecturer at Monash University, Melbourne.

Michael heads a research team carrying out extensive research into peri-urban regions, including a national study titled Change and Continuity in Peri-Urban Australia. This team’s national and Victorian studies have investigated the nature and extent of contemporary peri-urban regions in Australia; identified future patterns of socio-economic, environmental change in peri-urban landscapes; and developed scenarios for future land use and management based on 'business as usual', interventionist and deregulated options. Change and Continuity in Peri-Urban Australia was a collaborative project between RMIT and Griffith Universities, funded by Land and Water Australia.


Youth unemployment in outer east including Maroondah, Knox, Yarra Ranges, Whitehorse and Manningham jumps nearly 50 per cent.

As reported in the Herald Sun, 24th March, youth unemployment in Melbourne’s outer east has spiked nearly 50 per cent during the past two years, with a welfare advocacy group labelling the jobless rate a 'generational crisis'.

Melbourne’s outer east, which covers municipalities including Maroondah, Knox, Yarra Ranges and parts of Whitehorse and Manningham, experienced the biggest rise in youth unemployment across Victoria.

Youth unemployment in outer east including Maroondah, Knox, Yarra Ranges, Whitehorse and Manningham jumps nearly 50 per cent

How can housing growth be justified when jobs are being created to keep abreast with our artificially boosted population growth? On one hand we have dysfunctional "growth" policies and short-cuts to public services, but not for profit social organisations must pick up the debris. Brotherhood of St Laurence executive director Tony Nicholson said the statistics showed Victoria was facing a "generational crisis'.

TAFE cuts too have hit hard, but "skilled immigration" continues with impunity! It's a case of reverse racism, of our government preferring overseas skilled workers rather than our own human resources.

Victoria’s population grew in the twelve months to September 2013 by over 110,000, a higher number than any other state, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This was part of Australia’s population growth in the year to September 2013 by over 405,000, another massive increase. At this rate of growth we will well and truly exceed the 36 million by 2050 referred to as Big Australia, which a clear majority of Australians have said they don’t want.

The 405,000 national increase came from net overseas migration of 241,000, and natural increase of 164,000. This in turn came from 310,000 births and 146,000 deaths. Our birth rate is more than twice our death rate. The demographers who have claimed for years that Australia’s numbers of births would fall, and that we need migration to maintain our population numbers, are wrong yet again.

I have founded a grassroots action group, Victoria First, to highlight the many impacts of rapid population growth – traffic congestion, overdevelopment, increasing utility bills and stress on local services.

Our next meeting will be this Saturday 29 March between 2 and 4pm at the Central Ringwood Community Centre, Bedford Park, Bedford Road Ringwood. Our guest speaker is Professor Michael Buxton of RMIT University, who will speak on the impact of Melbourne’s population growth on local communities. Professor Buxton has had a distinguished academic and government career, and is an acknowledged expert on Melbourne planning issues.

Melbourne’s eastern suburbs are feeling the consequences of rapid and unsustainable population growth first-hand. Growth in the outer suburbs has contributed greatly to Victoria’s recent growth spurt. The City of Maroondah is forecast to grow by over 15,000 people, from 110,000 in 2014, to over 125,000 by 2031.Unit sales in Ringwood increased by 11% just last year. Across the Ringwood Activity Centre there are 14 completed and 16 permits approved for large residential developments, representing 968 dwellings.

This high density development means more cars on local roads, more pressure on public facilities and open space, and a poorer quality of life for local residents.

Victoria First is a new not for profit NGO established to safeguard and enhance Victoria’s way of life. We are fighting to halt rapid population growth and over development, reduce traffic congestion, stop the increasing cost of council rates and rising utility bills, and seeking to protect Victoria’s unique animals and plants. I encourage residents to come along and join Victoria First, which is campaigning on the issues that matter to all residents and future generations.

Kelvin Thomson, 28 March 2014

Prof Michael Buxton exposed the rort that planning has become. It's become an oxymoron as "planning" has been hijacked by vested interest groups, such as the banks, mortgage lenders, corporations, property developers and other growth-boosting organisations - usually benignly named as task forces, committees and organisations that do "research" and public statements.

Successive State governments throw out planning schemes of previous governments, and upgrade them with looser controls and less "red tape".
Planning should be a long-term strategy, over 10 years or more, and stripped of political inputs and vested interests. This is the system in Germany, and other wealthy European countries. Norway is wealthy as they have a sovereign fund, but in Australia any sales from privatisation or "surplus" is spent on infrastructure, - to support population growth!

Councils do not have the power to oppose State government planning schemes and amendments. Minister Matthew Guy is the master of deceit and all the community "consultations" are a sham - they are simply thrown out!

If our population growth continues, Melbourne as we know it will be inundated and destroyed. We will lose our living standards, our heritage, back yards, and more time will be lost in petrol and congestion. The planners promote a "diversity" of housing, but it's a lie. Traditional houses are too expensive to buy, and only 12% of buyers now are first time buyers.

Poor Melbourne. She was once a gracious and liveable city, full of heritage and dignity. What's left of many suburbs will be washed away with high rises, multi-apartment blocks, and an expanded CBD full of high rises and wind tunnels of dark and windy canyons.

Property developers get all the benefits, and take on none of the costs. As the urban boundary stretches, the costs of infrastructure an services is left for the community to bear - and costs of living keep spiralling out of control.

There is one idea which comes up again and again, that is, that somehow politicians don't know about these problems, and need to be made aware.

I don't buy that they don't know. I'd be willing to bet that if they were facing serious punitive measures, they would suddenly 'become aware of the problem'. Even the bushmen in the Kalahari are aware of our housing affordability crisis and high immigration.

I see this issue stalling, as long as we give politicans the benefit of the doubt and give them "time" to come to terms.

No, we must push answers TODAY, and if they can't provide them immediately, then that is NOT acceptable. Working in the private sector, if you remain ignorant of a problem, and don't have a solution when challenged, you're GONE. You're gone because you A) should have been aware and B) should have had a solution before its too late. Ignorance is no excuse.

It saddens me to the point of illness to hear people time and time again, suggest that we need to be gentle and point problems out and make our pollies aware.

BTW. While Norway do have a good future fund, they are saddled with very high private debt levels too.

Hi Dennis,

I agree with you that it is frustrating that so many people give immoral politicians the benefit if the doubt. Such indulgence assumes that those politicians do not have responsibility for their actions. However, I also think that there are drone politicians and highly leader-obedient and peer-conformist politicians who do not question ideology as put to them by those they consider their superiors. And our party system fosters this sort of politician. I think also that economic ideology is exactly similar to religion and gives politicians all kinds of excuses, roles, rules and ranks with which to justify their undemocratic, destructive and stupid activities. Whilst people at the top and sociopaths can probably see through these justifications, the highly obedient, mostly males, in our political party system are probably unable to be objective. And they are also highly unlikely to listen carefully to anyone they consider to be of lesser power and rank, such as a constituent. Financial and power rewards are probably sufficient to blind many to the consequences of their actions, by narrowing their focus to what benefits them. Moral ideology, such as that implicit in the belief that people become rich because they deserve to and the poor are inferior and get what they deserve also seems to dominate the system we are in. Most of our politicians seem to have returned to Victorian times of class consciousness and blame the victim and to thoroughly endorse the creation of feudal empires formed by getting power over assets, resources and banks.

I would be interested to read your response to these ideas.

Hello Sheila,

I've always struggled to empathise with 'beliefs'. Even young, in childrens movies where the children just had to 'believe', ie, "believe in Christmas" to make something happen, I never quite got it. It was all very alien to me. Perhaps thats why I struggle to empathise with how they can be genuinely ignorant and just assume that they do know, but pretend they don't. I think you may be right, they are just drones beholden to an ideology.

You're also right in that we are heading towards an older social model. Abbotts getting there, we've got knights and dames, next 'land-lords' and 'serfs'. It frightens me to realise how many Aussies probably would accept serfdom, as long as the politics or economic pushed somehow 'justified it'. People seem to be accepting of having our properties sold off to foriegn investors, of having the house prices high, or becoming a nation of serfs or temporary workers. Even more perplexing, is that many people aware of this, seem to think those who fight against it are strange. The idea of fighting for a birth right seems 'nuts'. In fact, I've been told I'm nuts for being surprised that Australians haven't taken to the streets to demand the goverment solve the housing crisis.

I can't work out whether this conformity, obedience and acceptance of loss of rights, degradation of the middle class is new, or always there. There seems to be a lack of confidence to simply ask for ones birthright and assert themselves. If our homes are snapped up by foreign investors, then not only do people just say "well, we can't compete", but they don't even seem to get angry.

Doing a google search for "against foreign residential investment in Australia", the first site I get against it and on the side of Australians, is one by Nationalist Alternative. All the others either say its good, or just present facts without taking any moral position. Hence why I mention that the far right may be inevitable.

Politicians, as you said, definitely think they own us, so to do business leaders, but what role do you think peoples passivity plays in this? Do we have poor quality politicians because we have poor standards? Or is this better solved by changing our party political system (I think we may be better without political parties and only allow independant people in politics).


I speak as a 4th generation Australian with ancestors largely from the British Isles. We, an assorted bunch are mainly the descendants of dispossessed peoples and were the dominant ethnic group (albeit not all from the same parts of the British Isles, with different dialects of English and sometimes Gaelic and somewhat splintered in religious denominations) on this continent after European invasion. We quickly, amazingly and possibly quite accidentally forged a distinctive culture, identity and manner of speaking.This identity and culture is more fugitive, more apologetic than cultures which have had time, possibly aeons in the same place and derive strongly from their environment. Ours was a mixture of adaptation of culture from our origins and absorption of the place we now inhabit.

Australians , like the British have been in the past, very willing to laugh at themselves, Partly I believe this was because of an underlying confidence in our identity and destiny. In my life time the pinnacle of national self derision is the humour of Barry Humphries. To encapsulate Humphries' multi-character portrait of Australians, the words which spring to mind are , complacent, brash , Philistine , pedestrian, insular and bigotted ("in the nicest possible way") We have laughed at this for decades, whilst confidently not applying the traits of individual characters to ourselves personally. Humphries' characters were a mirror of the ridiculous aspects of our society and we had enough self assurance not to cringe. In my view Humphries showed the inner and private side of us, the bits we don't show.

Things are not as funny now. Australia's emerging, likeable but some would say banal national character born of a rather comfortable Post WW2 era was actually quite fragile and the laughter has been muted.

Propaganda in the media and in the education system told us we had no culture and no more right than anyone else in the world to make a cultural footprint, claim any prior knowledge , history or experience of this place even though our only direct aural/oral understanding of our ancestry is in this very place.

Our short history here has become worthless.

Hi Kathleen,

When I was a teenager in the 90's, I felt a distinct unease when it was "decided" that Australia must become multicultural in order to have any culture. Even back then, this young lad realised that this would 'abort' any true national identity being adopted. While my grandparents had come from continental Europe in the early 50's (and the history and culture that applies to them and me), this perspective has actually made be even more befuddled by Australians who claim they are 'vanilla', have no culture, etc and need to import it. This I put to lack of self confidence. Keating's thoughts of making us more 'international' were misguided and frankly silly. Australia had history, I was utterly fascinated by the explorers, Hume, Burke and Wills, Major Mitchell, Sturt, Strezlecki. There was a connection with the land (evidenced in artwork and literature) and an enviable suburban lifestyle.

From my perspective, the rest of the world is just as banal as Australia. You think the average Parisian is a cultures sophisticate? Nope! You think people in Greece eat exotic meals all the time? Most of their meals would be very similar to the much maligned "meat and veg" dishes that Australians think we need to move away from.

But this isn't unique to Australia. You can see similar lack of self confidence elsewhere, just the reasons are different.

Life in Australia is not banal, but Barry Humphries who is extremely critical of his birthplace finds it fertile ground for his material, paints it hilariously in this way and we laugh at it. I should probably use the past tense ,as I think he has retired. We recognised ourselves, or at least our neighbours in his humour. Ironically, one great source of mirth for BH were the cream brick veneer post WW2 homes in the suburbs with their venetian blinds which are now the target of population growth spruikers such as Bernard Salt and David Chalk who say we should not be living in them especially if we are widowed or over 65 or both.

We were not given the chance of consolidating our collective identity.and now we can't even protect the local park.