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Growth corridor woes

Government Growth Policy is not working – an example of one Growth Area municipality struggling under the financial burden of infinite population growth. Other growth corridors are also in stress.

Cardinia Shire is a largely rural municipality about 60 km from Melbourne. A government designated corridor of population growth and housing construction has been absorbing rapid population increase since 2003. The population is predicted to double over the next 10 years. Current Council records indicate that five families per day are moving into the corridor.

The council’s annual budget document and four year plan states that its greatest challenge is “managing population growth”. More administrative staff are required so the Council must move to expensive new premises in Officer. Increased financial responsibility has been placed on local government but despite an ongoing debt level of almost $50 million and increasing the annual rates each year over the past 10 years, there is still a major lack of infrastructure and services to meet the needs of the continuous high population growth coming into the growth corridor of the municipality. The infrastructure shortfall includes public transport, roads and schools for which State government is responsible. Ratepayers are virtually being taxed via Council rates, and a further increase to 6.8% this year will be a financial burden for a lot of property owners.

Huge residential and commercial development is impacting on former good quality agricultural land, sensitive environmental landscapes and waterways.

Traffic congestion is increasing, particularly on local roads not built to cope with the current volume flowing off the freeway. During morning and evening peak times traffic is at gridlock.

There is growing evidence of social disadvantage, a local welfare support agency is dealing with constant requests for assistance with food supplies, financial counselling etc. There has been an increase in antisocial behaviour, graffiti, and more serious instances of assault, burglaries and trades area break-ins. Local police are at their limit keeping up with the level of crime.

If this is the end result of government policies of high population economic growth and increased productivity, where are the supposed benefits? This is just one example of a growth area in one State of Australia. How many others are encountering similar problems?

Encouraging people to move out to Melbourne’s fringe areas, creating car dependent and socially disadvantaged communities where there is inadequate local employment and insufficient infrastructure is just not working.

Australian people urgently need a referendum on the need to limit the annual population intake via immigration, rather than on the merits of including local government in the Australian Constitution. Let’s get the priorities right. G. Terria (Fugitive from the Growth Corridor)/em>

Editorial comment: G. Terria, your suggestion that we need to hold an annual referendum is excellent. Elections such as the forthcoming Federal elections can be used as a referendum of sorts. You can vote for candidates opposed to population growth . Two such candidates are Jill Quirk and William Bourke, who are standing for the Stable Population Party in the Senate n Victoria. You could distribute your Senate preferences according to how other candidates measure up on population and other issues of concern. Ask all candidates standing for your Lower House seat what are his/her policy towards population and immigration and vote and allocate your preferences accordingly.

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The Interface Councils launched the “fund Melbourne fairly” campaign last month, calling for increased investment in the outer suburbs. They claim that Melbourne’s outer suburbs received $893 million less than needed “to address critical infrastructure requirements” in the latest state budget.

A report 2011, Australia’s Angry Mayors:How Population Growth Frustrates Local Councils, (Adam Creighton and Oliver Marc Hartwich), says that the debate about population routinely dominates politics in Australia, including the (in)adequacy of Australia’s infrastructure and the potential impact on our environment.

Much of the debate revolves around national statistics and aggregates. What will Australia’s population be in 2050? What will Australia’s ‘carbon footprint’ be in 2030? What is the appropriate annual level of immigration?

Although important, these questions often obscure the impact of population growth on local communities, and the impediments and incentives they face in accommodating more people.

Local councils are at the coalface of population growth.
Local governments have been raising property rates to meet the costs of population growth. These rises are more likely in more populous and rapidly growing communities.

•Almost one-third of respondents, particularly larger councils, said population growth was damaging their bottom line, and that they were concerned about upgrading infrastructure.

•About 80% of respondents use developer levies to help pay for the costs of population growth.
Levies are used more widely by larger councils, and particularly in NSW and Queensland.

•Only a fraction of respondents thought their existing revenue mechanisms were wholly adequate. Indeed, more than half of the respondents in NSW and Queensland said the current setup was not satisfactory. Overwhelmingly, local councils think better access to
ongoing revenue streams would alleviate some of the pressures of accommodating extra population.

Larger councils were more likely to increase rates, while smaller councils were more reluctant.

More than half the survey respondents believed that population growth had a positive net effect on their council’s bottom line, citing the long-term benefits of population growth over the significant short- to medium-term funding shortfalls.

Smaller councils believed that the positive financial effect of population growth outweighed the costs of development. With bigger councils it was the reverse. Perhaps the infrastructure requirements for bigger councils are more expensive, or at least they are more aware of costs.
Local governments typically raise most of their funds from rates. To keep services and amenities up to date with rapidly growing populations, rates must continually rise.

Free Download

Community Forum:
The 2013 Federal Election and Public
Transport in Melbourne’s West
Thursday 8 th August 6.30pm doors open 6pm, food and drinks available from the bar
Newport Bowls Club, 4 Market St Newport

The Public Transport Users Association is hosting a community forum looking at public transport issues in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs. With a federal election imminent, residents are concerned about how transport policy will impact on access to jobs, education and services, as well as household transport stress.

This community forum is an opportunity to hear from transport planning experts alongside local Members of Parliament, Councillors and federal candidates. Come along and ask your questions and learn what they plan to
do to solve public transport in Melbourne.

Guest Speakers Include:
Dr Sophie Sturrup, University of Melbourne
Janet Rice, Greens Lead Senate Candidate
Tim Watts, ALP Candidate for Gellibrand
Lisel Thomas, Maribyrnong Truck Action Group

Any questions please contact
Cait Jones: 0412 549 589


Submissions by early September to try to stop this overdevelopment of this wonderful old Racecourse. They want to turn it into an Activity Centre with apartment blocks and put all the horse things in the centre of the track, sounds very strange. No station in the area and to me the whole place has heritage significance. Open up the link and take a look and send off even a simple submission – the more pressure the better.

Moonee Valley Racecourse Redevelopment

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has appointed an Advisory Committee to review matters related to the proposed Moonee Valley Racecourse Master Plan, associated draft Planning Scheme Amendment documentation (including heritage controls proposed by Council), and submissions about these documents. For all details see

How to make a submission

The Advisory Committee will consider all written submissions in relation to the draft Amendments.

All submissions:

must be made by 6 September 2013
must be accompanied by a completed Submission Coversheet (DOC - 204 KB)
should include a completed Request to be Heard Form (DOC - 207 KB) if you also wish to present your submission to the Advisory Committee.

Please send your submission with this coversheet to:

The Chair

Moonee Valley Racecourse Redevelopment Advisory Committee

C/- Planning Panels Victoria

Email (preferred):

Post: PO Box 500, EAST MELBOURNE VIC 3002

Fax: (03) 9637 9700

The Committee encourages grouped or joint submissions at the Hearing where possible.

Please note that all submissions received and all information provided in respect of the Advisory Committee at the Hearing will be treated as public documents. Please note the Privacy Collection Notice on page 2 of the Submission Coversheet.