Australian cities risk being divided

Australian cities risk being divided unless there is a policy turnaround from the Federal Government, according to a new analysis.

The work on fast-growing suburbs on the outskirts of Australia’s capital cities – from Cockburn in Perth to Penrith in Sydney’s west -- concludes that if the Federal Government does not make the investment, residents will endure “entrenched spatial disadvantage”, with access to jobs and services deteriorating, increased travel times and worsening social, economic and environmental costs.

The work, commissioned by the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA), shows that almost $5 billion per year is needed over the next 15 years to catch up and keep up with the need for road, rail and health facilities in these areas.

The analysis, conducted by SGS Economics and Planning, finds the almost five million residents of these areas are significantly disadvantaged and have demonstrably poor access to health and transport infrastructure, when compared with what is available in neighbouring areas closer to city centres.

The infrastructure backlog currently stands at over $50 billion dollars, with more than $20 billion needed to keep infrastructure on a level playing field to 2031.

The benchmarking takes into account funding for hospitals and community-based healthcare services, aged care, state roads as well as passenger rail and stations.