Melbourne resident tells politicians about life in outer suburbs

A resident of Melbourne’s outer suburbs has told an audience of politicians at Parliament House in Canberra about the debilitating congestion on the roads in her area.

Sharon Noyle, from Doreen, was part of a panel discussion at Parliament House on population growth, demographic change and the outer suburbs, telling the audience about her daily commute to Port Melbourne.

“Sometimes it can take two-and-a-half hours to get home and it can be just as congested going,” said the mother-of-three, who takes the long route to avoid worse congestion on what would otherwise be a 40-kilometre journey.

Even local trips can be slow, she said, describing a three-hour delay because of a bus breakdown and her son’s more than one-hour bus trip to make the 12-kilometre trip to the local high school.

The event, Growing Up and Growing Out, was a Parliamentary Friendship Group for Better Cities event co-hosted by the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) and the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).

“Many people have to commute because there aren’t jobs close to home,” said the NGAA Chair Glenn Docherty, who is also the Mayor the City of Playford. “There isn’t the opportunity to be the 30-minute city in the fast-growing outer suburbs.”

Mayor Docherty said the NGAA is backing the Fund our Future campaign for a national infrastructure fund for outer suburbs to tackle the “90-minute cites” plaguing the outer suburbs.

“We need good infrastructure locally, so we can traverse our communities, but we need to also make sure we have the jobs close to home,” he said.

Also on the panel were the CEO of PIA Kirsty Kelly and academic Professor Jago Dodson from RMIT University. The event was moderated by the Chief Political correspondent for the Saturday Paper, Karen Middleton.

Amongst the politicians, staff and members of peak bodies attending the event was the Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor.

The Parliamentary Friendship Group for Better Cities is Co-Convened by Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, Member for North Sydney; Mr Andrew Giles MP, Member for Scullin and Mr Adam Bandt MP, Member for Melbourne.