New data on fast-growing outer suburbs

New data has revealed the scale of growth in suburbs on the outskirts of Australia’s capital cities, bolstering calls for a serious commitment to infrastructure for these areas.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed the country’s booming suburbs, including Melbourne’s Cranbourne East and North Coogee in Perth’s City of Cockburn. These areas and others around the country are part of the Fund our Future campaign, which calls for a dedicated national infrastructure fund for outer growth areas.

To catch up and keep up with the infrastructure needs in outer growth areas for the next 15 years, $73 billion is required nationally. That figure, from research commissioned by the National Growth Areas Alliance for the Fund our Future campaign, shows the biggest infrastructure problems are inadequate roads, public transport and health facilities.

The latest ABS statistics (June 2014-2015) keep up the spotlight on outer growth areas after recent statements from the Federal Government.

“These latest figures confirm what residents have known for a long time – that growth rates in our outer suburbs are phenomenal,” says the Chair of the National Growth Areas Alliance, Glenn Docherty, who is also Mayor of the City of Playford in Adelaide.

“They underscore the importance of the Fund our Future campaign. To address the infrastructure problems in outer growth areas would cost $5 billion a year over the next 15 years,” says Mayor Docherty.

“If a significant investment is not made, we risk dividing cities along social and economic lines: those in the inner city who have good access to transport, jobs and health facilities – and those in the fast-growing outer suburbs who do not.”

Four of the five suburbs nationally experiencing the largest growth are in Melbourne – Cranbourne East, South Morang, Epping and Point Cook.

Cranbourne East, which is the City of Casey, is also the second-fastest expanding suburb nationally, growing by 88 people per week. Also in the top five fastest growing suburbs are Cobbitty – Leppington in south west Sydney’s Camden Shire and Liverpool Council areas and North Coogee in Perth’s City of Cockburn.

The National Growth Areas Alliance has also welcomed increased attention on outer growth areas by the Federal Government recently, but says more needs to be done.

The Federal Government says it wants to adapt the UK’s ‘city deals’ model to Australia to give benefits to regional areas. Under the plan, federal, state and local governments would sign long-term contracts to deliver major infrastructure projects, while setting targets for job creation and housing construction, amongst other indicators.

The Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor has also said the Federal Government wants to boost funding for road and rail public transport infrastructure on the fringes of Australia’s major cities and it was a priority to nurture job clusters in our cities.

“The focus on outer growth areas is welcome, but we need a firm commitment from both sides of politics to a national infrastructure fund for outer growth areas,” says Mayor Docherty. “We need a fund for long-term infrastructure and this will benefit both the local community and the economy as a whole. Without it, we’re just playing around the edges.”

The population in outer growth areas is currently five million. By 2031 – in just 15 years – the population will have grown by half again to 7.5 million people.

Sign our petition calling for a dedicated infrastructure fund for the fast-growing outer suburbs across Australia. Sign now at www.fundourfuture.info, find us on Facebook at FundourFutureAU and Twitter @FundourFutureAU

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, Campaign Communication Officer, National Growth Areas Alliance, 0448 388 934 susi.hamilton@ngaa.org.au