Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Growth Area Mayors call for national focus on infrastructure

Mayors and Councillor members of the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) have called on the Federal Government to support a comprehensive national plan to address what they say is an unequal distribution of people, jobs, houses and infrastructure in outer areas.

Wollondilly Shire Councillor and NGAA chair, Matthew Deeth said outer suburbs across the country were growing at more than twice the rate of the rest of the nation and doing the “heavy lifting” for housing supply.

The same areas, he said, struggle to get vital infrastructure that other areas take for granted.

“Australia’s population growth stopped during the pandemic – but not in growth areas. In the past decade, the population of growth areas increased by 34% while Australia’s total population grew by just 14.9%. Yet there is no specific funding to get basic infrastructure into these new communities,” said Cr Deeth.

“The municipalities that our Alliance represents are home to 5.3 million people. One fifth of Australia’s population lives in just 29 municipalities. We’re building most of Australia’s new houses in the places with the least supporting infrastructure.”

He said the Alliance had taken its message to Canberra to ensure the Government understands the conditions experienced by millions living in Australia’s outer suburbs.

“Homes and neighbourhoods are built in designated growth zones as part of local and state government plans,” he said.

“But the building often stops there. Freeway and highway upgrades, bus routes, railway lines, walking and cycle paths should all be built as part of the plan. But they are not, and the result is nightmare commutes and long drives to get to study, health services and sports facilities far from home.

“Growth is a national issue that the Albanese Government must urgently address, and the missing step is national coordination – with all levels of government working together to address the uneven distribution of people, jobs, houses and infrastructure.”

The NGAA is calling for a comprehensive national approach with all levels of government working together to address the unequal distribution of people, jobs, houses and infrastructure, he said.

“With another million houses to be built in the five years from 2024, Australia has an opportunity to learn from past mistakes, to build world-leading suburbs and provide the foundation for more than a million children in our areas to reach their full potential,” said Cr Deeth.

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