Presentation: Victoria's population growth issues and how to deal with them

Speaking at the Victorian Planning Institute Symposium in Melbourne today, Terry Rawnsley, SGS National Leader of Economic & Social Analysis described the issues we currently face with population growth in Victoria and how we might positively deal with them.

In the recession of the early 1990s, the Melbourne economy was battered more extensively than the rest of Australia. The industrial heartland of the city contracted sharply which had a range of flow on economic effects. There was heavy migration out of the so-called rust-belt of Melbourne. However, for the past 20 years, Victoria’s population growth has exceeded all estimates. So what has changed?

City building infrastructure played a significant role in the transformation to a knowledge-intensive economy. Postcode 3000 helped to revitalise the city. Southbank and Docklands provided the Central Business District with “Greenfields“ to accommodate the jobs in knowledge-intensive industries. Road projects such as the CityLink, EastLink and the Western Ring Road helped to improve connectivity within the city.

These factors have produced agglomeration economies which have attracted high levels of skilled labour to the city and enabled high productivity firms to flourish. This has helped to create a diverse and nimble knowledge-intensive economy. Much of the increased population has been housed in inner suburbs and the fringe growth areas. Inevitably, access to jobs is uneven across Melbourne, with growth areas having poor access to jobs and services. This creates a transport challenge, which has economic and social challenges.

Melbourne will continue to grow and could reach between 7.5 and 9.0 million people over the next 35 years. To continue to advance Melbourne, a new generation of reforms and enhancements needs to be adopted. The next generation of reforms will have to ensure a well connected, higher density metropolis with a focus on growing the highly productive environment. This will require improved transport links (e.g. Metro 2, Road Pricing, City Loop Reconfiguration) to overcome the congestion which will accompany increased population and employment growth and more intensive development in existing suburbs.

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Like to know more? Contact Terry Rawnsley on telephone + 61 3 8616 0331 or via LinkedIn.