Melbourne’s interface councils are warning that significant pockets of isolation and disadvantage are being created in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, where liveability is falling behind the rest of the state.
The Interface Councils group, which comprises the 10 municipalities that form a ring around metropolitan Melbourne, including Wyndham, Melton, Whittlesea and Hume, have released a liveability snapshot outlining the service and infrastructure gaps in the outer suburbs.
The region is home to 1.5 million people.
The group says that interface residents are living with significantly less services and infrastructure than people in inner or middle Melbourne, and in some cases, even regional areas. The councils have criticised the state Labor and Liberal parties for failing to address the shortfalls.
According to the report, which was released in Parliament recently, the average unemployment rate in the outer suburbs in 6.9 per cent – 1.1 per cent above the state average.
Interface areas are also lacking in local job opportunities, with the percentage of jobs available in outer suburbs just 62.5 per cent, compared to the state average of 93.4 per cent.
The report found that interface residents are also facing the longest commutes in the state, with one in five people travelling more than two hours each day for work.
Psychological and mortgage stress is also on the increase in the outer suburbs.
Interface Councils spokesman Cr Peter Clarke said the snapshot reveals startling figures that the state government should be deeply concerned by.
“The situation has been created by years of solid growth. Last year’s [state] budget saw the largest increase in government spending in the outer suburbs but this follows 16 years of budget drought,” he said.
“Gaps in infrastructure and services need more than just sporadic funding support.
“There have been two Parliamentary Inquiries and two Victorian Auditor General’s Officer reports in the last nine years highlighting the problem and no party has developed and supported a comprehensive policy to address the infrastructure and service shortfall identified in the reports.”