Funding for road upgrades and better public transport in Whittlesea and Hume’s rapidly growing suburbs have topped council wishlists ahead of the state budget on May 2.
The wishlists come as new ABS data reveals that South Morang and Craigieburn-Mickleham are two of the three fastest growing suburbs in the country, with more than 4000 people moving to them last year.
Whittlesea council wants the budget to include money to improve choked roads, especially Epping and Bridge Inn roads. The council has listed the roads and the O’Herns Road interchange with the Hume Freeway as its highest priorities ahead of the budget.
It would also like for Yan Yean, Findon, Childs, and Plenty roads and Craigieburn Road East to be duplicated.
The wishlist comes as close to 1000 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the state government to address the “dire state” of Whittlesea’s roads as a matter of urgency.
The group – Dire state of infrastructure in Northern suburbs of Melbourne – was created seven weeks ago by a group of residents fed up with traffic congestion in the northern suburbs.
Mernda resident and group administrator Anna Graham said she feared the area was being left behind.
“Driving from Mernda to Bundoora can take hours on a bad day because of the sheer number of people trying to get on the ring road at Plenty Road,” she said. “We need the government to act now.”
Whittlesea council is also hoping the budget will provide money to acquire the final parcels of land required to extend the rail line to Epping North and Wollert, as well as funding the tram route 86 extension from Bundoora to South Morang station.
Hume council has listed the duplication of Craigieburn, Mickleham and Somerton roads as its highest priorities.
Mayor Drew Jessop said it was essential Hume received adequate support from the government to meet the demands of a rapidly growing community.
“Council is also in communication with state governments to advocate for other council priorities, including increased parking at Craigieburn and Sunbury train stations to meet increased commuter demand and 22 new schools in the northern corridor over the next two decades,” he said.