Why 5 million Australians can’t get to work, home or school on time
Australian cities are changing. You see that change in our newest outer suburbs and former country towns that now make up our commuter belt, where a third of the nation’s population growth has taken place over the past eight years. Here, up to 70 kilometres from the CBD, is where many have realised their dreams of home ownership, only to find the transport, hospitals, schools and other facilities Australians expect are lacking.
All levels of government have a role to play in driving infrastructure improvements. However, for nearly one fifth of Australia’s population, the federal government’s piecemeal approach to infrastructure investment is impacting their daily lives.
More than 1 million Australians have moved to the outer suburbs of our major cities since 2011. Yet despite accommodating 35 per cent of Australia’s population growth since then, the outer suburbs received just 13 per cent of federal infrastructure spending. The rate of investment has neither caught up nor kept pace with population growth.
A major study commissioned by the National Growth Area Alliance, comprising 21 councils on our major cities’ urban fringes, warns of a $70 billion backlog in funding for infrastructure within 15 years in these fast-growing outer suburbs, unless a significant policy shift occurs. The result would be deteriorating access to jobs and services, increased travel times and worsening social, economic and environmental costs.