Melbourne’s population closes gap on Sydney as new suburb planned – Herald Sun

The new suburb in Yarraville. Source: Herald Sun

UPDATE 10.50am: ENCOURAGING people to live in regional centres and parts of metropolitan Melbourne would help prevent the city’s population explosion creating urban sprawl, the Baillieu Government says.

Melbourne is experiencing a population surge, growing faster than any other Australian city, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal.

The figures show Melbourne’s population boon accounted for one third of the nation’s growth in 2009-10.

State Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the growth was sustainable if it was properly managed.

“It’s sustainable if we manage population growth and we actually manage where people are living and the places where growth will occur,” he said.

He said the government wanted to prevent urban sprawl by providing incentives for people to move to regional centres and metropolitan areas with good infrastructure and employment opportunities.

“I don’t think anyone believes that the city can grow to Warragul for example or Seymour or beyond,” he told ABC Radio this morning.

“We need to look at sites in and around the Melbourne metropolitan area and the city area clearly where there is very strong demand and where we can accommodate large population change and population growth around existing transport services, close to employment.”

Melbourne’s population increased by 79,000 last year to help push Australia’s population up by 257,800.

On our outer-suburban fringes, Wyndham (up 8.8%), Melton (7.1%), Cardinia (6.7%) and Whittlesea (6.1%) were the country’s four fastest-growing areas.

Overall, the growth rate of Australian capital cities dropped from 2.2 per cent in 2008-09 to 1.8 per cent in the most recent study.

Darwin’s growth slowed the most, followed by Perth.

The significant Melbourne growth rate now puts the city within 500,000 people of Sydney, that remains the country’s most populated city.

It is the first time in 30 years Melbourne’s population has come so close to Sydney’s, whose population increased by 75,600 people.

At June 30 last year Sydney had 4.575 million people to Melbourne’s 4.077 million.

It comes amid revelations a new mini-suburb is being created in Melbourne’s inner west.

About 1000 homes, a supermarket, library and medical centre will be built on the Bradmill factory site in Yarraville after the Baillieu Government fast-tracked a $1 billion development for an old industrial site.

The 26ha Yarraville Gardens Estate, 8km from the CBD and close to public transport, will form a new neighbourhood activity centre. It is bounded by Francis St, McIvor reserve, the West Gate Freeway and the Newport goods rail line.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said yesterday he had rezoned the project after long delays with the Brumby government.

“We believe this is a good site for inner-city urban renewal and we should get on with it,” he told the Herald Sun.

“We brought it forward in an attempt to build the supply that’s needed. It offers people on transport links close to the city the chance to live in a nice suburb with good facilities around it.”

Other inner-suburban sites earmarked for housing include Fishermans Bend, VicRoads in Kew and E-Gate in West Melbourne.

A Bill to set up a new urban renewal authority is expected before Parliament soon.

Mr Guy said approval of the Yarraville site complemented the Government’s move to increase land supply in outer growth areas.

“The Baillieu Government is delivering on its target to release 50,000 lots this year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Australand yesterday announced a new public and social housing estate on an 18ha site in Westmeadows, 17km northwest of the CBD.

The Valley Park redevelopment will include 230 private homes, 110 social housing dwellings and 35 aged-care units.