Peri-urban municipalities call for help to manage growth

June 18, 2024 BY

The Surf Coast Shire has recorded a threefold increase in annual population growth on the back of regional inflows. Photo: GREAT OCEAN ROAD COAST AND PARKS AUTHORITY

A NEW report from the Regional Australia Institute shows people are leaving Melbourne and other big cities in large numbers for peri-urban municipalities such as the Surf Coast Shire.

Released last week, the Regional Movers Index (RMI) March 2024 quarter report identified Victoria’s peri-urban local government areas among Australia’s fastest growing regions, which has spurred Peri-Urban Councils Victoria (PUCV) to repeat its calls for a more equitable share of government funding.

The RMI report, which measures population shifts between the state capitals and the regions as well as region to region migration, showed growth in Victoria’s peri-urban communities – defined as those immediately next to Melbourne and Geelong – was some of the fastest in the nation.

The Surf Coast Shire was ranked the fourth-highest hotspot for growth across Australia, with Golden Plains Shire ranked fifth in people moving from other regions, and Moorabool Shire the fourth-most popular destination in Australia for people moving from capital cities.

“PUCV members are now in the position that growth suburbs found themselves in a decade ago in regard to land supply, housing supply and infrastructure provision,” PUCV chair and Baw Baw Shire councillor Michael Leaney said.

“However we do not have the same level of support as the growth councils, peri-urban councils need a plan and we also need funding as a matter of urgency.

“The financial capacity of local governments to appropriately invest in the enabling infrastructure and services needs action by the state and federal governments.

“This report shows that the growth is happening today, the longer we let this gap grow the greater the challenge will be tomorrow.”

PUCV recently published a report containing several key recommendations to state and federal government regarding peri-urban housing and infrastructure, under the four broad themes of placemaking, job creating tourism assets, digital connectivity and transport connectivity.

Recommendations include for the Victorian government to increase the value of the Growing Suburbs Fund by 25 per cent, and for the federal government to increase and provide continuous rounds of funding for the Building Better Regions Fund.

To read the full report, head to periurban.org.au/submissions/policy-priorities-2024

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