Outer Suburban/Interface Services and Development Committee: livability options in outer suburban Melbourne

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — I will begin where I left off the last time I spoke on the Outer Suburban/Interface Services and Development Committee’s report on its inquiry into livability options in outer suburban Melbourne. Today I would especially like to focus on chapter 4, ‘Planning for liveability in outer suburban Melbourne’.

Funding for infrastructure is a very important issue in the outer suburbs, and this report, which was tabled just before Christmas, sometimes makes a successful attempt at responding to some of the issues raised by the many people who came before our committee and spoke about infrastructure needs. At other times the report runs a million miles away from grasping the breadth of infrastructure needed in the outer suburbs.

One of the things the report does very well is provide very accurate figures about how Melbourne’s population has grown. Since the year 2000, Melbourne’s population has grown by over 600 000 people; this is more than any other capital city in Australia. Melbourne’s seven growth area councils have accounted for more than half of Melbourne’s population growth between 2001 and 2011. These growth rates are higher than anywhere else in Victoria.

Finding 2.6 of the report states:

Melbourne’s growth local government areas have accommodated a disproportionate amount of Melbourne’s population growth in recent years, which places significant pressure on existing infrastructure and has created strong demand for new infrastructure, which has not been met and should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The members of the committee worked very hard to come up with some plans for the future, but the minority report submitted by Ms Hutchins and me indicates that we had some concerns about the response of the report. The minority report states that:

By decreasing and delaying investment in infrastructure, an infrastructure gap is emerging that will significantly hurt the quality of life of people living and working in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

If you look at something like public transport, you will see that not one new bus service has been delivered in outer suburban Melbourne by the coalition government since it came to office. We know that people who live in the outer suburbs are crying out for better services and an increased frequency in bus services. It would be economically sensible and
environmentally wise to provide increased bus services in outer suburban Melbourne.

I would like to thank all the committee members for their hard work: the member for Seymour, the member for Keilor and Mr Ondarchie, a member for Northern Metropolitan Region in the other place. I would particularly like to thank the chair, Jan Kronberg, a member for Eastern Metropolitan Region in the other place, for her dutiful and inclusive
stewardship. I would like to thank the staff who supported the committee, Mr Nathan Bunt, Ms Charlotte Frew, Ms Natalie Mai-Holmes and, in more recent times, Mr Scott Martin and Dr Rosalind Hearder. It was a job well done given the cuts to committee resources.

The report has 50 findings and 132 recommendations. I call on the government to get its act together and respond in a timely and responsive manner to the report’s recommendations. As I said, some very hard work has gone into this report, and it requires the government to do something.

I note with some alarm that the Outer Suburban/Interface Services and Development Committee may be axed soon.

The people in the community, the businesses of the outer
suburbs and the councils in the interface areas really do see this committee as
a — —

Mr Morris — On a point of order, Deputy Speaker, I understand legislation has been foreshadowed on these matters, and I suspect that the member may be anticipating debate.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! I find difficulty in ruling on that. I am not aware of legislation on that matter.

Mr Morris — It was first read yesterday.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! It was first read yesterday? I ask the member to come back to the committee report.

Ms GRALEY— I ask that the committee not be shut down and that the people in the outer
suburbs be given a strong voice from both sides of this house in advocating for increased and improved infrastructure in the outer suburbs.