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“This budget contains some significant first steps in what must be a long-term, concerted effort by the Federal government to address both the many challenges and opportunities of rapid population growth,” said the Alliance’s Chair, Mayor Glenn Docherty.

“It is with a sense of relief that we welcome the Government’s commitment to invest in long-overdue infrastructure in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth for which we have been advocating for years. But these commitments can only be seen as the first step in what needs to a long-term plan to make sure population growth leads to prosperous, liveable and affordable suburbs.

“We welcome the long-awaited full electrification of the Gawler rail line in Adelaide’s north, which will increase capacity, provide faster, safer and greener transport in an area where the population is expected to double by 2036.

“We also welcome the Government’s commitment to pay for vital roads and rail projects in Perth, including the Metronet extension in Perth’s south east where the population is growing at unprecedented rates,” he said.

The Alliance has welcomed the $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund, aligning the new commitment with its calls for dedicated funding for infrastructure in growth areas.

“Despite a lack of detail in the Budget papers, the Urban Congestion Fund has the potential to address the enormous traffic congestion problems in growth areas, which led us to create National Nightmare Commute Day.”

The Alliance has long advocated for the Federal Government to take a leadership role in coordinating a planned response to population growth.

“The key role the Federal Government has played in negotiating – and now implementing - the Western Sydney City Deal, proves that a coordinated approach works, and must be applied to other growth areas where a long-term plan is desperately needed.

“Melbourne’s outer suburbs are experiencing the fastest growth in the country. For example, 8000 people moved to the City of Casey last year, and the City of Wyndham’s population has recently overtaken the City of Geelong. Despite that, Melbourne’s growth areas have, disappointingly, been largely overlooked in this Budget.

“The National Growth Areas Alliance will continue to push for long-term dedicated funding for fast growing outer suburbs. It is vital that the Federal Government maintains its focus on growth areas – before our populations double again,” Mayor Docherty said.

Media Contact: Bronwen Clark 0448 401 257 bronwen.clark@ngaa.org.au

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