The state of Australia's growth areas and government policy

The outer suburbs are different - and still growing

Growth areas are home to 5.3 million people - 20% of Australia's population. They are growing more than twice as fast as the rest of the nation. The growth areas population increased by 34% in the past decade while Australia's population grew by just 14.9%.

The outer suburbs have specific demographic characteristics and unmet needs distinct from CBDs and regions. Read more... 

A National Urban Policy

We've long called for policy leadership, supported by long term funding commitments, to catch up with population growth. This year, we are closer to achieving that goal. NGAA's CEO, Bronwen Clark was appointed in 2023 to the new Urban Policy Forum by the Hon Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure. The Forum is an opportunity to ensure that the concerns and ambitions of outer urban growth areas are at the heart of our nation's cities and urban policy. Read more...

Four Growth Area Priorities

1 Leadership for climate adapted, resilient suburbs

Our capital cities need better planning and investment that supports distributing infrastructure, jobs and housing more evenly across entire metropolitan areas. Outer suburban development as it is currently delivered is not sustainable. The NGAA is calling for cross-sectoral, tri-level commitment to well planned, climate adapted, resilient suburbs - we are calling for Suburbia 3.0. Read more...

2 Infrastructure to transform outer suburban communities

Growth areas infrastructure is underfunded and communities are under serviced. The decade-long population boom in the outer suburbs and social inequties highlighted during the pandemic bring lessons for government. The NGAA urges the Federal Government to commit to long term, evidence-based funding of outer suburban infrastructure and to address transport inequity in growth areas. Read more...

3 Realising the economic potential of growth areas

Australia’s growth areas are a key economic asset, with a 2.2 million-strong workforce, large tracts of land ready to be transformed into industrial, manufacturing and high employment zones and a track record of business growth. Reducing barriers to education and employment will support more outer suburban residents to participate in the economy. Expanding growth area economics requires a multi-pronged approach, with targeted investment to unlock sustainable economic growth that builds off population growth. Read more...

4 Invest in community resilience and social capital

Social infrastructure supports Australia's economy, liveability and sustainability. Timely delivery of new social infrastructure is integral to the success of Australia's growing communities, especially as climate change and disasters exacerbate existing disadvantage. Growth area councils are continually seeking to engage with state and federal infrastructure planners to better sequence delivery of these vital servies with housing developments . Read more...

The local face of the national growth areas story

Mayors and Councillors on the impact of Covid and population growth around the country.

Four priorities for growth areas.


NGAA policy pillars

Our advocacy is based on four policy pillars for future policy and investment decisions to support growth areas and the nation.

  • Growth area communities – under the radar with underfunded infrastructure
  • Revitalise Australia’s economic engine room in the outer suburbs
  • Community recovery and resilience in Australia’s suburban heartland
  • Understand the unique circumstances of growth area communities
  • Well-planned sustainable development optimising community and liveability, not developer profit margins

Each year we review our Policy Platform to reflect changes in the legislative, political, planning and delivery environment. Read our most recent Policy Platform here.

Our Advocacy Campaigns

Catch Up with The Outer Suburbs

In the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election, residents of fast growing outer suburbs called on politicians to Catch Up with the outer suburbs with roads, transport and community facilities to keep pace with our booming communities.

National Nightmare Commute Day

Our hallmark national event gives residents of fast-growing outer suburbs the chance to share their #nightmarecommute stories on social media. In 2016, 2017 and 2019, #nightmarecommute trended during the morning peak hour, and received widespread national media coverage. Watch our videos here.