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Growth Areas and the 2022 Federal Election

20 May 2022

As growth area councils know all too well, Australia’s politicians are still playing catch up with the vital infrastructure and services needed by the 5.2 million people who live in a fast-growing outer suburb. Unfortunately, it’s no game for growth area residents living without accessible travel networks, healthcare, local jobs or vital social infrastructure.
 
During the election campaign, we have shared our research showing that these shortcomings are contributing to people in the outer suburbs experiencing some of the highest levels of financial stress and mental health problems nationwide. Our next research report will provide evidence of the benefits of infrastructure investment in growth area communities.
 
The focus on housing affordability this election means that regardless which party gets the chance to implement their housing policies, continued housing market stimulus will impact on the outer suburban population boom. Without urgent federal government action, the outer suburban infrastructure and services deficit will grow.
 
Since 2019, an extra 216,000 new homes have been built in growth areas. Wyndham Council in Melbourne’s southwest grew almost three times as quickly as that of metropolitan Melbourne in 2019-20. South-east Queensland’s outer-suburban Moreton Bay and Ipswich had Australia’s highest net population increase through 2020/21.
 
The Western Parkland City in Sydney’s west is projected to house 1.7 million new residents by 2036. In this region, the suburb of Camden is experiencing the highest growth rate in Australia, with 200 new residents moving in the area every week. Growth areas around Adelaide and Perth experience similar pressures.
 
During the election campaign, the NGAA has focused on the broad policy areas of infrastructure, cities policy, jobs and training, and community services. These are the big issues that we will take up with whoever forms government after the election.
 
Our research pinpointed four national priorities for growth areas which we have shared with politicians in meetings and conferences over the past year, and in a communique signed by growth area Mayors in March:
1. A Minister for Growth Areas
2. Transformational infrastructure in outer urban growth areas
3. Support the outer suburban workforce and industries
4. Community recovery and resilience in the outer suburbs.
 
We are advocating for policy and funding decisions with a long-term, considered impact on growth areas. In the lead up to the election, we are pleased with significant commitments from both major parties in line with our national priorities, including some major infrastructure commitments.
 
Whichever party wins government after tomorrow, we will hold them accountable for their election promises and work with them for better policy outcomes for the 5.2 million Australians living in the outer suburbs.
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