MEDIA RELEASE - Friday May 8, 2020
Australia’s outer urban growth areas need immediate and long-term economic stimulus to prevent a ticking time bomb of mortgage defaults with up to half a million households at risk. Sixteen of the top 20 areas for mortgage stress are in growth areas, along with forecasts of up to half a million residents unemployed. Five million people – a fifth of the population - live in Australia’s outer suburbs. They already experience financial stress, high transport costs, long commutes and limited access to the services and facilities that others take for granted.
The National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) is today calling on the Federal Government and National Cabinet to urgently prioritise infrastructure projects and other stimulus measures in growth areas, regardless of when restrictions are eased.
“Piling massive unemployment and economic loss onto already disadvantaged communities would be a disaster,” said NGAA Chair, Cr Matt Deeth (Mayor of Wollondilly Council, NSW).
“We must prioritise growth areas in economic stimulus allocations or risk further entrenching significant disadvantage, through mass mortgage defaults, higher unemployment, reduced access to affordable housing and worsening infrastructure deficits.”
“The COVID-19 economic shock will have a disproportionate effect on growth areas because of our reliance on the hardest hit employment sectors, and the prominence of already-vulnerable communities,” said Cr Deeth.
High Risk Factors facing one fifth of Australia’s population living in outer urban areas
Fast-tracking major infrastructure projects and directing existing funding streams such as the Urban Congestion Fund to growth areas will create local jobs, help address the existing infrastructure deficit in growth areas and stimulate residential housing development.
“Councils in growth areas also need financial assistance from Federal and State Governments to continue responding to the drastically increased need for help from newly vulnerable communities and small businesses,” said Cr Deeth.
“Supporting a strong residential construction sector with planning, land tax changes and by addressing the shortage of social and affordable housing is also important. Population growth won’t stop just because overseas migration is on hold. Growth areas have high birth rates and will continue to attract new residents.”
The NGAA represents Councils from outer urban growth areas around Australia’s major cities, home to more than 5 million people. www.ngaa.org.au
Bronwen Clark, Executive Officer
0448 401 257
Cr Matt Deeth, NGAA Chair, Mayor of Wollondilly Shire Council
042 833 5743
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