News

NGAA response to Grattan Institute's 'Remarkably Adaptive" report

The Grattan Institute has released a report stating, among other things, that population growth has had little to no impact on the average distance and duration of metropolitan Australians’ commute to work.   
 

The National Growth Area Alliance represents the 5 million people who live in Australia’s fast growing outer suburbs. That’s a lot of people, but they are not necessarily “average” and do not have the same everyday experience as people living in inner or middle suburbs of our capital cities. Australia’s fast growing outer suburbs are united by a set of distinct circumstances which need to be considered when planning infrastructure.
 

The NGAA’s understanding of commute distance and duration – built on data collected in the 2016 Census, studies by auto associations nationally and real-life community experiences gathered through 21 local government planning and consultation processes and our own National Nightmare Commute Day – is very different to the Grattan Institute’s.
 

We know that residents of the fast-growing outer suburbs travel further and spend more money getting to work than their middle or inner suburb counterparts. Census data shows, for example, the different experiences between living in Jordan Springs, a new suburb near Penrith in Sydney’s west and Berala, a middle ring suburb of Sydney. The Jordan Springs resident spends on average $109 travelling 165 km per week to work, while the Berala resident spends $51 traveling 78km.  
 

Thousands of commuters catalogued their commutes on social media during National Nightmare Commute Day. They documented their commutes of up to two hours each way, often stuck on heavily congested roads or overcrowded trains not designed to cope with the traffic caused by rapid population growth. They are travelling to jobs in their chosen profession which are located a long way from the suburbs where they can afford to live.
Despite the fact that Australia’s fast growing outer suburbs have the highest job growth rate (3.3% compared to capital city average of 2.4%) , the number of new jobs cannot keep pace with the number of people moving to new developments further away from established employment hubs.
 

In 2016 there were 1.52 million jobs located in Australia’s fast growing outer suburbs (12.1% of national employment, up from 9.6% in 2006). They are home to a workforce of 2.21 million people (18.7% of the national workforce, up from 14% a decade earlier).
 

While businesses are also growing rapidly, and new knowledge intensive industries are replacing traditional manufacturing, the pace is simply too slow. The solution is to encourage  more business, government, education and health employment hubs to be located where people already live - in the fast growing outer suburbs.
 

Some aspects of the Grattan Institute’s report have a disappointing tendency to reinforce negative and incorrect stereotypes about the outer suburbs (are five million people really ‘victims of urban sprawl’ ?) but there are also a number of areas of common ground with NGAA’s policy positions and research findings. These include the need for better planning and assessment of infrastructure projects, consideration of smaller scale infrastructure fixes and reinforcement of the opportunities provided by growth, including through migration.
 

It is time for Federal and State Governments to catch up with the fast growing outer suburbs. Communities and economies on the outskirts of our capital cities are booming – more than 2600 people move to an outer suburb every week and five million people are already there. Infrastructure planning and investment – from roads and trains through to schools and hospitals – needs to match that pace.

Back

More News

Unlocking the Potential of Outer Suburbs

13 . 06 . 2024

Established and emerging housing corridors in major Australian cities are brimming with potential for greenfield development, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for urban growth and sustainability. These growth areas are essential due to their abundant space, which allows for the creation of well-planned, thriving communities.

Read more

Growth Area Councils Leading the Way

05 . 06 . 2024

From best practice solutions to affordable and social housing to leading advocacy strategies, Australia's growth councils have once again demonstrated industry leading thinking. The NGAA awards were held on the 30 May and celebrated excellence and innovation from Australia's fastest growing outer metropolitan cities and suburbs. 

Read more

Experts to Discuss Innovative Solutions for Housing Crisis at Upcoming NGAA Congress

21 . 05 . 2024

As Australia grapples with a housing crisis, a new approach to tackling the shortage will be the focal point of the upcoming National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) Congress. The event, themed “Building Australia’s Newest Cities – A Model for the New Wave of Growth,” aims to foster innovative solutions and thought leadership to address this pressing issue.

Read more

Slow silos won’t solve housing headache. NGAA says ‘there is a better way!’

10 . 05 . 2024

The National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) welcomes Infrastructure Minister Catherine King's Western Sydney funding announcements in the lead up to the 2024/25 Budget release. While a step in the right direction, they must be matched by a coordinated response across and within State and Federal Governments. 

Read more