Media Release


Melbourne Traffic Jam Highlights the Importance of the Fringe and Regional Development



The recent closure of the CityLink Burnley and Domain Tunnels, resulting in traffic chaos throughout Melbourne, has highlighted the importance of developing employment centres in the fringe suburbs and regional Victoria, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) said today ahead of its State Conference in Geelong. 


Tony De Domenico
Executive Director 

Executive Director of the UDIA (VIC) Tony De Domenico said, "With congestion in Melbourne estimated to be costing around $3 billion a year now and jumping to $6 billion by 2020, just eight years away, it is clear that Melbourne could become more like a big car park than the most liveable city in the world unless urgent funding is found.

"One has to ask the question - why public infrastructure such as roads, tunnels or public transport cannot be financed in part from carbon tax credits as they all will help reduce carbon pollution. This is a better outcome for Australia instead of the funds from the carbon tax going overseas which has no benefit to the communities and industries who are paying the carbon tax?

"There is also the opportunity to introduce Invest in Victoria Government Infrastructure Bonds and allow people to invest in Victoria's infrastructure with a reasonable rate of return and a special tax treatment providing for a triple bottom line return to the Government, community and investors."

Mr De Domenico said it is quite clear with Victoria's population expected to grow from 5.6 million to 7.3 million over the next 20 years the congestion issue and vulnerability of Victoria's economy related to infrastructure failure will increase.

"The reality is we are behind with infrastructure, both in the CBD and inner Melbourne suburbs as well as new greenfield areas, which means that attention needs to be given to both and there needs to be a refined approach to maximise the funding we need to raise and how it is spent.

"Whilst the development of more residential opportunities within the CBD of Melbourne and inner city suburbs has some positive impacts of utilising existing infrastructure, building up the economic base of central Melbourne and providing the choice for people to live in the city economically at around $500,000 to $600,000, it is well out of the reach of first home buyers.

"With the expected growth to be strongest in the fringe areas of Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Whittlesea and Wyndham, these are the areas we see need to be fast tracked with business opportunities to provide work locally with the establishment of appropriate infrastructure and incentives to attract industries and businesses.

"Long term the regional cities of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Latrobe Valley, Shepparton, Mildura, Wodonga and Warrnambool should also be given strategic high priority," Mr De Domenico said.

"All of these areas should be designated as areas with special policy frameworks in relation to investment and planning, which has now under review to ensure local communities can maximise opportunities for investment and employment.

"The current review of the Victorian Planning Scheme should streamline processes and time lines and will be fundamental in the success of future planning of these special growth areas."

Mr De Domenico said, "Whilst the State Government has demonstrated it's willingness to support such policies with re-locating the TAC to Geelong, the overall strategy needs to be supported by the private sector and investment from the Government of State raised taxes to be implemented as part of the Victorian Government strategy.

"With current funding difficulties and the need to move on projects in Victoria it is important that the Federal Government immediately lift its GST contribution to Victoria to reflect the amount it is collecting from the Victorian community.

Mr. De Domenico said, "The spreading of the population is often branded the Urban Sprawl by people and groups who fail to comprehend that Victoria's population is growing and people need to live somewhere, and whilst bringing some challenges it also brings advantages.

"The environmental sense of spreading the population is often not appreciated by those who attack greenfield development as it spreads pressure on the environment, infrastructure and facilities."

"The fact that many families who locked out of home ownership in the CBD, inner and middle ring suburbs, are able to gain a foothold in the property market in the outer suburbs where they can raise a family with a backyard and open space is a fundamental rite of passage.

"Behind every home stands the aspirations of the homeowners to own their own home and secure their future and that of their family. Also behind each home stands the employment and job security of over 310,000 Victorians with the development industry contributing $4.6 billion in taxes and charges annually to all levels of Government.

Mr De Domenico said, "The City of Geelong, a nominated Central Activity Area in the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy, is one of the best examples of a regional area which is being developed to cope with population expansion and the resulting demand for residential housing with projects such as Armstrong Creek."

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Corporate Media Communications, UDIA (VIC) - Mobile: 0417 329 201