A Liveable Whittlesea !

Introduction

Melbourne has been declared the most liveable city in the world for the seventh year running.i It has been the economic powerhouse, cultural capital and the population growth hotspot of Australia in recent times. However this tremendous growth has taken place largely on the outskirts of Melbourne. The outer suburbs of Melbourne have accommodated almost 45 % of the state’s growth.ii This has significantly strained the existing infrastructure and services in the region, widening the liveability gap between Melbourne’s inner and outer suburbs on a range of indicators. In the last few years, the state government has made significant investments to build infrastructure and services in the outer suburbs to reduce this gap. The Whittlesea Community Futures (WCF) Partnership is highly appreciative of this. This investment in the outer suburbs needs to continue and significant investment is still required to bridge this gap.

The Interface Councils Region (ICR)

The Interface Councils are a coalition of 10 municipalities that form an urban ring around metropolitan Melbourne, including City of Whittlesea in Melbourne’s North. It is home to more than 1.6 million residentsii and has done the heavy lifting in accommodating the population growth of metropolitan Melbourne. Urgent action and significant investment is needed to close the gap and to ensure residents in the ICR are able to enjoy the same access to schools, health services, public transport, road networks, community facilities and local jobs.

City of Whittlesea

The City of Whittlesea is located on Melbourne’s metropolitan fringe, 20km north of the CBD. It is a large municipality of 490 square kilometres with established urban, growth and rural areas. Its current population of 223,566 is expected to reach 365,099 by 2038.iii

The City of Whittlesea:

  • Was the fourth largest and sixth fastest growing LGA in Victoria, in 2016/17 FY.iv
  • Was the ninth largest and fastest growing LGA in Australia, in 2016/17 FY.iv
  • Is home to the second largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders population in Metropolitan Melbourne.v
  • Has the sixth largest population (44%) of non-English speakers, as a percentage of LGA population.vi

The Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership

The Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership (WCF) consists of more than 60 multidisciplinary agencies including the City of Whittlesea, human service organisations, and community based organisations. It is a united, cross-sector planning and advocacy body working to improve the well-being of local communities.

We, the Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership, request that all parties taking part in the Victorian state election consider the below requests, state their commitment, and act when in in a position to do so, in order to improve the liveability of the outer suburbs.

Access the WCF Partnership State Election 2018 Advocacy Brochure here.

Endorse the Interface Council's Liveability Policy

The WCF Partnership fully endorses the Interface Councils’ Liveability Policy. The Policy aims to address the liveability issues facing the region’s residents by providing a framework for:

  • Vibrant spaces and places
  • Housing that works
  • Healthy communities
  • Moving people
  • Access to local jobs

It provides solutions that will help to better manage growth and address the issues that are impacting the daily lives of the Whittlesea residents. Further, it outlines a suite of policy opportunities that the WCF Partnership believes will have a positive impact on liveability and improve the quality of life for people living in Whittlesea and in other interface councils.

Access the Interface Councils Liveability Policy here.

Homes for all - Deliver Social and Affordable Housing to our Community

Unmet housing need is a significant driver of disadvantage. The Interface Councils Liveability Policy clearly identifies this need in the outer suburban region. There is an acute short supply of social and affordable housing in particular in Melbourne’s north.

One opportunity that has been identified for social and affordable housing is at 323 McDonalds Road, Epping. It is located within the Plenty Valley Town Centre and is well serviced by public transport, shops, education, and recreation facilities. This site is owned by the State Government and provides an exciting opportunity for the state government to lead and support high quality affordable, accessible and adaptable housing. The site offers an opportunity to build an integrated social and affordable housing precinct with a minimum of 10 % of the development being social housing. It will help reduce the social and affordable housing gap and provide the most vulnerable members of the City of Whittlesea community with the possibility of adequate and stable housing.

Access the Homes for All advocacy brief here.

Partner in a Health and Wellbeing Hub in Mernda

The Interface Council’s Liveability Policy emphasizes the need for a $250 million funding injection into the interface councils regions to bring the health and human services standards on par with the inner city suburbs. The WCF Partnership has identified a need for a Health and Human Services Hub in the Mernda Town Centre to cater to the growing demands of the northern growth corridor. As part of the ongoing developments, the City of Whittlesea is to receive a significant portion of land in the Mernda Town Centre close to the new Mernda train station and is willing to make it available for the development of a health and human services hub. The State Government is requested to be a part of a collaborative partnership initiative between the local government, state government and a range of health and human service providers to ensure the Hub meets the fast growing needs of the Mernda community as well as the surrounding communities.

Access the Health and Wellbeing Hub - Mernda fact sheet here.

Safer and More Responsible Pokies - Support Pokies Play Whittlesea

The City of Whittlesea is home to four of Victoria’s top 10 venues for poker machine losses. Last year alone, our community lost $103 million on pokies. In City of Whittlesea residents lose $293,000 to pokies every day. This is having a devastating impact on our families. The WCF Partnership supports the City of Whittlesea and the Alliance for Gambling Reform in efforts to better regulate the gambling industry and reduce harm to the community.

We request that the State Government:

  • Endorses the 2018 Victorian Election Policy Summary of the Alliance for Gambling Reform.
  • Redesigns poker machine to reduce harmful, misleading, deceptive and addictive nature of the machines.
  • Introduces $1 maximum bets per spin with maximum $120 losses per hour as recommended by the Productivity Commission.
  • Addresses losses being disguised as wins and fake ‘near misses’.
  • Reduces spin rates.
  • Commits to reduction in the operating hours of pokies venues from the current level of 20 hours a day.
  • Commits to reducing the City of Whittlesea municipal limit on poker machines from 411 back to the pre- September 2017 limit of 212.

Access the Pokies Play Whittlesea factsheet here

Reference

  1. The Economist Intelligence Unit Liveability Index. Accessed June 2018.
    https://www.eiu.com/public/topical_report.aspx?campaignid=Liveability17
  2. Interface Councils Liveability Policy – June 2018
  3. Forecast.id (2018). City of Whittlesea Population Forecasts. Accessed May 2018:
    http://forecast.id.com.au/whittlesea
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018). Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016-17 (cat. no. 3218.0). Accessed May 2018:
    http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3218.0Main+Features12016- 17?OpenDocument
  5. Statistical Data for Victorian Communities (2018). Profile of Indigenous Residents – Municipal Comparison. Accessed May 2018:
    http://www.greaterdandenong.com/document/18464/statistical-data-for-victorian-communities
  6. Victorian Multicultural Commission. 2016 Census - Local Government Areas Report. Accessed June 2018
    https://www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/images/2016_Census/LGProfiles/3-Victoria-Overview-charts-and-maps-30May18.PDF
  7. Profile.id (2018). City of Whittlesea Community Profile. Accessed in June 2018.
    https://profile.id.com.au/whittlesea/industries
  8. City of Whittlesea (2018), Our Community Urgently needs: Pokies Reform, advocacy fact sheet.


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