Australia’s population boom forces Melbourne to expand – but property owners will be slugged

Australia’s record population growth is causing headaches as state governments struggle to cater for an influx of new residents.

Australia’s record population growth is causing headaches as state governments struggle to cater for an influx of new residents.

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show Australia’s population grew by 359,000 to 21,374,000 for the year ending 30 June – the biggest annual increase ever.

The release of the data coincided with an announcement that land outside the Melbourne metropolitan area will be released for development, after the Victorian Government announced it must expand the city’s boundaries to cope with a growing population.

It also says Melbourne’s population will grow by 1.8 million to five million in 2036, and 134,000 new homes must be built west of the city to cope with demand. A further 500,000 homes will be built in already existing areas.

Landowners in the revised boundaries will be charged $95,000 per hectare as contributions to infrastructure costs, which must be paid when the land is sold after boundary changes have been finalised.

But Victorian Premier John Brumby says the charges are similar to the $80,000 per hectare charges payable during boundary changes in 2005.

The population forecasts are twice that of former premier Steve Bracks’s Melbourne 2030 plan, which envisioned apartment-based developments to halt urban sprawl. It is the second time in a year the Government has updated its growth forecasts.

The plan to expand the city’s boundaries will also create business hubs outside the CBD, with investment projects planned for Broadmeadows, Box Hill, Dandenong, Frankston, Footscray and Ringwood.

Brumby says the move is, “a big change from the kind of planning models you have seen in place for Melbourne in the past”.

“We are attracting record numbers of new citizens, more than anyone imagined even five years ago. We are seeing fewer Victorians moving interstate and higher birth rates are also contributing to the growth of our population.”

Bureau of Statistics data reveals Victoria’s population has grown faster than Queensland’s in the first half of 2008. The numbers show Victoria’s population grew by 51,481 compared to Queensland’s 51,121 in the year ending 30 June 2008.



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