The Brumby Government’s proposals to further extend Melbourne’s urban growth boundary continues the sprawl into sensitive environments and makes the state capital a less sustainable, livable and affordable city, said Environment Victoria today.
Environment Victoria’s acting CEO Mark Wakeham said today’s package of announcements, including the alignment for a new major road project skirting the city, represented a failure by government to prepare the city for a low-carbon future.
“With a rapidly growing population we need to get serious about redeveloping our cities to increase density, provide sustainable transport alternatives and reduce greenhouse pollution,” he said.
“This is going to be very hard to do if our governments keep expanding the urban growth boundary. We’ll end up with a sprawl that stretches to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
“The government’s Melbourne 2030 plan, while not perfect, promoted sustainable development around transport hubs and activity districts to help consolidate urban growth. Today’s announcement flies in the face of that plan.”
Mr Wakeham said the Brumby Government’s own greenhouse modeling showed travel demand management was the second most important strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
“Expanding our city means that people living in these new suburbs will have even further to travel to access jobs, education and services,” he said.
“We haven’t yet delivered public transport options to our existing urban boundary let alone areas outside the boundary. The government should be placing a moratorium on developing new suburbs if they don’t have funded plans to roll out adequate public transport to these areas.
“These new communities will be forced into car dependence, locking in rising petrol costs and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Cheap housing is not cheap if you are spending hundreds of dollars a week on petrol as many Victorian households already are.”
Mr Wakeham said the transport developments included in the proposed package were a mixed bag.
“The Regional Rail Link is a welcome development to improve public transport in the west and we welcome new station reserves included in the package.” he said.
“However, the proposed ring road again makes Melbourne less sustainable and will increase emissions and fuel the outward expansion of the city.”
Mr Wakeham concluded: “The proposed new grasslands reserves are welcome but we share the concern of community groups worried about the fate of the green wedges and high conservation value grasslands within the new growth boundary.”
For further comments please contact Mark Wakeham on 0439 700 501 or Sacha Myers, media officer, on 0417 017 844.
For comments on the grasslands issues: Matt Ruchel, the Victorian National Parks Association, on 0418 357 813.