Plan Melbourne is the topic we take up with Michael Yardney. The Melbourne population is tipped to almost double to 8 million people by 2051.
So how will the city cope and will it continue to be awarded as the most liveable city?
Kevin: A few weeks ago on the show, I was talking to Nerida Conisbee about what’s happening in Melbourne in terms of the Victorian government there trying to make housing more affordable.
Affordability is one of those discussions we’re going to have ongoing.
But look, no doubt, we have to focus on Melbourne, because there’s a lot of activity about what’s happening in the area there in terms of developing new property.
The Plan Melbourne forecast released recently shows an interesting insight as to what’s going to happen in that capital city. Michael Yardney joins me to talk about that.
Michael, tell me a little bit about Plan Melbourne. What’s on the drawing board, and is it likely to have an impact?
Michael: Kevin, the Victorian government has revisited and revised its Plan Melbourne because the Melbourne population is forecast to grow from 4.5 million to almost 8 million by 2051. In fact, Victoria’s total population will be 10 million.
Now, this is going to create some interesting social and infrastructure challenges.
In particular, our network is going to cope with 10 million more trips a day, an increase of up to 80% in the next just over 30 years. And we’re going to have to create another 1.5 million jobs for a changing workforce.
One of the problems is Melbourne has been voted six years in a row as the world’s most livable city. How is it going to keep that mantle as we grow, Kevin? That’s going to be a challenge.
Kevin: Michael, how many new houses are we going to require?
Michael: The forecast suggests 1.6 million homes, but more importantly, we’re going to need to build the type of property that people want to live in and in the locations they want to live in, because currently we’re building probably too much of the wrong thing – too many new off-the-plan, high-rise blocks in the inner city, and we’re building a lot of new homes in the outer suburbs.
But with all those new trips that are going to be required with the difficulty of our transport infrastructure coping, the challenge is going to be to build a lot of those properties in the middle-ring suburbs.
Kevin: That’ll probably bring about a few objections, Michael, I would have thought.
Michael: Boy, will it, Kevin, because it suggests that 70% of the new dwellings are going to be built in the existing suburbs, and that is going to affect those people we call NIMBYs, those who say, “Yes, I’m happy to have Melbourne grow, but not in my back yard.” We’re seeing already more of those big signs in people’s front gardens from Save Our Suburbs saying things along the lines of “We oppose new development.”
I think we’re going to be in for some interesting times. But Kevin, the studies show that while Melbourne has grown considerably in the last 30 years, it is actually these rich Baby Boomer NIMBYs forcing the Millennials into the outer suburbs, because they haven’t allowed much development at all.
While a lot of development has occurred in the inner suburbs and the outer suburbs, very little in the leafy green middle ring. But that’s where the good schools are, that’s where the good infrastructure is, that’s where the amenities are, and that’s where all the next generation wants to live.
Kevin: I guess we’re just going to have to get used to a changing environment, aren’t we?
Michael: We are. Interestingly, we are nowhere near as dense as a lot of other big cities, but Melbourne and Sydney are both international capital cities, and there definitely is room for densification. Let us hope our politicians get the infrastructure right to make our cities remain as livable as they are.
Michael: My pleasure, Kevin.