Affordability the key to west’s growth

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MELBOURNE’S OUTER western suburbs are set to become Australia’s biggest population growth areas in the next three decades, according to a leading demographer.
Spade Consultants director Chris McNeill says the area taking in Wyndham Vale through to Melton is a magnet for migrants and locals because of the availability of jobs and affordable land as well as its relative closeness to Melbourne’s central business district.
“It (the west) will become the biggest growth corridor in Australia over the next 25 to 30 years,’’ Mr McNeill says. “And its possible Melbourne will become the number one destination for overseas migrants, based on the availability of housing and employment, and its reputation as a highly live able city. At the moment Sydney has the highest number of migrants coming in. Many of these migrants settling in both Melbourne and Sydney come from India. India is now Australia’s biggest source of migrants, ahead of China.’’
The former policy adviser to the Victorian branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia says home and land buyers are drawn to the outer west in large part because it has “the majority of broad acre estates’’ in metropolitan Melbourne. Western suburbs with substantial new housing estates such as Werribee, Point Cook, Truganina, Tarneit, Caroline Springs and Williams Landing already have attracted big numbers of new residents.
“It (the west) offers affordable land and improving infrastructure including the Regional Rail Link which will provide suburban rail stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit,’’ he says. These stations are due to be operating from 2016, while Williams Landing station on the existing suburban rail network has been operational for some time.
“Tarneit in particular could prove to be one of the busiest rail stations in Melbourne,’’ Mr McNeill says.
He believes the only downside of this rapid population growth is that there may not be “adequate regional level infrastructure and government services’’ to match it.
“But there are a number of town centers starting to rise including Sunshine. Its day is coming.’’
Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale says Melbourne’s west will continue to grow because homebuyers including migrants “will go where they can afford to’’. “And they will move there subject to appropriate infrastructure being available,’’ Mr Dale says.’’

By Andrew Brasier

Published in The Indian Weekly (First Weekly Indian news Magazine in Melbourne, Australia)