Melbourne 2050: meeting needs of 6 million

What Melbourne will need as the city adds two million residents by 2050.
What Melbourne will need as the city adds two million residents by 2050.

HUNDREDS of new primary schools, childcare centres and parks will be needed by 2050 to cater for Melbourne's booming population, a detailed planning report has revealed.

The new infrastructure needs will include eight new hospitals, 67 secondary schools, 125 new maternal and child health centres and 222 kindergartens.

By 2050, Melbourne's population is expected to increase half again, an extra 2 million from the current 4.1 million.

The infrastructure report funded by the government and several growth area councils, called Planning for Community Infrastructure in Growth Areas, outlines specific population triggers to guide the delivery of new services.

For a new government primary school it is one school per 8000-10,000 people, for a library it is one per 30,000 to 60,000 residents.

The population triggers do not include time limits, so those first to a new area have no guarantee when the required population and services will arrive.

Greg Drake, from planning consultants Urbis, said delivering infrastructure to new communities had improved.

''At the local level there's benchmarks for things like schools, children's services facilities, kindergartens, childcare centres … And at the more broad regional level there's benchmarks for hospitals, arts facilities, sports facilities, aquatic centres,'' he said.

But the planning triggers do not include new transport infrastructure such as train stations.

''It [transport]) fits into the basket of things where there are lots of promises made and suggestions made but where the funding becomes increasingly difficult,'' he said.

Mr Drake said Melbourne would see a shift towards shared facilities, such as school libraries, and co-located childcare and kindergarten facilities.

Bill Forrest, director of advocacy with Wyndham City Council in Melbourne's west, said there was a limit to a council's ability to respond to rapid population growth.

Wyndham is one of Australia's fastest growing municipalities and Mr Forrest said it was impossible to keep up with infrastructure and service demands when more than 3000 housing lots a year were sold.

''At one stage we got up to 5500,'' he said.

''Council can't cope above 3000 and the state can cope even less.

''They [the state government] have not kept up with schools, they have not kept up with arterial roads, more than 50 per cent of Point Cook is more than 400 metres from a bus stop,'' he said. Mr Drake said the area was targeted for an additional 100,000 homes and ''one to two schools a year need to be built''.

He said there had to be greater management of new housing. ''If you have 35 different growth fronts going at once, you can't possibly manage it.''

City of Casey Mayor Amanda Stapledon said Casey was one of the largest and fastest growing municipalities in the country, with more than 6000 new residents moving in each year, and an expected population of 450,000 by 2036.

She said while the council had strategies to cope, ''The federal and state governments have an important role to play by investing in key infrastructure in a timely manner; such as schools, hospitals, major roads, more frequent bus services, train stations, regional open space facilities and community facilities.''

This story Melbourne 2050: meeting needs of 6 million first appeared on The Age.