By Esther Lauaki
Wyndham’s population is expected to balloon past half a million people within the next 20 years, according to new forecasts.
Figures released by forecast analysts, .id, show that by 2040 Wyndham’s population will surge past half a million people, and by 2041 it will be 512,591.
Wyndham Mayor Josh Gilligan said this growth would only increase the need for governments to close the infrastructure and services gap between Wyndham and other areas.
“This is the first time ever that forecasts have shown Wyndham’s population will reach 500,000 people. That’s a growth of 88 per cent on today’s population,” Cr Gilligan said.
“We are already growing at almost triple the rate of regional hubs Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo combined. Previously it was predicted that our population would reach 480,000 people by 2041. Now that data shows that we will hit that number three years earlier than expected.
“This will make us almost as big as Tasmania is today, larger than Canberra and almost four times the size of Ballarat and Bendigo.
“This year alone there will be 4999 babies born in Wyndham, compared to 3075 in Geelong.
“We simply can’t continue to grow at this rate without significant State and Federal Government investment in major infrastructure projects.
“The Federal Government has already flagged the possibility of a North West City Deal…and, with a population that is growing so fast, Wyndham needs to be part of those discussions.”
He said Wyndham had already been feeling the sting of population growth for many years.
“We have the highest proportion of people in Victoria who spend two or more hours commuting to and from work,” Cr Gilligan said.
“We need governments to work with us on creating a local transport network that reduces reliance on car travel, but also includes creating more car parks at local train stations.
“Wyndham already needs the Victorian Government to fund 10 new schools to cater for our existing population, and with the growth we’re experiencing we will only need more in the future.”
He said council wanted to work with all levels of government and all sides of the political aisle to deliver the projects that residents needed.
Cr Gilligan said projects such as the Westlink, which includes the vital Ison Road Bridge grade separation, and the construction of new Regional Rail Link stations, were priorities.
“We are focused on building a liveable city not just a big city,” he said.