By Alesha Capone
A new report from Infrastructure Victoria says that without immediate government investment, Wyndham’s population growth will outstrip demand for vital community facilities in the near future.
According to the latest research by the state’s independent infrastructure advisory body, Wyndham has one library per 60,000 residents, compared to the state average of one library per 41,000 residents.
“The situation is starker for the provision of aquatic and recreation centres, showing Wyndham has one aquatic recreation centre for every 149,000 residents, compared to the state average of one centre for every 65,000 persons,” the report said .
AquaPulse in Hoppers Crossing attracts more than one million visitors per year.
The report recommended the state government invest more heavily in Victoria’s seven growth areas, including the Wyndham and Melton municipalities.
The report said that Wyndham and Melton would both require a new aquatic and recreation centre and a new library within the next five years.
By 2036, it is projected that parts of Wyndham, Melton, Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Mitchell and Whittlesea will become home to an additional 930,000 people.
Infrastructure Victoria chief executive Michel Masson said that rapid urban expansion means social infrastructure has “failed to keep pace” with population increases in new growth areas.
“It’s not enough to just plan and build housing in greenfield suburbs, all levels of government need to better integrate social infrastructure so that everyone has access to similar services, regardless of postcode,” he said.
Mr Masson said that while social infrastructure could be expensive to build in new suburbs, the benefits provided to communities and businesses far outweighed the costs.
At Wyndham council meetings, councillors often mention that the booming population means the state and federal governments need to invest more in the municipality, including in schools, roads and public transport.
Wyndham council’s draft long-term financial plan, released in August, said: “The demand for capital to build the new infrastructure needed by growing communities in Wyndham is currently greater than what council can afford.”
The draft plan said in four to five years, council funding to renew infrastructure “will be insufficient to maintain current service standards”.