Monday, May 07, 2018

Decentralise or bust

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/one-council-area-s-growth-beats-three-biggest-regional-cities-combined-20180426-p4zbw8.html

A snip from The Age.

“I’ve done it",  says Katherine Cape. "I don’t know why everyone else doesn’t”
Moving to Ballarat from inner-city Yarraville in 2010 has been a positive change for the 58-year-old.
Ms Cape loves living in regional Victoria, citing her short journey to her local job as one of the best things, along with easy access to the surrounding countryside and being embraced by the Ballarat community.
“Ballarat is beautiful both architecturally and scenically,” she says.
It sounds good and for many, Ms Cape included, it works out well, but the statistics show that relocating to a regional city is a far less attractive proposition than moving to one of Melbourne' far-flung outer suburbs.
In fact, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one municipality on Melbourne's urban fringe has attracted more new residents than our three major regional cities combined.

It is often suggested that de-centralisation is the solution to our two overcrowded and massively growing major cities, Sydney and Melbourne. On the face of it, it sounds good, that is expand the populations in bigger regional cities, and reduce the obscene growth in the major cities that takes over wildlife land, productive farms and causes the construction of massively tall accommodation buildings within our inner city, and an inappropriate increase in density of people in the inner and middle suburbs. The great middle class of the leafy eastern Melbourne suburbs have fought a losing battle against the destruction of what they know and love, and these are people of influence. Yeah Fen, you are included.

For Melbourne and Sydney, a greater population simply means more cars on the roads and overcrowded public transport, along with not being able to get a public barbeque in a park on a Sunday until 2pm, which has been caused simply by the numbers of people in our cities being increased without thought to how to cater for the numbers.

So now, what if we slow the population growth in our two big cities by encouraging those who are growing our population to go to large regional cities? Cash incentives? Housing incentives? Tax breaks? A condition of immigration?

I say no because I know full well what our governments will do. They will promote decentralisation, offer incentives and the population will grow in the regional cities.

But what they won't do is the same as they don't do in outer Melbourne, make plans. They will rezone land, take the profits from the developments and at some point step in and haphazardly patch up the services to these areas, usually unsatisfactorily. Governments will do exactly the same with the expansion of our regional cities as they haven't done with our big capital cities.

They will leave it all up to the developers, with only token compulsory rules about public space.

If decentralisation is to happen, it needs to be planned. A non vested interest government body needs to plan, for public transport, perhaps buses running along empty streets without housing, so that new residents don't feel a need for a car for each family member. If there is need for transport in these regional cities to the big cities, make if frequent, fast and reliable and if the need will be great enough, rail transport and get it in there before the development happens, not after. Providing car parking at local train stations seems to cost more that running lightly loaded bus services that can get people to train stations. Schools, hospitals, shops and community space need to be there first.

What I am saying is that property developers are running rampant over Australian society, and the government needs to take control.

While driving to Mother's last week, I could see the new housing development on what was a former horse racing course. I was appalled to see what was being built there, that is umpteen cramped boxes all looking the same and unbelievably crammed together.

The world is full of old white blokes in control and offering their opinions. While I am not among the those in control, I am still an old white dude with an opinion, and population growth without services in advance is out of control, and that is what will happen in regional cities.

31 comments:

  1. Sigh. And that very short-sighted approach is the politicians solution to everything. Address/partially address today's problem without even considering what will come next.

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    1. EC, typical of politicians, but that was not always the case. At times they had a vision for the future and acted upon it and we were all the better off for it.

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  2. The current state of transport in regional cities is ok...so long as you don't wish to travel further than their suburbs. Otherwise it's very few options if you need to travel between the smaller towns from the regional cities.

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    1. C'mon Jayne. At best you might get a half hour bus service in cities like Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong. Even outer areas of Melbourne. I think on demand transport between smaller towns, perhaps provided by local governments might work best.

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    2. LOL
      Central Goldfields Shire Council ditched a couple of bus routes in recent years, leaving Tarnagulla to rely on the once daily V/line service.

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  3. Well said, unfortunately the economy is being controlled by business and property developers so I can only see more of the same happening.

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    1. Cheryl, thank you. It is rather how I see it too and it just not right.

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  4. Anonymous8:57 am

    Politicians rarely look to the future, ie past the next election. It's like a short term memory loss in reverse. - Ian

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    1. Quite so Ian, but why was it different in older days when politicians did have a view to the future good?

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  5. I agree with Ian. Politicians only think 3 years ahead and if they get voted out the next lot will cancel the previous plans and so it goes on and nothing gets done.

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    1. Diane, is it because important decision making had been put in the hands of politicians and not the public service?

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  6. I think there are Politicians who entered Parliament to work in the interests of the community but Party politics, especially the ‘big two’, ensure that Political self interest reigns; election to election.

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    1. Victor, hence we see quite decent people who are politicians uttering some very ridiculous things

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    1. Thanks for your endorsement, Jan.

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  8. Can't see the railways being built before the housing - they don't have enough brains to do that..
    Each year we usually go the same way through Melbourne outer area and we always see more houses have taken over farmland and so on...

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    1. Margaret, what is happening in Melbourne is truly scary. There are already severe social problems in the areas you mention. I haven't forgotten the time you did not drive the usual road. :-P

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  9. I've no desire to go back to living in a city. It's not my style, but I know it suits others...just not me....personal choice and preference.

    Far too many years have passed since I lived in Brisbane...having left there early 1979 to live on up on the Sunshine Coast at Coolum, and then Sunshine Beach. From there onto living on islands and other similar less populated ares; and I've ended up here on the mountain...and live the village-like atmosphere and ambience.

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    1. Lee, and long my you be happy there. In some ways we live in a village, and visit other nearby villages at times, the city, Prahran and South Melbourne, all places we are very familiar with. No, we don't know the people who we see, but it is a very familiar environment we feel comfortable in.

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    2. I meant to type, as I'm sure you're aware..."areas" instead of "ares". And "love" instead of "live".

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  10. You need to highlight the last four paragraphs, or maybe all of them, and send this to every politician in the country. Multiple times. it makes so much sense for the planning etc and the building of planned infrastructure, to all be done first, before the hordes move in.

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    1. River, I can't even remember exactly what I wrote. I will go back and read it to see if is any good. I expect the same is happening in Adelaide, to a much lesser extent. It really is all about population growth and if we going to have that at absurd levels, it needs to be catered for.

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  11. Send the comments too.

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    1. Don't you worry. Politicians know full well what the public feeling is.

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    2. and still they persist in following the words of "thinkers' and consultants and all those useless committees.

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  12. You always shed so much light on what is happening in other places in the world, and I always appreciate it so much. Hugs..RO

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    1. Thanks RO. From what I understand similar problems are happening in some US cities.

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  13. It's a little around the other way here Andrew.. typical 😀 They are trying to get more people interested in inner city living.. that's not to say that new suburbs are not springing up all the time. They're preparing for the invasion! At least we can upgrade some of the roads now that Turnbull has given back some of our GST money.. an election bribe, who said that 😀😀

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    1. Grace, I think inner city living will just happen, without too much promotion. But what you don't want is residential towers, or too many of them. I have heard what SA, QLD, NSW and Vic, but not how much extra WA received. No doubt about it being a bribe.

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  14. There is a compelling argument to move new arrivals into important regional centres, which I have promoted here before. But even though I would choose Geelong or Bendigo for myself, Ms Cape is right - Ballarat is beautiful both architecturally and scenically. Very beautiful, except for their winter cold *cough*

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    1. Hels, I think Ballarat is the most lovely town, but as you say cold in the winter, and also hot in the summer. I think you would agree that more needs to be done in the way of infrastructure and services before a large population increase in these towns.

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