A snip from The Age.
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.