Addressing infrastructure inequality: a path to equality for Melbourne’s outer suburbs

Infrastructure Transport infrastructure Urban planning Suburban growth Transport Melbourne Metropolitan Area

Infrastructure has a social purpose. Yet access to infrastructure is unequal and strongly reflects the regional and metropolitan divide, household incomes, and historic disadvantage. While access to health services, education, and jobs remain unequal, there is no equality of opportunity.

These were the observations in the March 2022 report, Funding the infrastructure of tomorrow. This McKell Institute examination into infrastructure inequality recommended funding pathways to deliver equal access to infrastructure.

Of all Australian government jurisdictions, Victoria is in the lead when it comes to reimagining infrastructure as a mechanism for social equality and progress, rather than just an economic investment into roads, rail, and public amenities. While most state governments’ infrastructure strategies examine access to infrastructure, Victoria is the only state that lists the reduction of disadvantage as a core objective of its infrastructure strategy.

This reassessment of the value and purpose of infrastructure is timely, as the Victorian government overtakes NSW as the largest investor in infrastructure as a proportion of Gross State Product (GSP).

The largest single investment category within the sector is transport infrastructure. While Melbourne has better access to transport than any other city in Australia, it also has the highest transport inequality rating of any Australian capital city.

This report examines the unique mix of infrastructure inequality in Melbourne. It identifies the primary geography of infrastructure inequality in Melbourne, notably in its outer suburbs and the Interface Council (IFC) areas.

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