Over many years, the state has failed to deliver the transport infrastructure and services needed to support rapidly growing communities. This is adversely impacting accessibility, and risks the future liveability of metropolitan Melbourne. Urgent action is required to address this serious problem. Inadequate public transport and growing gaps in the road network in these communities are creating barriers to mobility, including access to critical services, education and employment opportunities.
In turn, these deficiencies are increasing car dependence, pollution and exacerbating traffic congestion at significant community cost. This both limits state productivity and the time that people can spend with their families. Despite these growing problems, funding to address the transport needs of growth areas can take more than a generation to materialise. This longstanding disconnect between planning and funding, gives credence to the perception that past statewide planning initiatives have been disingenuous.
Growing pressure on state finances heightens the need to effectively prioritise limited funds, and to develop alternative funding sources and implementation strategies to meet the growing challenge.
This audit's recommendations are focused on addressing these longstanding issues. However, they will have limited value if their implementation is not supported by a realistic and effective whole of government approach.