Apr 7, 2016

Labor backs moves for second Melbourne CBD

Federal Labor will back investigations into a major urban redevelopment project in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill, with the aim of supporting its growth as an alternative central business district.

With Infrastructure Australia warning that traffic congestion will cost the nation $53 billion a year by 2031 without action now, it is essential that all levels of government work together to promote economic and jobs growth in second and third CBDs in our major cities.

Box Hill is already developing into a second CBD in Melbourne off the back of strong growth in population and employment opportunities.

Now is the time for all levels of government to get behind this growth and ensure that it is not held back by inadequate infrastructure.

That’s why a Labor Federal Government will contribute $100,000 toward the development of a business case for the redevelopment of the Box Hill transport interchange.

A key element of any urban renewal project is ensuring that public transport infrastructure is not only fit for purpose, but that it is sufficient to support future growth.

I want to work with the states and local councils and businesses to facilitate jobs growth outside CBDs right around the nation.

This is essential because changes in employment patterns mean jobs growth is shifting from the suburban manufacturing toward CBDs in service sectors like insurance, banking and legal services.

While these new jobs are welcome, the problem is that high housing prices mean many CBD workers cannot afford housing near to where they work, meaning they are forced to commute to work from the suburbs, worsening traffic congestion and leaving them less free time to spend with their families.

A Labor Government will seek to address this through a range of policy measures including improved public transport and better-coordinated city planning.

But another key measure is to encourage the development of second and third CBDs like Box Hill, which can provide jobs closer to where people live.

Over time, such centres attract more residents, who in turn drive demand for entertainment and other facilities.

Today I inspected the Box Hill precinct with Labor’s retiring Member for Chisholm Anna Burke and our candidate for Chisholm Stefanie Perri and held talks with local councils officials and business people, who are already working together to advance planning to ensure their area is primed for further growth.