Professor Roz Hansen, a leading urban planning advisor to the State Government, has said she's deeply troubled by growing disparities in the choices available to Melburnians by the fact of where they live.
"The amenity enjoyed by a resident of an established suburb like Hawthorn, six kilometres east of the CBD, or Clayton, some 19 kilometres southeast of the CBD, is quite different from that of a Melburnian putting up stumps in areas like Craigieburn, 26 kilometres north of the CBD, or Melton, 35 kilometres west of the CBD, or Cranbourne, 43 kilometres to the south-east."
Professor Hansen, chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee for the Metropolitan Planning Strategy, made her remarks while delivering a keynote speech to the social welfare agency, the Brotherhood of St Laurence last night.
In the speech entitled "Two Melbournes", Professor Hansen also proposed charging property owners a Melbourne metropolitan levy that was tied to specific projects.
"In the past Melburnians paid a levy to fund the Melbourne Underground Loop and we continue to pay an annual parks charge to enhance, manage and maintain our world class network of major parks, trails, gardens and waterways," she said.
"A new payment would need to be charged annually to all property owners and the basis of the amount to be paid would need to be carefully determined to ensure fairness and equity. Such a levy would be tied to agreed projects and timelines for delivery of those projects in collaboration with local government and other relevant agencies."
"It might be a hard sell politically, but again it is about sharing the benefits and the responsibilities of implementing the strategy."
Professor nHansen said there was an increasing geographical divide in the mode of travel to school, to work, to local shops and community facilities between suburbs in various parts of Melbourne.
The divide also extended to educational options, ranging from child care and pre-school to primary, secondary and tertiary education.
"You can even see a gulf in the different flavour of lifestyles offered by real estate advertisements – be it so-called 'downtown' city living or suburban living.
"Disparities of place are also reflected in availability of jobs within a reasonable travel distance from homes located between suburbs and even the type of dwellings offered to match different needs and budgets.
"Long travel times from home to work are hurting productivity levels, the city’s environmental health and disrupting work and life balance.
"There is less time to spend with children, family and friends and long commutes – overwhelmingly by car in the urban growth-corridor suburbs – are contributing to problems of mortgage stress."