Councils seek help for population growth

gisborne south

Councils within an hour of Melbourne’s suburban fringe are calling for help to deal with rapid population growth, with towns such as Gisborne expected to house up to 6000 more residents by 2036.

The Peri Urban Group of Councils, which includes the Macedon Ranges, says its 10 members need greater policy and funding support so they can provide the services and infrastructure needed while preserving the agricultural, tourism and environmental elements for which the areas are known.

Macedon Ranges deputy mayor Russell Mowatt supported the group’s calls for the state government to give greater recognition in its revised Plan Melbourne to managing urban sprawl.

‘‘They want another two million people in Melbourne by 2030 … it will have an impact on the peri-urban areas,’’ Cr Mowatt said. ‘‘It’s good to review these plans from time to time, but they need to talk to those councils that are going to be impacted.’’

Opposition planning spokesman David Davis said peri-urban areas provided essential opportunities for recreation and tourism.

‘‘If Daniel Andrews stubbornly refuses to recognise the value of our peri-urban areas in his rewrite of Plan Melbourne, then he’ll do so at his peril,’’ he said.

A government spokesman said at least $70 million of a $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund would be spent in rural areas.