Published: June 27, 2022

Since the late 1990’s, population growth in regional Australian cities has been climbing at an accelerating rate. Together with the recent exodus from major metropolitan cities during the Covid-19 pandemic, regional Australian cities are currently facing the highest ever demand for housing and pressures on local infrastructure networks.

A recent ABC article explores how Ballarat, a regional city with a population of over 100,000 people, is responding to their mass influx of residents by transforming paddocks into kilometres of housing sprawl out into the far reaches of the city.

With Ballarat City Council expecting the population of Ballarat to increase to 185,000 by 2040, planners are desperately pushing for higher density infill housing to be prioritised and growth to be centralised into the established, well serviced areas of Ballarat. However, both new and old residents are resisting change and pressuring Council to retain the character and heritage of low scale and greenfield development.

Local Councils have now called on the State Government to provide better public transport connectivity and more train stations to service poorly connected suburbs which currently rely heavily on cars for everyday errands such as shopping, work and study.

In response, the Victorian Government has offered to assess the individual needs of growth areas and has coordinated the collaboration with the Victorian Planning Authority to plan for new precinct structure plans for each new growth area of Ballarat.

We look forward to reading the new precinct structure plans for Ballarat and other growth areas to see if they provide for the more sustainable infill growth that these regional cities so desperately need .


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