MELBOURNE risks losing its status as one of the world's most liveable cities due to massive population growth, a lack of affordable housing, increasing poverty and lack of access to public transport, services and job opportunities according to a report released last month by the Melbourne Community Foundation (MCF).
The report, prepared by the McCaughey Centre at the University of Melbourne, warns that Melbourne is in danger of becoming a city of disadvantaged, disaffected and disillusioned citizens in 20 years if we do not act now. The report was commissioned to review, refresh and provide input into the 2009 update of MCF's 2006 publication MacroMelbourne Initiative: developing strategic responses to disadvantage in Melbourne today and towards 2030.
The report argues that the most significant trends and challenges causing disadvantage and inequality in metropolitan Melbourne are:
- Rapid population growth, particularly in outer urban areas.
- The employment and economic impact of the global financial crisis.
- Rapid increases in the number of people with multiple and complex needs
- Ongoing challenges facing migrant, refugee and Indigenous communities.
- Lack of access to affordable housing.
- Lack of access to affordable transport and communications.
- The health and wellbeing impacts of climate change – particularly on vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
While the report finds that there are significant challenges and trends causing social disadvantage and inequity, it argues that there are a number of areas in which "philanthropic investment has the potential to make a significant difference in creating a more equitable, sustainable and liveable Melbourne."
In particular, the report finds that new growth areas require a primary focus, due to the "rapidly emerging challenges… combined with the acute lack of existing social and physical infrastructure."
Report: The MacroMelbourne Initiative: Social and Economic Disadvantage in Melbourne: trends, challenges and priorities for philanthropic investment, Melbourne Community Foundation, 2009.