The ongoing need for greater service and support for the outer suburban areas of Australia's capital cities provided the theme for the Northern Growth Areas Alliance annual conference in Perth, at which the City of Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty, who is the Alliance's chair, was a key speaker last week, providing the opening address.
During his speech, Mayor Docherty highlighted the failure of higher levels of government to prepare for an anticipated population growth in the nation's fastest growing outer suburbs.
"There’s a $50 billion backlog (in infrastructure needs) which will blow out to $73 billion by 2031 unless something significant is done nationally – and quickly," he told the conference.
"The NGAA represents communities which are growing at twice the national average and are already home to five million people."
He added that in 15 years, these areas will be home to 7.5 million people.
Mayor Docherty said this year's federal election highlighted the importance of the nation's growth areas in a policy and electoral context.
"Now is the time to build upon this and make sure we see leadership – and long-term planning – for our areas," Mayor Docherty said.
"Yes, some of that leadership needs to come from the Federal Government, but all three levels of government need to work effectively together to make sure there is appropriate foresight and infrastructure."
Amongst the key infrastructure projects for which the Alliance is seeking support is the Gawler railway electrification.
Mayor Docherty this week highlighted to the Northern Messenger the importance of the rail electrification to Adelaide's northern suburbs.
"Our council has been pushing for the electrification for a long time," he said.
"We believe it is extremely important that this gets fulfilled as quickly as possible."
The NGAA included the Gawler railway electrification in its Fund Our Future campaign, designed to attract attention to the infrastructure backlog in the nation's growth areas.
Other communities that are part of the Alliance include councils representing the Penrith, Liverpool, Melton, Wanneroo and Mount Barker areas.