YARRA RANGES young residents could form part of the "generations of disadvantage", according to a sobering report on Melbourne's outer suburban growth areas.
It warns that unless $10 billion is spent on new education, transport and health services in Melbourne's 10 outer — or 'interface' — municipalities in the next 15 years, they face being on the wrong side of a divide between those who have good access to services and job opportunities, and those who do not.
The One Melbourne or Two? report by Essential Economics stated that the 10 municipalities which form an outer ring around Melbourne, including the Yarra Ranges, were characterised by "low average incomes, poor educational and health outcomes, high unemployment rates and high levels of youth disengagement with regard to higher education and workforce participation".
Yarra Ranges mayor Jim Child told the Weekly the $10 billion asking price was not excessive.
"The state government has to realise its responsibilities with councils in the outer areas."
He said the area of funding most lacking in the Yarra Ranges was public transport, with "more trains and buses with better frequencies" needed.
RMIT University planning professor Michael Buxton said the design of outer suburbs had inherent problems.
"What we are getting in the outer suburbs is single-use suburbs that are car dependent with very poor public transport and totally inadequate services," he said.
Education remains one of the biggest areas of concern in the Yarra Ranges as uncertainty still surrounds the future of the Swinburne Lilydale campus.
Swinburne students may be forced to inner suburbs or the CBD.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy declined to comment on the report.