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Transport flaws to hit economy
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TWO decades of successful reform to the Victorian economy could be undone unless Melbourne's already stressed roads and public transport system allow improved travel between the CBD and the city's suburban growth centres, a new research paper warns.

In Melbourne's Transformation: rust belt to renaissance, to be presented at this week's Knowledge Cities World Summit, economists and planners SGS have analysed how Victoria's economy has changed from 1992, the year the Kennett government came to power, to today.

Researchers Terry Rawnsley and Marcus Spiller found the recession of the early 1990s provided a catalyst for reform that had seen Melbourne move from a manufacturing hub to ''a post-industrial knowledge intensive economy''.

Exports still account for around two-thirds of Victoria's overseas sales, but this has steadily declined from around 80 per cent in 1990. Despite the fall in exports, Melbourne has emerged in good financial shape because it has become an ''economy living off its knowledge base in a highly competitive and global trading environment'', the authors argue.

In the past decade, Victoria's sales of services - including travel, education, financial brokerage and legal advice - have grown steadily, while manufacturing has withered. Financial services overtook manufacturing as the key contributor to the metropolitan economy in 2005.

This growth has been added by Melbourne's booming CBD, with projects such as Postcode 3000, which helped bring residents to the city centre, the creation of Southbank, Docklands, Federation Square and the Melbourne Convention Centre.

''Together with an aggressive festivals and events program, these investments enabled a virtual overnight rebranding of Melbourne from a gracious but rather tired bastion of 'industrial Australia' underpinned by 'Fordist' manufacturers, to an eclectic 'urban' economy trading on its thinking power and creativity,'' the report found.

But, the authors warned, for Melbourne to continue to grow as a ''knowledge city'', big improvements to the transport networks were needed, so major activity centres outside the CBD - such as Footscray, Werribee, Frankston, Dandenong and Box Hill - were easy to get to and from. These areas will also likely need more high-density development.

Improved connectivity within Melbourne was helped over the 1990s and early 2000s by road projects such as CityLink, EastLink and the Western Ring Road, the authors argue. And Labor's improvements to regional rail made travelling between Melbourne and Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo easier.

The Knowledge Cities World Summit starts tomorrow and ends Friday.

【 2011/6/6 7:46:32】 【 Print 】 【 Close window
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