Jason Dowling June 21, 2012
Bacchus Marsh and Kinglake are two of the towns added to the Melbourne greater capital city area. Photo: Paul Rovere
Forget big Australia - think big Melbourne.
Census data released today has added the towns of Bacchus Marsh, Gisborne, Mount Macedon, Lancefield, Wandong and Kinglake to the Melbourne greater capital city statistical area.
John Bryson, manager of the Young and Main Hotel in Bacchus Marsh, said he was not surprised at the town's inclusion in Melbourne. ''The area around is growing rapidly every day.''
He said he expected continuous housing from Melbourne to Bacchus Marsh one day.
Unlike the urban growth boundary, the new definition is based on where people work and socialise.
The acting director of geography at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Marcus Blake, said the new definition ''means the greater capital city boundary includes people who regularly socialise, shop and work within the capital city but live in smaller centres and rural areas around our city''.
He said the new boundary was not an indication of future urban expansion.
At last count, the population of greater Melbourne was approaching 4.2 million. A revised figure taking in the added population centres had not been released by yesterday.
The statistical revision of the city boundary comes as a new report commissioned by the state government shows Melbourne could accommodate another 300,000 in its existing urban areas - even before the 5958-hectare expansion announced by Planning Minister Matthew Guy last week.
''There is now 2787 square kilometres within the urban growth boundary; enough land to cater for a city of about 4.5 million people if we maintained the same mix of densities that we had in 2006,'' the report said.
Concerns have been raised about a lack of public transport in Melbourne's growth areas and a land supply glut.
RMIT planning expert Michael Buxton said continual expansion of Melbourne's boundary was ''lazy planning''.
''There is enough land on current density levels and current levels of development in the metropolitan area for 25 years - I don't know a city in the world that's got that kind of land supply,'' he said.
Mr Guy declined to comment on the expansion.
Comment at The Age