MELBOURNE is set to become Australia’s biggest city, according to a leading economist reported in the Herald Sun recently.
Melbourne will steal the title from Sydney within 25 years if futurist and economist Brian Haratsis’s predictions are correct.
In his latest forecasts, he also suggests big growth in regional centres including Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton, Mildura and even the Latrobe Valley.But Melbourne would expand most, in terms of population as well as economic wealth, Mr Haratsis said.
Mr Haratsis expects Melbourne’s population to have reached between 5-5.5 million by 2035, when it will have become bigger than Sydney. The gap, initially, will be between 100,000 and 200,000, but will widen.
“Sydney is dying now, and will continue to die as a service sector provider,” said Mr Haratsis, who recently published Australia 2050.
He said Sydney’s decline is caused by its economic reliance on IT and finance, both of which face crushing international competition.
Melbourne and Victoria, however, will flourish because of their success as service providers in three key areas freight and logistics, education, and health.
He said he believed Victoria would increase its share of the national freight sector from 30 per cent to 50 per cent by 2030. He said a new port at Hastings, high-speed freight and passenger rail links between Sydney and Melbourne and new commercial “freight cities” across Victoria would help Victoria take control of the freight sector.
Mr Haratsis said Victoria’s role as the major national and international centre for secondary and tertiary education would also be cemented within Melbourne, Geelong and the major satellite cities.
The municipal set-up across the country is also due for a shake-up, according to the economist, who is forecasting that COAG (the Council of Australian Governments) will cease to exist between 2013 and 2020.
“All we ever see is bickering between the States and the Feds. Nothing is ever achieved, so it will be no great loss,” Mr Haratsis said.
To replace COAG and, to a large extent, the Federal Government, we should create three regional bodies which would be part funded by the two per cent GST hike he has suggested.
“The Federal system is broke and badly needs replacing,” Mr Haratsis said. “The three regional infrastructure providers I am suggesting would be a more efficient way to go.”
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