Almost a Million Melburnians Have Upped Stakes

John Masanauskas, Herald Sun (Melbourne), June 27, 2008

MELBURNIANS are moving house in huge numbers—with up to one-third shifting to other parts of the city and regional Victoria in the past five years, according to census data.

More than 900,000 city dwellers changed address between 2001 and 2006, as pressure from overseas migration pushed many locals towards the fringes.

About 500,000 people moved outside their local government area, while some 400,000 shifted to nearby homes.

The biggest single transfer saw 10,125 residents leave western suburbs such as Sunshine and St Albans for booming Melton.

There was a similar exodus from the Dandenong region to the southeast housing estates of Narre Warren and Berwick.

Dandenong has seen a major transformation, with the arrival of refugees and other immigrants, in recent years.

Daniel Willis, 22, said he and his partner, Rebecca Parry, moved from Dandenong to Narre Warren to escape rising crime and cultural change.

“We are going to have a family soon,” he said.

“We didn’t want to bring up a family in that sort of area.”

City of Greater Dandenong councillor Jim Memeti said the area’s cultural diversity was an asset and people moved because housing was cheaper further out.

Other areas with large outflows included neighbouring Clayton, which also has high immigrant settlement, and suburbs such as Box Hill, Pascoe Vale and Coburg.

Some areas with high outflows also recorded big intakes.

Boroondara lost 25,806 residents, but gained 23,237 from other areas.

Record high immigration and a rising birth rate saw the population rise across all council areas.

The data, prepared for the Herald Sun by the state Department of Planning and Community Development, revealed city fringe areas had the most internal movement.

More than 30,000 residents in the City of Casey, which includes Narre Warren and Berwick, moved within the area in the five-year period.

Other suburbs with high internal migration included Roxburgh Park, Sunbury, Frankston, Belgrave and Lilydale.

Planning department senior demographer Jeremy Reynolds said the trend to move small distances was common.

“The comparatively low numbers of moves across the Yarra in Melbourne, the harbour in Sydney or the Thames in London are indicative of this sectoral bias in migration,” he said.

Head of Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research, Dr Bob Birrell, said poorer immigrants tended to settle in outer suburbia.

“Local residents in areas like Dandenong and Sunshine are tending to move out if they can afford to,” he said.

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