October 25, 2019 Written by: Glossop Town Planning

Canberra's National Population Plan – what does it mean for Victoria?

On 23 September 2019, the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, released an updated version of Planning for Australia's Population Future.

The national population plan aims to ensure that the delivery of infrastructure and services keeps pace with population growth. In addition, it will plan for a more evenly distributed population to ease the pressure on major cities, deliver employment opportunities and skilled workers in regional areas. 

The population plan is centred around three key policies:

  1. 15% reduction in the migration cap. Additionally, migrants will be encouraged to settle in regional areas through visa incentives.
  2. Reducing road and train congestions. The population plan indicates a $75 billion investment in road, rail and air infrastructure nationally and the establishment of a 4-billion-dollar Urban Congestion Fund to fund projects aim at resolving local bottlenecks and improving the road network.
  3. Integrated approach with Commonwealth, State and local governments. Through the establishment of new city and regional deals the plan hopes to better plan for cities and regional towns, to ensure the necessary policies and investment across all levels are government are available.

The Centre for Population was established to pursue opportunities to improve data and research on population. The centre comprises demographic and data experts who will analyse existing population data to provide insights to inform decision making across all levels of government, with the hope it will improve delivery of infrastructure and housing which responds to demand. It is expected that the updated plan will build on this initiative to better respond to Australia’s population growth.

What does this mean for planning in Victoria?

The national population plan will facilitate the delivery of several key urban infrastructure projects in Victoria, aimed at accommodating the surge in population expected over the next 20 years. It is increasingly important for planners to understand the implications of this growth and to stay ahead of the task of planning for a City of over 6 million people. Key projects in the pipeline for the state include the North East Link and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

State Government funding will also be directed towards strengthening Victorian regional centres such as Geelong and Ballarat, and creating fast rail corridors to Melbourne, the nation’s quickest growing city.

Population growth is linked to housing demand. While the national population plan outlines support for housing affordability from the Commonwealth Government, State and Local Governments have a key role in housing supply through planning, land use and housing infrastructure policies. It is imperative for planners to understand the challenges of providing housing and infrastructure for a growing population.

To discuss the implications for this report on your project, local area or housing strategy, please contact Matthew Gilbertson, Senior Associate, Strategic Projects on 9329 2288 or email us at