Northern Councils Alliance

Melbourne’s Northern Council Alliance has released its latest transport study and strategy, to highlight necessary investments and upgrades to the transport sector as the region’s population and subsequent transport congestion continues to grow.

The Northern Region Transport Strategy and Northern Region Transport Study Stage 2: Bus Networks was released by the Northern Council Alliance, a group of seven councils which advocate and deliver projects that positively contribute to the economic, social, health and wellbeing of its residents and businesses. 

Melbourne’s north is home to one million people or 20 per cent of the population of Greater Melbourne. It’s one of the fastest growing regions, with a population of 1.5 million forecast by 2036 – a growth rate of 2.8 per cent compared to 1.6 per cent for Greater Melbourne. One in six Victorians live in the northern Melbourne region.

The Northern Council Alliance said the population growth has not been matched with the necessary investment in transport infrastructure. Over the years it has caused massive road congestion and delays in connecting between transport options – limiting business growth and access to employment, education and health services.

The Northern Region Transport Strategy and Bus Networks Study are the result of a collaborative effort to arrive at a joint list of transport priorities for the region, developed by the municipalities of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Mitchell, Moreland, Nillumbik and Whittlesea in conjunction with regional partners, and was funded by the Northern Metropolitan Partnership.

The Alliance said that the next step is advocating to the Federal and State Governments for support and funding to achieve the strategy’s goals.

The Alliance said that investment to planning and improved road, rail and bus networks, as outlined in the Northern Region Transport Strategy and Bus Networks Study, is essential for precinct development (as outlined in Plan Melbourne), business and employment growth, access to education and health services, future proofing the economic and social development of Melbourne’s north, and ensuring equality for the community.

Mayors of the North speaking up
Chair of the Northern Councils Alliance, and Banyule City Council Mayor, Elizabeth Nealy, said investment in the region’s transport infrastructure was urgently needed before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it was “even more critical today”. 

“The Northern Region Transport Strategy and Bus Networks Study provide comprehensive analysis of the transport needs of the region and were designed to align government and stakeholders in improving the transport network and to help fully release the potential of the region.

City of Darebin’s Mayor Lina Messina, said: “With the population in Melbourne’s north tipped to reach 1.5 million by 2036, we need to kickstart the economy in this region. Investing in the right transport infrastructure will be key to doing just that.”

Nillumbik Shire Council’s Mayor Frances Eyre, said greater inner city movement will allow residents to access employment, education and health precincts, as well as reducing congestion.

Hume City Council’s Mayor Carly Moore said: “Melbourne’s north is the engine room of Victoria’s economy. But it needs a vastly improved and interconnected transport system if it is to reach its full potential and support the northern region’s economic importance to the state.”

Merri-bek City Council, Mayor Mark Riley, said long-term strategic planning and investment for major infrastructure upgrades is the only way to avoid “playing catch up forever”.

Chair of Administrators at the City of Whittlesea, Lydia Wilson, said: “For our state to succeed, Melbourne’s north needs to succeed. Investment in the north will be critical to the economic response to, and recovery from, COVID-19 – not just for our region, but for the state, and for the country.”

To read the Northern Region Transport Strategy and Northern Region Transport Study Stage 2: Bus Networks (Bus Networks Study), visit:

Image: Northern Councils Alliance.
(L-R): Cr Mark Riley (Mayor, Merri-bek City Council), Cr Elizabeth Nealy (Mayor, Banyule City Council), Cr Lina Messina (Mayor, City of Darebin), Cr Francis Eyre (Mayor, Nillumbik Shire Council), Lydia Wilson (Chair of Administrators, City of Whittlesea), Cr Bill Chisholm (Mayor, Mitchell Shire Council) Absent from photo: Cr Carly Moore (Mayor, Hume City Council).


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