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Vic ‘hotspot’ seen as not so hot
An HIA–JELD-WEN report has assigned nine of 20 national hotspots to Victoria – including Whittlesea North – but the report’s methodology has been strongly criticised.
The study, which named as hotspots local areas where population growth exceeds the national average and the value of residential construction approved is in excess of $100 million, placed Victoria’s Whittlesea North second.
However, wHeregroup’s location researcher, Todd Hunter, said population growth is a measure only if too few dwellings are being built.
While he agreed many places in Victoria are hotspots, he denied Whittlesea North deserved the ranking.
“Whittlesea is a tiny little town, and … it can be deceiving,” he said. “If you had a town of 50 people and 20 moved in, you’ve got huge population growth as a percentage. But only 20 people moved in.”
Victoria’s biggest road project underway
Victoria’s biggest road project, the $2.25 billion M80 Ring Road Upgrade, is well underway, with completion expected in mid-2014.
The 38km involved in the project span the Princes Freeway, Laverton North to the Greensborough Highway, Greensborough.
The upgrade is expected to benefit commuters by reducing travel times and costs as well as being a significant boost to the local economy, the Victorian Minister for Roads, Terry Mulder, said.
“As Victoria's biggest road project on the ground, the M80 Upgrade is providing a much-needed boost to the state's economy, directly supporting up to 6,500 jobs over the life of the project, with thousands of other flow-on jobs for services and suppliers,” Mr Mulder said.
Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell added it is currently Melbourne’s second busiest freeway, with more than 140,000 people using the M80 daily.
The federal government has provided $900 million in funding for the upgrade to date, while the Victorian Government has invested $300 million in the project.