Rockbank growth rockets


Liam McNally

The Rockbank-Mount Cottrell area has been declared the fastest growing region in the country for the second year running by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) comprises the growth corridor around the Western Freeway from Thornhill park, through Rockabank and Aintree, the southern part of Deanside, Mt Atkinson, Ravenhall, along with the less developed areas of Mount Cottrell.

The area’s population grew by 4299 people in the 2022-2023 financial year, the largest yearly population increase of any SA2 region in the country.

This is on the back of Rockbank-Mount Cottrell pulling off the same feat in 2021-2022, when it grew by 5000 people.

The ABS estimates that by June 2023 Rockbank-Mount Cottrell had a population of 27,259.

The ABS first recorded the SA2 area in 2011, with a population of 2660.

Thornhill Park Working Group member Matthew Pearse bought a block of land in the area in 2016, drawn by the great location and affordable price.

He said the rapid growth has brought positives and challenges – more families calling the area home brought certain infrastructure plans forward, but he feels there’s been a lack of accountability in actually delivering that infrastructure.

“It was easy to see how quick the area was developing by the time I moved in 2018,” he said.

“From the challenges of Alfred Roadd being closed for nearly 12 months, to delays of limited public transport options resulting in more residents being pushed onto the Western freeway…

“I want to see clear timelines in place in Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs), giving residents clarity of when projects will be delivered so families can make the decision where they call home and PSPs being enforceable from a state and local level so infrastructure projects are delivered in line with growth not based on decisions of the government of the day.”

Nearby, the Fraser Rise – Plumpton SA2 had the fifth largest population growth in the country – increasing by 3429 to 16,420.

Mayor mayor Kathy Majdlik said Melton’s greenfield suburbs are undergoing rapid transformation, but that also creates a lot of work to do.

“People moving into newly created areas are often finding a community fast evolving around them, providing cultural and social connection,” she said.

“We have a great opportunity to set a benchmark for growth and development where services and infrastructure are planned and delivered in line with population increases.

“Our rapid growth is seeing significant government investment such as the new Melton Hospital, a new TAFE in Cobblebank, seven level crossing removals and a $650 million upgrade to the Melton line.

“We’ll continue advocating to the state and federal governments to improve roads and public transport, increase health services, provide more education options, and develop infrastructure to create local jobs.”