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Melbourne's Latte Line leaps the Yarra...and the Maribyrnong!

The western edge of Melbourne has pulled well clear of the Gold Coast, outstripping population growth in any comparable region in Australia, with a new social group opening the door to investment opportunity, finds KPMG analysis released today.

The research, compiled for Victoria University, forms the basis of KPMG Partner Bernard Salt's Chancellor's Lecture at the university tonight.

Findings show that Melbourne is reorientating west after 160 years of growth largely in the east. Mr Salt says that new projects including the Bradmill site in Yarraville, Lend Lease's proposed new suburb at Werribee and the Victorian Government's commitment to the Regional Rail Link confirm the city's shift.

"The western surge is creating a new social group in a strip between Essendon and Williamstown that includes Footscray, Yarraville and Seddon. A new 'Golden Crescent' is crystallising in the inner west and it is being populated by a professional urban middle-class eager to settle in the more affordable 'new west'.

"Melbourne's western expansion is not just about fast population growth. Housing and infrastructure is only part of the story.

"The rebalancing of Melbourne means that the city's famous 'Latte Line', the boundary of an aspirational and professional inner-city middle-class, is now being pushed west," says Mr Salt.

The unprecedented growth of 20,000 people in 12 months in Melton and Wyndham is driving numerous opportunities for business.

"This growth creates annual demand for 6,000 new houses, $1.2 billion in new mortgages, $200 million in new retail spending, scope for two new cinema screens, and demand for around 150 new nurses, 28 extra doctors and nine new dentists.

"Melbourne's western future requires railway lines, roads, schools, health facilities as well as a rising and increasingly professional local workforce. Local access to quality higher education such as Victoria University is an essential part of the unfolding westside story of Melbourne," says Mr Salt.

Other findings show:

  • Using Melbourne's iconic The Age Good Food Guide (GFG) as an indicator of social change, KPMG has established that in 1999 there was one GFG restaurant in the inner west. The 2011 edition shows 10. Melbourne's Latte Line has pushed west of the Yarra and only stops at Rosamond Road, Maribyrnong.
  • Melbourne's east contains two million residents and delivers inner-city sophistication around Chapel Street. Melbourne's north contains one million people and similarly delivers a rich inner-city culture in an arc between Parkville and Carlton. The west contains 720,000 residents heading for 1.1 million by 2030 and is increasingly supporting an inner-city professional population in the strip between Essendon and Williamstown.
  • Between 1996 and 2006 the number of medical practitioners living in Melbourne's 'Golden Crescent' went up 33 per cent and the number of people employed as teachers went up 30 per cent. Middle class professionals are gravitating to the inner west.
  • Census data shows that income levels in the inner west was 8 per cent above the Melbourne average in 2006 whereas further west income levels were 9 per cent below the Melbourne average. There is a clear income divide between the inner and outer west.
  • KPMG analysis shows that at the Census there were 1,300 residents per medical practitioner in Melbourne's outer west as compared with 320 per medical practitioner across Melbourne. Recent population growth will have only exacerbated this ratio in the west.
  • In the year to June 2010 Melton and Wyndham added a combined 20,000 residents as compared with just 14,000 for the Gold Coast. The previous year the western edge only just beat the Gold Coast, ie 18,000 versus 17,000 extra residents. Melbourne's west is this nation's leading growth hotspot.


Victoria University commissioned KPMG demographer, Bernard Salt, to undertake a demographic analysis of the western suburbs changing socio-economic profile in order to better understand the cultural shifts occurring in the region. The analysis draws together official population estimates and forecasts, making comparisons with other regions throughout Australia. KPMG Partner Bernard Salt is one of Australia's leading demographers.

Contact for interviews:

KPMG media contact:
Caroline Baldwin, 0400 508 748; [email protected]

Victoria University media contact:
Jim Buckell, 0400 465 459; [email protected]

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