Victoria has experienced strong population growth since 2011, with the population forecast to grow from 6.1 million in 2016 to 7.7 million by 2031. Rapid growth is creating unprecedented challenges for infrastructure and service delivery, especially in growth areas where services are limited and generally lag behind population settlement.
The timely provision of birthing, maternal and child health (MCH) and funded kindergarten services is important for the health and wellbeing of babies and young children, particularly as these services can identify health and developmental risks in children at an early stage.
In this audit, we assessed whether state planning is meeting the needs of the rapidly growing population for birthing, MCH, funded kindergarten services, and related infrastructure, in greenfield growth areas and established suburbs. In particular, we assessed whether there are clear accountability mechanisms to assure the Parliament and the community that relevant government policies are effectively implemented and helping achieve intended outcomes.
We made a total of 11 recommendations, including six directed to the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning, three for the Department of Education and Training, and one each for the Victorian Planning Authority, and the Department of Health and Human Services.