I would rather see that [predicted] population growth decentralised. That also goes for Sydney. Perhaps send them all to Albury-Wodonga and then build a decent airport there.Third Melbourne airport mooted
THE Victorian government says it's open to the idea of a third Melbourne airport, noting the drive from the city's southeast to Tullamarine can take longer than a flight to Sydney.
The case for a third airport is laid out in a discussion paper by a committee advising Planning Minister Matthew Guy on options for Melbourne up to 2050.
An airport in Melbourne's southeast would serve one-third of the state's population, including 300,000 Gippsland residents.
Mr Guy says a third Melbourne airport is top of building giant Leighton Holdings' infrastructure wish-list and is supported by local councils.
He said it would allow people in the region to get an airport without having to travel across the city to Tullamarine.
"If it can be achieved, then we should at least have the debate, and the government is saying let's have the debate," he told reporters on Friday.
"Remember, it takes longer to get from Armadale (in the city's inner southeast) to Melbourne Airport in peak hour than it takes to fly from Melbourne to Sydney."
Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said a third airport should not be a priority.
"The new airport is a thought bubble," he told reporters.
"A third airport is an issue that is decades away.
"In the meantime, we've got real issues that are affecting Victorian families today."
The discussion paper said a southeastern airport would have good road connections and serve an area with a population larger than South Australia's.
"With continuing major population growth, Gippsland and Melbourne's southeast would benefit from improved international tourism and trade connections that would come with the development of a new airport."
By 2050, Melbourne's population is predicted to reach between 5.6 and 6.4 million.
Affordable housing needed to be created to cope with the growing population, the paper said.
"The cost of dwelling in the middle suburbs of Melbourne needs to be reduced if we are to have any prospect of providing an opportunity to a wider range of the population to live in these areas."