Experts from RMIT University are available to talk to media about a variety of topics ahead of next month’s Victorian election, ranging from transport and planning to law and order.
TRANSPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE AND PLANNING
Dr Chris De Gruyter (0403 073 743 or email@example.com )
Topics: Implications of population growth on the adequate provision of transport infrastructure and services; transport planning, particularly the impact of new developments (e.g. apartment buildings) on the transport system including car and bike parking,
“If Melbourne is to reach 8 million people by 2050 and maintain its liveability, the government will need to ensure there’s adequate investment for all transport users - pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and motorists.
“The total number of trips undertaken in Melbourne is set to increase from 13 million to 23 million per day by 2050 and this level of growth can’t be accommodated through building new roads alone.
“Greater investment in high-quality public transport is needed in areas experiencing significant growth, such as Wyndham, Melton and Cardinia. These areas are expected to double their population over the next 20 years.
“Melbourne's population is increasing by more than 200 people every day, equivalent to a full tram load of passengers each day. This level of growth requires substantial investment in public transport, including higher quality bus services.
“Smart buses are a massive success story in Melbourne. They run every 10 to 15 minutes and carry more than 10 times the number of passengers per day than most other bus routes. We clearly need more bus services of this type.”
Dr Chris De Gruyter is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University. He is currently researching the impacts of new land use development on public transport. Prior to joining RMIT, Chris was a Research Fellow and Deputy Director in the Public Transport Research Group at Monash University. He also worked in transport planning for 12 years, both with the Victorian Government and in consulting at AECOM. Chris’ wider research interests span the areas of travel demand management, public transport and land use planning.
Professor Jago Dodson (0415 554 889 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Topics: infrastructure, transport, housing and metropolitan planning.
“Melbourne is expected to have 8 million people in 2048 and planning for this population growth is the key challenge.
“This forecast growth requires three things – a comprehensive transport plan to guide public transport improvement and reduce our reliance on cars for every day travel, more social housing to avoid sharp social polarisation and even more distribution of jobs across the metropolitan area.”
Professor Jago Dodson is Director of the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University. He has an extensive record of research into housing, transport, urban planning, infrastructure, energy and urban governance problems. He has authored more than 80 publications on urban topics, contributed to and commented on public debates about Australian cities and has advised national and international agencies on urban policy questions.
Professor Sarah Bekessy (0425 828 471 or email@example.com)
Topics: urban planning, urban greening, nature in the city, threatened species and totem species for schools.
“A state-wide urban greening plan is needed to present an overarching vision for development of Victoria’s green infrastructure, supported by appropriate resourcing, greening targets and guidelines.
“Urban greening through tree planting, green roofs, walls and other green infrastructure delivers social, health, economic and environmental benefits for our cities. In the City of Melbourne alone the value is estimated to be $700 million.
“Victorian cities can be readily re-natured to improve biodiversity and liveability, reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, and re-enchant Victorians with nature.
“There are more than three times the number of threatened species in our cities than rural areas, yet we continue to lose habitat for threatened species at an alarming rate.
“There’s an urgent need to protect existing green space and vegetation in our cities, which are currently poorly-protected and are being whittled away by big developments such as roads and gradual ‘death by 1000 cuts’.
“Government can facilitate more extensive industry uptake of Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design (BSUD) by specifying BSUD principles in planning and building regulations.
“Schools and supporting community biodiversity partnerships have a big role to play reconnecting people with nature.
“There's a significant opportunity to work with Traditional Owners to develop a program around totem species for schools that builds habitat for species, generates knowledge and respect for Indigenous culture, delivers health and wellbeing benefits and STEM education opportunities for students.”
Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group (ICON Science) at RMIT University, which uses interdisciplinary approaches to solve environmental problems. She is particularly passionate about bringing nature back into cities. Sarah is an ARC Future Fellow, leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs and is the Chief Investigator on a European Commission-funded project investigating nature-based solutions for cities.
Professor David Hayward (0416 174 833 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Topics: the Victorian economy, social service sector, social policy.
“The Victorian economy is growing at a sharp clip, on some measures at a faster rate than the rest of the country, driven partly by very highly population growth.
“Also important has been growth in health care and social assistance and infrastructure-driven construction.
“The strength of the economy in turn has left the budget in a strong position too, underpinned by fast growth in property market-based tax revenues.
“With the housing market now cooling, the budget is weakening and whoever wins the election is likely to have much less to spend than Treasurer Tim Pallas had when he took over.
“Here is one of the binds that the next government will have to tackle. The very high population growth is putting great pressure on the spending side of the budget, just at that moment when the revenues may not be there to pay for what is needed.
“A couple of questions from all this: governments are usually safe when the economy is booming, is this likely to be so this time round? If spending needs are rising yet revenues are falling, is this a good time to win an election?”
Professor David Hayward is an economist and Director of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) RMIT Future Social Service Institute. He was previously the Dean of RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (2009 – 2016). He has undertaken extensive research around the funding of social services and social policy and is a regular media commentator on state politics and budgets.
LAW AND ORDER
Dr Michelle Noon (0433 810 910 or email@example.com)
Topics: crime, law and order, crime statistics, offending behaviours, youth justice, youth crime, community safety and fear of crime
“Victoria is not only one of the world’s most liveable states; it is also one of its safest.
“Despite this, election-after-election we see that votes are won from increasing the community’s fear of crime.
“What is interesting is that many ‘tough on crime’ policies don’t work, might make us less safe, and can harm our sense of community, our sense of safety, and our wellbeing.”
Dr Michelle Noon is a criminologist and psychologist, who started her career with Victoria Police and in Senior Advisory with KPMG. She now works with the clinically-dangerous, spending her days providing forensic assessment of Victoria’s prisoners. On her non-clinical days, she trains clinicians, cops and lawyers on working with complex trauma, collaborates with government on justice and clinical policy, and lectures in forensic interviewing at RMIT University. Her research area is the community’s fear of crime, and how reducing this fear can improve community wellbeing.
*Availability: If no answer, may be in a meeting with clients so please text and include deadline.
Dr Kathryn Daley (0412 168 361 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Topics: Youth crime, corrections/prisons and social affairs, including homelessness.
“The lack of policies to substantively address homelessness is the biggest gap the social affairs space.
“Without this, any policies looking at reducing family violence, homelessness, crime or mental health are fundamentally-flawed as these issues can’t be resolved if people don’t have housing security.
“The Andrews Government has done a good job in some areas of social welfare, particularly family violence.
“Their commitment to following expert advice is warmly welcomed and the medically-supervised injecting facility in Richmond is to be applauded.
“However, there is a lack of evidence-based policy on crime issues and a larger youth prison will not reduce crime.
“There is also a short-sightedness in having invested no new money into youth homelessness services, despite homelessness being at record levels.
“Simultaneously, it has been disappointing that the two major parties have been so reluctant to extend the age of leaving care to 21 in line with established best practice, though the Andrews Government late announcement to fund a trial of this is welcome.”
Dr Kathryn Daley is a lecturer in RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. She is an expert in social affairs, specialising in marginalised groups, such as people who are homeless, experiencing mental health issues or involved with the justice or child protection systems. She has researched young people's pathways in and out of substance abuse and issues of homelessness and mental health. Her research is focused on improving policy and practice.
Stan Winford (0438 080 608 or email@example.com)
Topics: crime, law and order, youth justice, restorative justice, spent convictions/criminal records, specialist courts, victims of crime, access to justice and legal aid, prisons, punishment, sentencing, policing, mental health, disability and the law, drugs and the law.
Stan Winford is the Associate Director at RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice. He is a legal and justice system expert with experience in innovation and reform, including applications for restorative justice in criminal and civil law. Stan is a practising lawyer who has held senior roles in government and community legal services. He is currently chair of the Mental Health Legal Centre.
For general media inquiries, please contact the RMIT External Communications team:
0439 704 077 or firstname.lastname@example.org .