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Economic Disadvantage Report

Part 3: Transport & Infrastructure


Transport and infrastructure are critical components to a productive and prosperous local economy. There are a host of perceived benefits associated with being part of a metropolitan city, including a quality transport network and modern infrastructure. Despite its designation, the Mornington Peninsula does not receive the transport and infrastructure outcomes typically associated with a metropolitan municipality.

Transportation Issues

Despite being classified as part of metropolitan Melbourne within the transport sector, our transport network is significantly underdeveloped with over 80% of the region not serviced

Public transport options are few, infrequent, and distant from people’s homes. For example:

  • Population of 169,000 (2020) with a total land area of 720 sq km (72,000 ha)
  • Visitor profile includes 7.3 million total trips per annum (74% day trips)
  • 82% of the Mornington Peninsula is not serviced by public transport
  • 2 of the 3 major activity centres are not serviced by rail
  • The single diesel rail service is the only non-electrified line operated by Metro Trains
  • Subsequently, only 3% of residents use the limited public transport compared to 15% in Greater Geelong.

Transportation Impacts

The Mornington Peninsula’s current metropolitan status is likely to impact the region’s transport and infrastructure.

  • The Peninsula’s metropolitan status contrasts with the fact that the municipality strongly aligns with the infrastructure challenges experienced in regional Victoria.
  • Our analysis also indicates that regional Victoria receives a higher infrastructure expenditure per capita than metropolitan Melbourne.

Unfortunately, this means we are not realising one of the perceived benefits of being part of a metropolitan area, a quality transport network. This is resulting in:

Limited transport choices forcing commuters and visitors to rely on cars, causing more congestion, and compromising access to jobs, education, health services and social connections.

Limited access to good jobs that may result in people settling for lower-paid, lower-skill work.


The Mornington Peninsula has a relatively strong alignment with the infrastructure challenges experienced in regional Victoria. However, the Peninsula currently receives lower planned expenditure per person on infrastructure as part of metropolitan Melbourne.

For example, Victoria’s Infrastructure Strategy 2021-2050 identified several recurring infrastructure themes within regional Victoria, including

  • Inadequate digital connectivity
  • Improvements needed for freight, public transport and the condition of roads
  • Gaps in basic infrastructure
  • Inadequate access to affordable housing
  • Need for fit for purpose health and community facilities.

And these are all issues faced on the Peninsula, indicating that a regional designation could increase expenditure in these critical areas.

Our study of the Victoria Infrastructure Plan Projects Pipeline also reveals that the planned infrastructure spending varies between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne. The Projects Pipeline highlights the progress made on delivering the state’s long term infrastructure agenda and identifies new major projects and initiatives required in the future. The proposed infrastructure expenditure in Victoria from 2017 onwards shows:

  • Metropolitan Melbourne has $115 billion in infrastructure projects (commenced or are planned) 
  • Regional Victoria has only $45 billion (2019).

However, there is also a significant difference between regional and metropolitan infrastructure expenditure per person. Regional Victoria is projected to receive infrastructure spending of $30,300 per capita, compared to $22,100 in metropolitan Melbourne, as shown below. On a per-capita basis, expenditure in regional Victoria is higher across each sector, except transport.

For example, our assessment shows that planned infrastructure expenditure for health and human services in regional Victoria is $5,100 per capita compared to $1,400 in metropolitan Melbourne. Given the higher per capita infrastructure expenditure slated for regional Victoria across most sectors, it is worth considering whether the Mornington Peninsula aligns with the infrastructure challenges faced in regional Victoria.




Mornington Peninsula experiences most, if not all, of the issues highlighted in Victoria’s Infrastructure Strategy 2021-2050, suggesting a regional designation may be more appropriate from an infrastructure perspective. However, this analysis does not infer that a regional designation would directly result in an uplift in infrastructure expenditure on the Mornington Peninsula. Instead, it highlights the more considerable planned infrastructure expenditure (on a per capita basis) in regional Victoria. Furthermore, it highlights the potential benefits that could be realised for the Peninsula, mainly due to its strong alignment with regional infrastructure challenges.

The Mornington Peninsula suffers from a poor transport system with significant economic and social flow-on impacts throughout the local economy and community. Although, the Mornington Peninsula is part of metropolitan Melbourne and deserves a public transport network reflective of a metropolitan area.

The current metropolitan status likely impacts the region’s infrastructure. The research suggests that a regional designation is more appropriate for the Mornington Peninsula and is possibly one way to increase infrastructure expenditure per person.

What transport and infrastructure issues do you, your community, your business or your customers face on the Peninsula?

How can we advocate to improve transportation and infrastructure issues on the Peninsula?

Sign up for further updates or access the full Economic Disadvantage Report to learn more.

This research was conducted by Urban Enterprise as commissioned by the Committee for Mornington Peninsula in partnership with Australian Unity.

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  • Continue to advocate to government at all levels to adequately support Mornington Peninsula businesses in the COVID recovery;
  • Advocate to state and federal governments for further investment into the Mornington Peninsula to reduce the current disparity in public investment between the Mornington Peninsula and neighbouring municipalities;
  • Commission and publicise robust research into the potential policy and funding advantages and disadvantages of a regional vs. metropolitan designation for the Mornington Peninsula, to best inform further advocacy objectives;
  • Advocate to elected representatives on all sides of politics for a more suitable designation for the Mornington Peninsula than the current metropolitan model or for commensurate government investment under the current model; and
  • Maintain a record of favourable policy decisions and funding announcements that benefit comparable ‘regional’ communities and were not made available to the Mornington Peninsula.