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The City of Maribyrnong incorporates a relatively diverse range of urban land uses, combining residential, commercial, industrial and education functions within the municipality. The residential and industrial development of the City began in the nineteenth century around Footscray and along the Maribyrnong River. Further industrial expansion occurred during the early twentieth century, resulting in population increases and establishing the land-use geography of the City. Areas in Maribyrnong and Maidstone were dominated by heavy industry, quarries and Commonwealth uses, notably the explosives and ordnance factories and the Maribyrnong Migrant Hostel (post World War Two). Areas along the Maribyrnong River in Footscray and Yarraville were also strongly oriented towards industry and maritime activity. This large employment base attracted a significant population to the area. The location of the Maribyrnong Migrant Hostel (now closed) and the combination of affordable housing (especially rental) lead to substantial permanent settler overseas migration to the City over the post-war period. This process was also aided by considerable Government-managed housing stock in Braybrook and Maidstone constructed during the 1950s and 1960s.
The closure of large industrial sites since the 1960s has provided ample supply of land for new housing developments, particularly former Department of Defence sites along the Maribyrnong River in the suburb of Maribyrnong (now the Edgewater Estate). The population of the City declined slightly during the early 1990s, falling from about 61,000 in 1991 to about 59,000 in 1996. The population was then relatively stable between 1996 and 2001. Between 2001 and 2006, the population increased slightly, rising to about 63,000. This was due mainly to several large new housing developments. Growth continued from 2006, with the population rising to over 87,000 in 2016. Population growth is expected to continue, with further development opportunities created from the redevelopment of older industrial sites. Considerable high density development is expected within the Footscray Central Activity Centre, encouraged by recent (and future) infrastructure projects such as the recent upgrade of Footscray Station and its continued development as a major transport hub. Significant areas of brownfield land within Footscray have been identified for redevelopment: in particular the Joseph Road precincct, which is expected to yield upwards of 4,000 apartment style dwellings. It is expected that development within this precinct and on a number of other identified sites will commence over the next two to three years. The City also has a number of other strategic sites, such as the Kinnear Rope Factory and the old Bradmill site in Yarraville, which are likely to commence development in the near future. Other sites, such as the potential redevelopment of land around the Highpoint Shopping Centre and the Maribyrnong defence site along Cordite Avenue are likely to develop in the longer term, toward the end of the forecast period.
Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.
Areas within City of Maribyrnong have developed different roles within the housing market due to the varied development phases, the large in-migration of overseas migrants, the activity of Government in public housing provision, the location of various institutions and associated accommodation (Victoria University) and the changing value of residential land in the municipality. Areas such as Footscray are attractive to tertiary students and recent overseas migrants due to the opportunities for affordable rental accommodation and being close to significant retail services and education. Seddon, West Footscray and Yarraville tend to attract slightly older adults, many of whom are looking to upgrade within the Maribyrnong housing market, although these areas do tend to lose young and mature families as a proportion of families seek to upgrade elsewhere to larger dwellings. Maribyrnong and Maidstone have maintained a greater role in housing families, while Braybrook has attracted people seeking affordable housing to purchase, as well as public housing renters. This variety of function and role of the small areas in City of Maribyrnong means that population outcomes differ significantly across the municipality.
This process is heightened by the significant differences in the supply of residential development opportunities within the City which will have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures over the next five to fifteen years. Significant large development sites have been identified in the suburbs of Footscray, Braybrook and Maidstone. Maribyrnong too has additional potential, despite the fact that the development of the Edgewater Estate is now into its final stages and can be expected to be fully developed wihtin the next couple of years. In particular, there are several major opportunities which are likely albeit in the longer term: the Highpoint Principal Activity and the Department of Defence site to the north of Cordite Avenue. Footscray is expected to undergo substantial development in the future, with a significant increase in higher density dwellings expected, especially following the recently upgraded train station and increased rail services. All areas are also likely to have some further new residential opportunities through infill owing to the changing value of land within City of Maribyrnong and the move to convert former industrial, light industrial and other ’underutilised’ land (car parks etc.) to residential purposes.
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