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Decades of under-investment in transport links on Melbourne's fringe have had serious health impacts – and more than $150 billion is needed to address the problem.
One in four residents on Melbourne’s booming fringe now spends more than two hours a day in their car, new Melbourne University research has found, with residents of the city’s growth suburbs more likely than people in the rest of the city to have heart disease or obesity issues.
Melton GP Marcus Watson in Melton this week.CREDIT:JASON SOUTH
Melton GP Marcus Watson, who often spends more than an hour stuck in crawling traffic on his way to the CBD, has lived experience of this growing imbalance between inner and outer Melbourne – both as a doctor and as an occasional commuter.
Dr Watson has in recent times reduced the time he spends travelling to central Melbourne, but said the unpredictability of the commute still made it a nightmare.
“It’s so unpredictable," he said.
"It might take half an hour, it might take an hour and 15 minutes.”
Dr Watson said he regularly treated patients with preventable illnesses, such as diabetes, and has recommended they exercise regularly. But their time outside of work, he said, was generally spent on commuting long distances – or sitting idly in traffic.
“This is the very time they should be going for walks, spending time with their families,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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