Work/life balance isn’t a question of how – it’s all about where
Australia rates a poor 27 out of 37 countries on work/life balance for parents, according to OECD and World Bank data, and reports have put the average commute in Victoria at around 500 hours a year. If Lovely Banks is approved, more residents in Greater Geelong will have the opportunity to work close to home.
It’s on most people’s wish list yet it still remains elusive. In fact, Australia rates a poor 27 out of 37 countries on work/life balance for parents, according to new research that analysed OECD and World Bank data.
But before you think that it’s because people are working longer hours, think again. Just recently, in May 2018, the Geelong Advertiser ran a story about its region’s residents having some of the longest commuting times.
Given these findings, surely the ideal would be to find a job you love, close to where you would like to live so you can just say goodbye to that time-consuming commute.
“Better work/life balance is one of the reasons why we are keen to create a masterplanned community in Lovely Banks,” said Greg Bursill who recently documented a detailed proposal and lodged this with the City of Greater Geelong for the Council’s consideration.
As General Manager of the Lovely Banks Development Group, Greg Bursill is excited by the prospect of jobs being closer to home. This will be achieved by providing housing within the Northern Geelong Growth Area (NGGA), where much of Geelong’s employment base is weighted, and also through Lovely Banks being so very convenient to the Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct (GREP).
“Of course, developing Lovely Banks will create many new jobs and, in doing so, reduce the commute for residents living right throughout the Greater Geelong region,” Greg Bursill added. “With the changing form of cities these days, people can add hours a day just to travel to and from work. For families this is valuable time that you really don’t get back, precious hours that parents could spend with their children.”
The impact of the daily commute cannot be denied. Some reports have put the average commute in Victoria at around 500 hours a year. When you take out weekends, public holidays and annual leave, that’s a huge amount of time wasted each working day.
Living close to work is more than time saving
Greg Bursill agrees that a reduced commute would be desirable for all households, regardless of whether they have children, because of the money savings as well.
“The daily commute costs in fares, petrol consumption, wear and tear on your motor vehicle. Even expenses like insurance can increase depending on car usage. By being able to live in a community, like the one we are proposing at Lovely Banks, and work close-by, residents should have more cash to spend. That’s good for the household budget and also for local businesses,” Greg Bursill elaborated.
In real terms, Lovely Banks will bring some $390 million per annum in new spending to the area. It is a fairly conservative figure, based on 30,000 residents each spending just $13,000 a year. These and other financial advantages were outlined, by Greg Bursill and his team, in the Lovely Banks Development Group Response to City of Greater Geelong Settlement Strategy.
If given the go ahead by the City of Greater Geelong, Lovely Banks will accommodate 14,000 new homes. By helping house a growing population of at least two per cent per annum Lovely Banks will stop home prices soaring. Lovely Banks will also provide its own commercial and retail facilities, estimated to generate another 5,320 jobs.
The benefits are many for Geelong locals
If Lovely Banks is approved, more residents in Greater Geelong will have the opportunity to work close to home.
“Over the next two decades, Lovely Banks will create some 1,885 construction jobs per annum and priority will be given to local workers,” Greg Bursill emphasised.
Improved work/life balance has been credited with boosting on the job productivity and lowering absenteeism, promoting better health by alleviating stress and even creating happier home environments where children don’t feel they have to compete for Mum and Dad’s time. Add to these, reduced traffic resulting in less noise and pollution. Just some of the many environmental benefits we can expect as well.
So rather than ask how we can achieve the ideal, work/life balance, let’s look at where we can build housing and provide employment in close proximity, to really make a positive and lasting difference.