IT is becoming increasingly evident that the state government has simply given up on the issue of balancing growth and livability.
The decision this week to announce another six suburbs around the periphery of Melbourne to contain 37,000 households is one more example of where the conflicting interests of developer profit, housing affordability and residents' livability have been blithely deferred, rather than resolved.
Urban sprawl looks set to reach Melton and creep ever westward.
For Ballarat residents the news will make indifferent reading, that is until they take a future road trip to Melbourne and realise that the Western Freeway is no longer a freeway but a mass of interchanges, traffic lights and traffic crawl from Melton inwards.
The issue is the exploding west is failing now to keep up with any reasonable semblance of infrastructure and the future looks no better, and that will affect Ballarat.
The regional rail that makes a relatively comfortable commute for many Ballarat residents, equally, is likely to become a "must avoid" nightmare of the future unless there is an attempt to serve at least some of these communities with a metropolitan rail service.
V/Line's desperate attempts to run on time or avoid overcrowding will only suffer under a new influx of angry outer suburban hordes forced to contend with a sub-standard service.
If this seems a bit far fetched when considering a growth corridor, then consider some western suburbs of Melbourne are nearing their 20-year-old mark and still do not have a railway station.
The myopia of consecutive governments on these issues is infuriating to passengers and motorists alike.
But transport is only the tip of this perilous iceberg. Schools, childcare, healthcare and open space are just a number of demanding issues that are simply not being met in rapidly expanding suburbs.
Ensuring land owners and developers pay sufficiently from their profits for infrastructure, so they are not building the slums of the future, is another hard balancing act.
Past attempts to raise the levy on this kind of "super-profit" proved to be political poison and have been consigned to the "too-hard" basket.
There are salutary lessons from our increasingly closer Melbourne neighbours and what is inexcusable is the absence of long-term thinking. Learning those lessons is Ballarat's best chance of remaining a great place to live.