Environmental Determinants of Health

The environment plays a vital role in the wellbeing of a community. Factors such as where we live and the state of our environment can impact our physical and mental health, wellbeing and safety. Communities need access to open space, natural environments and recreational spaces, as well as infrastructure for transport, employment, education and social connection.

Communities need access to open space, natural environments and recreational spaces, as well as infrastructure for transport, employment, education and social connection.1

Areas located on the urban fringe of Greater Melbourne are experiencing rapid growth and face challenges in the provision of local infrastructure and services which may lead to transport and housing stress and poorer access to services. This profile compares Wyndham to areas across Greater Melbourne and Victoria on key environmental determinants of health relevant to Wyndham as a growth area, including access to open space, transport and housing.

Compared to similar growth areas, Wyndham is facing challenges and vulnerabilities in areas such as provision of open space, increasing housing diversity, rental and mortgage stress, and living pressures.

All data refers to adults aged 18+ years unless otherwise stated.

Open space plays an important role in our society, providing places for exercise, quiet reflection, children’s play and sports. As shown in the graph below, 9.9 hectares per 1,000 population is classified public open space in Wyndham. This is comparable to the other growth area of Casey (10.9), and less than growth areas of Greater Melbourne, including Cardinia (183.0) and Melton (15.8).

Public Open Space - Hectares per 1,000 Population, 2019
Public Open Space - Hectares per 1,000 Population, 20192

Roads and trains in Wyndham and Greater Melbourne are becoming increasingly congested as the population quickly grows and more people are travelling from Wyndham to the city for work.

As shown in the graph below, 17.5% of Wyndham residents reported that at least one member of their household travelled 90 minutes or more to and from work in 2018 - about the same as in 2017. In 2018, the most common commute length (42%) is between 30 and 60 minutes. This category has seen a sharp increase from 2016, when it was 30% of residents.

Wyndham commute times to work, 2014 to 2018
Wyndham residents' commute time to work, 2014 to 20183

As displayed in the table below, the proportion of Wyndham residents over the age of 15 using public transport to travel to work has increased since 2011 from 11.4% of employed persons to 15.3% in 2016. Increases in public transport use have also occurred across Greater Melbourne and Victoria.

In Wyndham, increased use of public transport could in part be due to the opening of two new train stations, Tarneit and Wyndham Vale, as well as zone 1 train fares being extended to the end of the Metro Werribee line, reducing the cost of train travel.


Journey to work using public transport, 15+ years, Wyndham, Greater Melbourne and Victoria 2011 and 20164
Journey to Work Using Public Transport, 15 + Years 2011 to 2016

Metropolitan Train Load Standard Surveys are conducted annually to measure how many passengers travel on trains against how many passengers the train could potentially carry. In 2014 and 2015, 40% of morning peak hour serviceson the Werribee line were carrying more passengers than recommended and almost half of all peak hour passengers were riding these trains.

After the opening of the Regional Rail Link stations at Tarneit and Wyndham Vale in 2015, congestion on the Werribee line eased. In 2016, 28.6% of the train services during morning peak hour were above capacity, and less than 40% of passengers were riding these trains.

In May 2018, 13% of morning peak hour trains were in breach of recommended passenger numbers and around 18% of morning commuters were using this service.  The results for 2019 were similar to 2018.

Public Transport Congestion, 2014 to 2019
Werribee train load public transport congestion, 2012 to 20185

As shown in the graph below, 58.6% of households in Wyndham have access to two or more vehicles, compared to 50.7% of households in Greater Melbourne. Also, 3.5% of households in Wyndham did not have access to a car, compared to 8.5% of households in Greater Melbourne.

Car Ownership per Household, 2016
Car ownership – per household, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 20166

Rates of mortgage stress for low-income earners are similar in Wyndham, Greater Melbourne and Victoria. However, there are slightly elevated levels of housing stress in Wyndham, with approximately 13.3% of homeowners on low incomes struggling to maintain their mortgage repayments, compared to 11.2% across Greater Melbourne and 11% across Victoria.

In Wyndham, 26.9% (over 5,000 homes) of low-income earners are experiencing rental stress.


Housing Stress, Wyndham, Greater Melbourne and Victoria 20167
Housing Stress, 2016

Housing diversity refers to the range of housing types provided within a neighbourhood. In Wyndham, the diversity of housing is low.

As shown in the graph below, over 86% of dwellings have three or more bedrooms, compared to approximately 67% of dwellings in Greater Melbourne. Furthermore, compared to Greater Melbourne, there are fewer smaller homes with two bedrooms or less in Wyndham (25.5% and 7.6% respectively).

Housing Diversity - Number of Bedrooms per Dwelling, 2016
Number of bedrooms per dwelling, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne 20168
Aerial image of houses

The VAMPIRE Index is a measure of the impact that increased mortgage costs, rising fuel prices and inflation may have on households. The index combines the following information from the Census of Population and Housing to create a vulnerability score for geographical areas:

  • Journey to work by car 
  • Households with two or more cars
  • Median weekly household income
  • Proportion of dwellings purchased through a mortgage or rent/buy scheme.

The heat map below uses red to show areas of high vulnerability (scores of 12 and over) and green (scores below 10) to indicate resilience to cost of living fluctuations. The first heat map is of Wyndham in 2016 and the second is of Greater Melbourne in 2016.

Wyndham VAMPIRE heat map, 2016
Heat map of areas of high vulnerability and resilience to cost of living fluctuations, Wyndham 20169
Greater Melbourne VAMPIRE heat map, 2016
Heat map of areas of high vulnerability and resilience to cost of living fluctuations, Greater Melbourne 201610

As seen in the maps, Wyndham has more areas of high vulnerability than much of Greater Melbourne. The first heat map highlights the Wyndham suburbs most vulnerable to rising fuel and mortgage costs. Overall, the majority of Wyndham areas are particularly vulnerable to inflation. There are some small areas within Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, Point Cook and Laverton North identified in green, where vulnerability to changing costs of living is low.