Albury – Wodonga
Albury-Wodonga is the Australia’s broad settlement incorporating the two twin Australian cities of Albury and Wodonga, which are separated geographically by the Murray River and politically by a state border: Albury on the north of the river is part of New South Wales while Wodonga on the south bank is in Victoria.
Although in many cases the centre operates as one community, it has always been parallel municipal governments and state government services. However, the fact that Melbourne is very close to Sydney and the fact that Victorian television broadcasts in the region, resulting (among other things) in the predominance of Australian rules football in the local media outlets, gives Albury close cultural and psychological links to Victoria, despite its address in southern New South Wales. Albury-Wodonga was selected as the primary focus of the federal Whitlam government’s scheme to arrest the uncontrolled growth of Australia’s large coastal cities (Sydney and Melbourne in particular) by encouraging decentralisation.
From February 1, 2008, the train services on the line had been terminated at Wangaratta station, with coaches operating beyond. This is due to deteriorating track conditions between Seymour and Albury resulting in train speeds being reduced from 115 to 80 km/h (71 to 50 mph), and trains not being able to make the return journey in the timetabled period. On 30 May 2008 the Premier of Victoria John Brumby announced the broad gauge track between Seymour and Albury would be converted to standard gauge, with the project to be combined with the relocation of the railway line from the Wodonga CBD. The project is projected to be completed in 2010. Three V/Line passenger locomotives and 15 passenger carriages will also be converted to standard gauge to operate the service.
Grand plans were made to turn Albury-Wodonga into a major inland city. Some industries were enticed to move there, and a certain amount of population movement resulted. However, the current population of approximately 101,597 residents is far below the 300,000 projected by Whitlam in the 1970s. The industrial employment sector has meant that Albury-Wodonga, unusually for an Australian inland city, is not dependent on agriculture.
According to recent available data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average income of the Albury area is around $36K per year, below the $42K average for the state of NSW.