Latrobe City is located in the Gippsland region of Victoria, about 150 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. It is the 4th fourth largest Regional City in Victoria and the only Regional City in eastern Victoria. Latrobe City is an urban and rural area, with the majority of the population living in the urban areas. The City includes the four major centres of Churchill, Moe-Newborough, Morwell and Traralgon and the smaller townships of Boolarra, Glengarry, Toongabbie, Traralgon South, Tyers, Yallourn North and Yinnar. Traralgon is the largest town, followed by Moe-Newborough and Morwell. The City encompasses a total land area of about 1,422 square kilometres. Latrobe City is a significant energy provider for Victoria, with brown coal mining used to generate electricity, and accordingly, the City's growth has been associated with the development of the power industry in the area. In addition, there is significant manufacturing in the City, notably Maryvale Paper Mill and National Foods.
However, the majority of the population in Latrobe City is employed in services, most notably retail trade, health and education. As a major regional centre for Gippsland, Latrobe City is relatively self-contained in employment terms and indeed many people travel to parts of the City from the neighbouring Shires for work, education and services. Future changes to population will be mainly associated with employment growth or decrease in these industries.
The population of Latrobe City grew substantially during the post-war period to just over 70,000 in 1991 spurred by the construction of power stations. The population declined between 1991 and 2001, largely due to the restructuring of the utilities sector. Since 2001, the decline in population has reversed, with an increase in population between the 2001 to 2006 period. Recent evidence suggests that residential building rates are still on the increase and a range of new employment and investment opportunities have also been identified which should see development continue to grow in the future. These include the Traralgon Bypass project, the Gippsland Logistics Precinct, growth of the Latrobe Regional Airport Industrial precinct as well as major expansion to the power industry, other opportunities in alternative uses for coal products and clean energy generation research.
Migration gain to Latrobe City tends to be based on families from overseas as well as young adults from neighbouring Shires. Many young people also leave the City after completing their secondary education, with a number of them migrating to Melbourne or places with strong job prospects like Queensland. It is assumed that a number of these patterns will continue into the future, most notably flows into the City from overseas and from surrounding rural areas and losses of young people to larger centres, albeit in lower numbers. Recent development trends in Latrobe City show Traralgon - Traralgon East providing 60-65% of all dwelling gain. In the future, this trend in Traralgon - Traralgon East is expected to continue, albeit with a slight decline in the overall share (50-55%).
With the size of Latrobe City and its varied land use and local economy, different areas within the City have developed different roles in the housing market. The centres of Moe - Moe South, Morwell and Newborough tend to attract young families, with affordable home owning opportunities, while Churchill is attractive to young adults due to Monash University. Traralgon - Traralgon East tends to attract all age groups, catering for young and mature families with greenfield development while also attracting young adults due to the centrality of location and their proximity to services and available rental accommodation. The Rural areas of the City tend to attract a combination of young and mature families.
There are also significant differences in the supply of future residential land within the City which will also have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures over the next twenty-five years. Large new 'greenfield' opportunities have been identified in fringe areas in all the major centres, most notably in Traralgon - Traralgon East, Moe - Moe South and Morwell, and to a lesser extent in Newborough and Churchill. There are likely to be other greenfield, rural residential and most notably infill development opportunities throughout the City, albeit at lower levels than the major growth areas identified above.