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Melbourne is just 20,000 people away from being Australia’s biggest city, on one definition

Melbourne could take out the title of Australia’s biggest city within a year, if the urban boundary definition used excluded outer areas like Melton.

Currently, the Australian Bureau of Statistics uses the ‘greater capital cities’ definition to estimate populations.

The method includes outer areas such as Melton and Sunbury in Melbourne and the NSW Central Coast in Sydney.

Using this calculation, Sydney has a population of 5.31 million while Melbourne has a population of 5.08 million.

Demographer Glenn Capuano told the Herald Sun there is a more narrow boundary ruling known as the ‘significant urban area’ definition which would exclude Melton, Sunbury and the NSW central coast from Melbourne and Sydney population estimates.

Using that definition, there are only about 20,000 more people in Sydney than in Melbourne.

RMIT planning expert Professor Michael Buxton told 3AW’s Tom Elliott some of Melbourne’s outermost suburbs weren’t originally part of the city.

“They were originally intended to be two satellite cities, Melton and Sunbury,” he said.

The city has grown enormously since 2002, as the city’s boundary has been expanded.

“In 2002, the Bracks government brought in a quite strict urban growth boundary, and the Brumby government expanded it by 43,000 hectares, mainly in the west and the south-east,” Professor Buxton said.

“We really added a huge amount of potential growth.

“When you look at the figures they’re just astronomical.”

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