Category Archives: Policy

Regional Victoria targeted for future growth strategy

A new $631 million blueprint for regional growth has been unveiled by the Victorian Government. Ready for Tomorrow: A Blueprint for Regional and Rural Victoria provides strategic investment to encourage economic growth, attract jobs, increase population and allow major new investment. The blueprint sets out five key strategies and establishes a new process for Regional Strategic Planning. The new planning framework will allow regional communities greater control in identifying and planning their development.

Reporting on the new policy The Age identifies population pressure within Melbourne as one of the key factors behind the government’s investment in regional areas:

“The regional blueprint is designed to reduce the threats to Melbourne’s ‘liveability’ caused by the city’s population boom, and to limit the prospects of a revolt against Labor in marginal regional seats at November’s state election.

Labor strategists fear Victoria’s population growth of nearly 2000 a week is causing a political backlash in Melbourne as the city struggles with extra demand on trains, trams, buses, roads and hospitals.”

Public housing demand

Atherton Gardens, Fitzroy

Atherton Gardens, Fitzroy [Source: Google Maps]

March figures from The Department of Human Services reveal that nearly 40,000 applicants are on the public housing waiting list. The Federal and State Governments will attempt to address demand across Victoria by investing in the following:

  • The Nation Building Social Housing Initiative will build 4,500 new homes for low-income households.
  • The National Rental Affordability Scheme will deliver at least 7,500 new rental homes to be let at 20 per cent below market rents.
  • The State Government is set to acquire more than 3,800 new homes for low-income households in 2010-11 and invest $510 million to deliver 2,350 new public and social housing units.

A related report in The Age focuses on a proposal to provide hundreds of additional homes at three of Melbourne’s largest public housing estates; Atherton Gardens in Fitzroy, Elizabeth Street in Richmond and Malvern Road in Prahran.

City of Melbourne’s Draft Budget

Docklands Library

Docklands Library [Source: City of Melbourne]

The City of Melbourne’s draft budget for 2010–11 proposes an $84 million funding boost to the municipality’s infrastructure. Key elements of the draft budget include:

  • $7.2 million rescue package for Melbourne’s drought affected trees as part of the $26.4 million allocated for parks and gardens.
  • New community facilities for Southbank with $5 million allocated for the first phase redevelopment of the former JH Boyd Girls’ High School.
  • $3.1 million committed to undertake future strategic development of the Queen Victoria Market including a study to transform Queen Street into a pedestrian precinct.
  • $9.2 million to develop a blueprint for transforming Melbourne’s streets. This will focus on changing city streets from thoroughfares to civic spaces starting with Swanston Street, Queen Street, Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane.
  • $2.5 million to commence Docklands’ first public library in partnership with VicUrban.
  • $3.4 million city safety package including an extension of the CCTV patrol vehicle program and increased night time arts and cultural events.
  • $2 million funding increase to enhance premier festivals and events.
  • $600,000 to fit-out the community hub located at the Drill Hall, North Melbourne.
  • $400,000 to complete the $5 million upgrade of Melbourne’s Tan Track, which encircles the Royal Botanic Gardens and King’s Domain and is used by 300,000 people annually.

State Government budget targets key planning policies

The recent $72.1 million State Government budget targets key planning policy documents including Melbourne @ 5 million, Melbourne 2030 and Planning for all of Melbourne. The budget allocates $10.4 million over four years for Central Activities Districts and Employment Corridors and a further $8.3 million over four years to accelerate development in Activity Centres and infill sites within Melbourne. Other initiatives funded in the 2010 State Budget include:

  • $5.9 million over four years to develop housing and employment data to plan for future development;
  • $2.6 million for programs and community grants to preserve Victoria’s Heritage;
  • $9.5 million over five years for urban renewal in Footscray, including planning support for a residential, office and commercial development within the 1.3ha McNab Ave site;
  • $22.8 million in the Transport Connections project to provide reliable transport links;
  • $3 million to extend the Living Libraries program;
  • $14 million over two years to revitalise suburban sports facilities; and
  • $4 million in grants for community infrastructure in growth areas.

New guidelines for Maribyrnong River

Maribyrnong River Valley Design Guidelines

Map indicating the seven sections of the Maribyrnong River, each with their own specific character. [Source: Department of Planning and Community Development – Maribyrnong River Valley Vision and Design Guidelines]

The Maribyrnong River Valley Design Guidelines are intended as an overarching framework to achieve planning consistency along the river valley. The main purpose of the guidelines is to protect open space and guide development along the river, as well as expand and link existing parkland, walking paths and cycling trails. The guidelines set out a vision for the river valley by defining seven different sections of the river, each with their own specific character:

  • Brimbank length: a natural river
  • teele Creek length: a secluded river
  • Maribyrnong length: a suburban river
  • Racecourse length: river flats
  • Footscray length: an urban river
  • Footscray Wharf length: an urban river
  • Port length: a working river

A range of priority actions for further work, from the Organ Pipes National Park through to the river mouth, are identified including capital works, planning scheme amendments, enlarging the open space corridor, further detailed planning and community engagement.

Project Melbourne: towards a sustainable city

Project Melbourne is a series of news articles and multimedia reports by The Age “aimed at encouraging and broadening public debate about Melbourne’s future” […]

4,500 new private rental homes

Housing Minister Richard Wynne has announced that the “Labor government will deliver a $177 million incentive package to the private sector to build 4,500 new private rental homes […]

Vote stops city expansion

The Age reports “The state government has scrapped plans to expand Melbourne’s outer limits after a tax on land sales in growth areas was defeated in the upper house” […]