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Benched, Delisted or Promoted? Plan Melbourne’s Draft v Final_____

Benched, Delisted or Promoted? Plan Melbourne’s Draft v Final

Just as the 2014 AFL season is getting serious, players and spectators in the planning and development game have another distraction – the much-anticipated release of Plan Melbourne - the State Government’s vision for metropolitan Melbourne to 2050.

Today the State Government released the final version of Plan Melbourne, a strategy for dealing with the economic, environmental, heritage and liveability impacts of Melbourne's strong population growth.

Plan Melbourne was released in draft in October 2013 for public consultation and has been the subject of lively and sometimes heated debate. The draft initiatives are well known - the real interest lies in what has changed from the draft version to today's final version.

And just as every footy season produces its share of triumphs and tragedies, the final Plan Melbourne has seen some initiatives promoted while others have been sent to the bench or, in some cases, left off the team altogether.


New initiatives that weren't given a run in last October's draft but have appeared in today's final version:
  • A new name - the Melbourne Rail Link - and a new alignment for the old Metro underground rail link, which will run from South Yarra Station via Domain and Fishermans Bend (Montague) to Southern Cross, and now includes the Airport Rail Link. It has been brought forward from a medium-term initiative (2017-2025) to a short-term initiative (with construction to commence within 4 years).
  • New urban renewal areas in Fitzroy and North Fitzroy (on either side of Alexandra Parade), at the Lilydale Quarry (Cave Hill) and at Watsonia and Hughesdale Stations.
  • New measures to accommodate faster population growth and help meet associated housing demand - a continuing role for regional cities to share in population growth; a new Metropolitan Housing Map, showing the spatial location of residential growth; and annual reporting to the Minister for Planning on the progress of planning for future housing needs.


Existing initiatives that were in the draft plan that have gained in prominence and position:
  • Significantly increased population and job growth projections - with a possible population of 7.7 million by 2051 (1.2 million or 20% more than in the draft Plan Melbourne).
  • A greater role for housing in established areas in both absolute and percentage terms. Under the draft Plan Melbourne, the established areas/growth areas split was 57% to 43%; under today's final Plan Melbourne, 61% of new housing will go to established areas and 38% to growth areas.
  • There is also a dramatic increase in the estimated contribution of apartments to meeting the required provision of new dwellings:
  • The full East-West Link, which by 2025 will link the Eastern Freeway with the Western Ring Road.
  • Identification of health and/or education precincts at Frankston, Epping, Melton, Craigieburn and other locations.
  • Greater powers for the MPA - the Metropolitan Planning Authority will be given planning powers over certain parts of Melbourne, and will be responsible for considering changes to the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).
  • Outside of Plan Melbourne, the Terms of Reference of the existing Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee have been changed to include Stage 2, which will assist Councils to change their residential zones beyond 1 July 2014. This will assist Councils in responding to the expected increases in population and housing demand.

Initiatives that featured strongly in the draft but have been dropped from the final Plan Melbourne line-up:
  • The Melbourne Metro alignment under Swanston Street, and with it underground stations at CBD South, CBD North and Arden.
  • Expanded use of the Capital City Zone (CCZ) - which has been dropped in favour of a more general commitment to "world's best urban renewal" in areas including the central city, without reference to specific zones.
  • Benched
  • Initiatives that have kept their place on the team but look to have dropped down the playing order in terms of overall importance:
  • Rail services to Parkville - now part of a long-term possible rail link from Victoria Park through Parkville and on to Fishermans Bend.
  • Detached dwellings - which between the draft and the final Plan Melbourne have gone from 42% to 33% of the supply of new housing.

Plan Melbourne - and the recent State and Federal budgets - make it clear that infrastructure investment, both in road and rail projects, will take the leading role in driving metropolitan planning and shaping the future of Melbourne. So too will more efficient use of the existing transport system, with recognition given to the ability for arterial roads, trains, trams and buses to work together as an integrated system.

For investors and developers, the message is clear - access to existing and planned transport links will more than ever determine the success of your projects.

The Plan and associated information can be found at the Plan Melbourne website, here (external link).

If you'd like any more detail about Plan Melbourne and how it will affect you, please talk to your existing Tract contact or to Adam Terrill and Andrew Caspar on (03) 9429-6133 or by email at
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