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Labor Takes The Reins_____

Labor Takes The Reins

The polling booths have closed and the Labor party under Dan Andrews has the numbers in the Legislative Assembly to form government in Victoria. Now is a good time to look at how their policies will shape Melbourne and Victoria, and their effect on the planning and property industries.

Based on the new government’s pre-election statements – and our observations – Victorians will see:
  • A new series of 'Game of Zones' – a review of how the new residential zones were rolled out and could be improved, including further consideration of whether they address Victoria’s housing needs.
  • From MPA to VPA and GPA? – the Metropolitan Planning Authority to be renamed the Victorian Planning Authority and take a more active, State-wide role in fast-tracking projects which have become “stuck”. A Geelong Planning Authority has also been promised to revitalise Geelong’s CBD.
  • Fishermen's Bend the Rules. This Urban Renewal Area will be re-cast into smaller-scale neighbourhoods with less high-rise development. As well, “inclusionary zoning” will be applied when some government sites are sold for development, with social housing or affordable housing requirements.
  • VCAT, meet my mate's mate – legislation will be amended so that the weight of community opposition – as seen in relation to McDonalds at Tecoma and Lend Lease’s Orrong Road residential towers – can be taken into account by VCAT in deciding whether a project should proceed.
  • Love thy neighbour’s wind farm – reducing from the present 2 km to 1 km the “buffer” that effectively allows residents to veto new wind farms.
  • Lock up the UGB - a commitment to retaining the existing urban growth boundary.
  • Greener 'green wedges' – placing tighter restrictions on the kinds of development allowed in green wedge areas. Labor has also pledged to review "large scale" private development in national parks.
  • East-West tunnel buried – the new government won’t defend contracts signed by the previous government to build the East-West Link. Since Moonee Valley, Moreland and Yarra councils have taken Supreme Court action to have the contracts declared invalid, this means the road project may be scrapped.
  • Next stops: Mernda and Bendigo – the South Morang line will be extended to Mernda. Labor has also promised a dedicated commuter rail service for Bendigo and surrounding areas.
  • Dig here dig there – the Metro rail tunnel from Footscray to South Yarra via the centre of Melbourne, with stations at Arden, Parkville, CBD North and South and Domain, will be planned instead of the previous government’s Melbourne Rail Link via Fishermen's Bend. In addition, 50 level crossings in and around Melbourne have been listed for grade separation.
  • Stopping the white elephant – through the establishment of Infrastructure Victoria, an independent, non-political body to plan and manage Victoria’s infrastructure needs, including by reviewing the merits of projects competing for funding.
As always, the ability for the new government to follow up on its announced policies depends – among other things – on whether it can steer its legislation through the Legislative Council.

If you’d like any more information about how the election outcome will affect you, please talk to Adam Terrill or Andrew Caspar, or to your existing Tract contact, on (03) 9429-6133.
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