Our Minister has now announced the transition of the Victorian Planning Authority (MPA) to the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA). This is an new era for us and we look forward to working closely with our stakeholders on our current and future projects.
The new VPA
Today at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) address Minister Wynne launched the VPA, announcing that the Victorian Government will build on the success of the MPA and extend our focus to Victoria’s regional cities and towns, as well as key strategic redevelopment sites.
The VPA has been provided with an additional $2.1 million to fund a specialist regional unit that will work with councils to develop plans supporting jobs and growth, and provide grants and expertise to assist with local planning. The unit is in place and headed up by Tim Peggie and Karoline Ware. Further information on this will soon be sent to councils and posted on our website.
The VPA will also support the 9 Regional Partnerships through Regional Development Victoria and local councils, to develop Implementation Plans that give effect to the objectives of the 2014 Regional Growth Plans.
We already have a strong track record in regional Victoria having undertaken planning work in Wodonga, Warragul, Drouin, Torquay and Shepparton. We are also scoping out work with the City of Greater Bendigo for Plan Bendigo, announced by our Minister in July.
Strategic Development Sites
The VPA has also been given an additional $2 million to streamline subdivision processes and unlock strategic development sites for housing and jobs. Funding for streamlining of subdivision processes will be used by the VPA to support councils to speed up approvals and ensure we have a strong pipeline of new homes going to market.
Strategic redevelopment sites have the potential to unlock under-utilised land for jobs, investment, and housing. These sites exist in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Some of them may be stuck in the planning system, in need of a masterplan or help in navigating their way through government processes. We are looking forward to working on these often challenging sites.
One example of this is the work we are doing with the City of Kingston and Goodman who own the Clayton Business Park – the site of the former Nissan factory. This is a classic 30ha redevelopment site for a modern mixed use development adjoining Westall Station in the Monash Cluster.
This new work however will not distract us from our ongoing work program including designing new suburbs in the Greenfields and our urban renewal program.
One of the great strengths of the MPA has been the ability to plan for a level of readily developable land that is substantially more affordable than comparable cities. In Sydney, the price of an average block of land is $250,000 more than in Melbourne, because of our State’s ability to manage growth and ensure there is good competition, with the winners being the homebuyer. We take the same approach to facilitating affordable and well designed housing options in regional and urban renewal areas to help the state manage our growing population.
A list of current projects is on our website and a finalised work program will be settled in the next month or so. I will share that with you as soon as possible.
Finally, legislation is being drafted for the VPA that will provide greater clarity on our role and responsibilities. As part of broadening the scope of the VPA, there will be some changes to the board.
Leonie and Laurinda
Our Chair, Leonie Hemingway has resigned after years of service in a range of roles, and I would like to sincerely thank Leonie for her advice and leadership over nearly four years and for the extensive contribution she has made to public service in Victoria. Our former Deputy Chair, Laurinda Gardiner has also resigned due to her commitment in Geelong as an administrator and we also thank her for the great energy and focus she brought to the Board’s discussions.
The Minister has announced that Jennifer Cunich and Trevor Budge have been appointed as members of the new VPA Board. Many of you will know Jennifer who has recently left the Property Council of Victoria and is now the CEO at the Australian Institute of Architects.
Trevor Budge is a Latrobe University Associate Professor and the Manager of Strategy at Greater Bendigo Council. Trevor lives in Bendigo and is a leading voice on regional growth issues.
We are very pleased our Board is able to have professionals of this calibre join our existing Board members: Bill Kusznirczuk, Brian Haratsis, Freya Marsden and the Hon. Theo Theophanous. The government is looking to appoint a new Chair for the VPA Board which they are hoping to finalise soon.
The Minister’s press release can be found at:
A new and improved website
The VPA has launched a new website which aims to be informative, intuitive and interactive. We want it to be the ‘go to’ resource for reliable and factual information for the general public, government agencies, industry and internal staff. Any feedback is most welcome – www.vpa.vic.gov.au
Progress on East Werribee Employment Precinct
This week the Victorian Government granted Australian Education City (AEC) a six month exclusivity period from 15 August 2016 to 15 February 2017 in relation to the East Werribee Employment Precinct. The announcement provides AEC six months to progress its application to develop the precinct, which includes a range of educational, research, residential and commercial opportunities. AEC’s proposal seeks to turn the 400 hectare site into a city that will accommodate an international university precinct and a research and development hub.
Up to $70 million is being spent on upgrading the roads in and around the East Werribee Employment Precinct to provide better access to local jobs, services, schools and public transport in the area, and relieve congestion in Point Cook.
Consultation now concluded – La Trobe & Sunshine
Working together with the cities of Darebin, Banyule and Brimbank, we have delivered successful engagement programs as part of our planning for the La Trobe and Sunshine National Employment Clusters. A number of events and focus groups were organised to seek feedback from business and land owners. We have also received a strong response to online surveys on our Shape Victoria website. The feedback and responses have provided invaluable qualitative and quantitative data on the proposed vision, key principles and ideas for each cluster. We are now evaluating the data we have collected. This will be used to inform the draft Framework Plans which will be released next year.
The VPA is continuing to utilise the new online community engagement platform, Shape Victoria. Please visit www.shapevictoria.vic.gov.au for the latest news and updates on our current projects.
Closing the loop – community engagement reports for Monash and Broadmeadows
A key commitment of our engagement strategies is to report back to the stakeholders who have engaged with us. We will shortly release two community engagement reports which are based on the first round of engagement for the Monash Employment Cluster and the Broadmeadows Metropolitan Activity Centre.
Our first major community engagement activity as the VPA will be the flagship Arden Vison and Framework which we have prepared in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the City of Melbourne and several government departments and agencies.
This community engagement program will be managed by the VPA in collaboration with the City of Melbourne and the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority and is expected to start late in August and run for 6 weeks. There will be a series of events and opportunities for people to understand and comment on the possible future vision for Arden.
The McPherson, Kororoit and Plumpton precinct structure plans (PSPs) have now finished their formal public exhibition periods and we expect several other large PSPs in Melbourne’s north and west to be available for public exhibition in the coming weeks. We are expecting the finalisation of the Casey Fields and Craigieburn North PSPs in the very near future.
Small Lot Housing Code Seminar
We recently hosted a Small Lot Housing Code Information Session welcoming participants from a wide range of organisations, including designers, developers, real estate representatives and Council and consultancy planners.
The Small Lot Housing Code was developed by the MPA in 2011 to eliminate the need for a planning permit on lots less than 300m2 where a clear set of house design and siting standards are met. This better aligns the time and cost of small lot housing approvals with houses on lots greater than 300m2 and assists with delivering more homes to market.
This information session was aimed at those working in greenfield precincts who were looking for an overview of how to interpret and apply the Small Lot Housing Code. A big thanks to all those who presented and attended and a report will be up on the VPA website shortly. We continue to encourage the use of this tool.
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