The year is well underway at the VPA as we continue to focus our resources on the delivery of our Fast Track program of projects and also start to line up our forward pipeline of work to support Victoria’s post-COVID economic recovery.
VPA Milestones Already in 2021
In the last week of 2020 the Minister for Planning, The Hon Richard Wynne and, The Hon Jaala Pulford MP, Minister for Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, launched the Cremorne Place Implementation Plan.
Cremorne, in inner city Richmond, is an epicentre of creative and digital enterprise. The VPA’s plan, developed in partnership with the City of Yarra, provides a roadmap guiding the Victorian Government’s support and investment for this area to see it grow and thrive as a digital and creative employment hub and a global innovation precinct.
Find out more about the Cremorne Place Implementation Plan.
In the first week of January, the Minister for Planning also approved the VPA’s PSP for Pakenham East. This new precinct for Melbourne’s south east will create more than 7,200 new homes, 1,300 new jobs and add over $1 billion to the Victorian economy, with hundreds of jobs in the construction sector expected to commence early this year.
Find out more about the Pakenham East Precinct Structure Plan.
Following a supportive report from Planning Panels, the VPA Board adopted the ‘final’ version of the Beveridge Central Infrastructure Contributions Plan (ICP) and we expect this to be approved shortly. The ICP will facilitate collection of a total levy of approximately $70 million to give effect to the strategic outcomes sought by the Beveridge Central Precinct Structure Plan (PSP).
Find out more about the Beveridge Central ICP.
We are giving the VPA Projects Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) lots of work to do, with the Minister for Planning approving the referral of unresolved submissions received following community consultation for the PMP Printing Comprehensive Development Plan, Bannockburn Growth Plan and the Wonthaggi North East PSP.
The SAC will consider all submissions on the amendments before they are submitted to the Minister for approval. There are directions and hearing dates for these projects in March and April.
The VPA is working with DELWP and Planning Panels Victoria to ensure this process is as streamlined and efficient as possible.
Community consultation ended for the Craigieburn West and Lilydale Quarry projects at the end of 2020 and we are in the process of advising the Minister on referral of submissions to the VPA SAC.
VPA Business Plan 2020/21
The Minister for Planning has approved our VPA Business Plan 2020/21, which was delayed due to COVID-19.
While our ability to take on new projects this year is limited due to our focus on Fast Track, the business plan sets us up to commence work on important projects to take us into 2021/22 and beyond.
Eight new PSPs in Melbourne’s greenfield growth corridors are being readied to come on-program via our new ‘pre-commencement’ phase, including five that we propose to deliver through a new Partnered Delivery Pilot Program. The pilot program aims to provide the VPA with surge or overflow capacity to deliver backlog projects or bring forward other projects that have merit for VPA delivery.
We will also be continuing our work on PSP reform by finalising and delivering our new PSP Guidelines, continuing our work to streamline our processes using our PSP 2.o methodology, and working on improved models for infrastructure coordination.
We have a number of important projects to complete in established Melbourne: supporting redevelopment at Arden, PMP Printing Strategic Site, Preston Market and more. We are also identifying options for an increased future role in planning for targeted growth in activity centres more broadly.
While the VPA is accountable to the Minister for Planning, the Minister for Business Precincts, the Minister for Transport Infrastructure and the Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop can also direct us to undertake work, enabling the VPA to help identify and deliver planned change in transport precincts and business precincts.
We will be starting work on 43 new Streamlining for Growth projects, including 22 grants to councils (eight of which are to regional councils) to unlock local growth, as well as starting work on the new volume of our Small Lot Housing Code.
In the regions we will continue to prioritise Fast Track projects in Ballarat, Wonthaggi and Bannockburn. We will also continue our work on supporting the rollout of ICPs to suitable regional settings and we will be working to identify a pipeline of projects to help meet looming land supply shortages in some regional cities and peri-urban towns.
As an organisation, we will continue to invest in the development of our approach to hybrid working and our ability to communicate with you and transact with you using a full suite of digital tools as appropriate.
Finally, the Business Plan includes continuation of our commitment to considering the implications of COVID-19 for our planning and other key priorities such as the planning reform work underway in government.
See the full VPA Business Plan 2020/21.
New DCP Toolkit
The preparation and management of development contributions mechanisms can be a major challenge for councils, in particular for councils without a history of large-scale strategic planning or experience dealing with major developers. As part of our role in supporting capacity-building for councils across Victoria, the VPA has provided significant support for councils to deliver DCPs through the Streamlining for Growth program.
The VPA has collaborated with a group of 16 regional councils to prepare a Regional DCP Toolkit. This is an important and valuable resource which will provide significant assistance to councils managing development contributions across Victoria.
The toolkit provides a set of multi-purpose tools to help guide implementation, administration and financial management of DCPs for regional councils, responding to the highly variable local planning contexts, development rates, and financial reporting and management capacity of each.
The participating councils include nine of Victoria’s ten regional cities, as well as a number of peri-urban council areas experiencing high growth rates, namely Ballarat, Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Campaspe, Greater Bendigo, Greater Geelong, Greater Shepparton, Golden Plans, Latrobe, Macedon Ranges, Mildura, Mitchell, Moorabool, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
The key project output has been the creation of a Regional DCP Manual, effectively a ‘how to’ guide for councils on managing their development contributions systems, including cashflow modelling, management of ‘works in kind’ arrangements, indexation of projects, prioritisation of infrastructure and monitoring and reviewing development contributions arrangements.
The toolkit has now been provided to participating councils, who are exploring how best to incorporate these new tools and practices into their ongoing management of development contributions.
Find out more about the Regional DPC Toolkit on the VPA website, or by contacting John Petrakos, Strategic Planning Manager via firstname.lastname@example.org.
February VPA Stakeholder Event
Finally, I was delighted to see many of you attend our online VPA Stakeholder Event to hear from the Minister for Planning the Hon Richard Wynne on 11 February. More than 300 people from industry and government attended and there were a range of important questions posed and discussions had in our break rooms.
The Minister endorsed the work of the VPA in unlocking land for 86,000 homes and 95,000 jobs through the Fast Track Program, and underlined the Victorian Government’s ongoing commitment to support the building and development industry through the COVID-19 crisis emphasising its importance as a key driver of the Victorian economy.
The Minister also outlined the Government’s Big Housing Build, the recently allocated $5.3 billion to build 12,000 homes over the next four years. He said the Government was continuing to seek partnerships with a range of organisations from industry to local government and the philanthropic sector among others saying the response had been extremely encouraging so far.
Find out more about the key themes and discussions in our event summary video.
We look forward to seeing you again as we host more of these events in the coming year.
To end on a sad note, many of you who came into the VPA office or contacted us by phone will have come across our exuberant receptionist Bob Eagles. Bob passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep earlier this week. We are proud to have had him as our public face and will miss him dearly.
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