With the new year well and truly underway and Victoria’s growth returning to pre-pandemic levels, we look forward to supporting the new term of Government in addressing the needs of our growing state.
Aligning with the new Government
Following the 2022 Victorian Election, the Government appointed a new cabinet and made a number of changes to Victorian Government departments.
Most notably for the VPA, the Hon. Sonya Kilkenny, MLA for Carrum, was appointed as Minister for Planning.
The Government also created the new Department of Transport and Planning (DTP), which is the new portfolio “home” for the VPA. The integration of planning and transport, together with the consolidation of precinct planning and delivery functions into the new department, provide a strong platform to achieve community and place outcomes and support housing choice and jobs growth. We look forward to making a strong contribution here at the VPA.
We are now in the process of briefing our new Minister, client Ministers, new DTP colleagues and other partners across Government on the current status of the projects in our work program, and aligning our work with the priorities of the new term of Government.
This process takes time, and we are working hard to minimise any impacts on the timing of our projects. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our partners while we work through this important process.
In the regions, we have recently completed pitching sessions with our regional city partners including Greater Avalon Employment Precinct with the City of Greater Geelong and Bendigo Regional Employment Precinct with the City of Greater Bendigo. We are also progressing East of Aberline PSP with Warrnambool City Council, and Ballarat North PSP with the City of Ballarat.
Our large regional cities are experiencing record high levels of growth. This throws into sharp relief the need to carefully consider the demands this places on state and local infrastructure and how development can be prioritised and staged to make best use of existing infrastructure before building new. The VPA is piloting a new framework for aligning growth with infrastructure in Ballarat as part of a high-level strategic review commissioned by the Minister.
In Melbourne, we recently held successful co-design workshops for the Melton East PSP in the west and Casey Fields South and Devon Meadows PSP in the south-east. These workshops are a critical aspect of our PSP 2.0 process and bring together landowners, community members, developers, and representatives of state and local government to collaborate on inputs to our PSPs.
While Victoria’s population growth slowed during COVID, dwelling demand continued at pre-pandemic levels. With population growth now returning, the VPA’s work in planning for urban growth will be even more important.
Each quarter the VPA develops an overview of the current trends in external economic and property market factors that influence our role in planning for urban growth in Victoria. You can see our latest Futures Thinking Research Quarterly – January 2023 report on the VPA website.
Changing faces at the VPA
One of our longest-serving VPA Board members, the Hon. Theo Theophanous, has resigned from the VPA Board. On behalf of the VPA, I would like to thank Mr Theophanous for his nine years of service to the VPA and its predecessors.
Following the departure of Tess Pickering in January, I’m pleased to announce that Martina Johnson has been appointed Acting Executive Director, Metropolitan Melbourne. Martina brings strong expertise in planning for urban renewal and new communities and nine years of experience at the VPA planning for state significant precincts across Melbourne.
Martina will act in the role for the next three to six months while we recruit a permanent Executive Director appointment.
Find out more about the VPA Leadership Team on the VPA website.
As we adapt to an evolving growth outlook for 2023, we look forward to working with our partners across Government, councils and industry to plan for the new homes, jobs and infrastructure a growing Victoria needs.