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Focus now shifts to November 29, 2014

With Tony Abbott's Public Transport adverse policy costings released yesterday, there's no point in hoping for a brain fart on the same scale as Kevin Rudd's last week on the Minister for Cities. The Federal Government will continue to dangle the purse strings and it will be up to the states to put the right infrastructure projects up for Federal funding.

Despite the hopelessness of the Federal campaigns and the almost foregone conclusion which could have been traced back to when Rudd knifed Gillard, at the state level we are actually seeing some major policy differentiation.

It's no secret, I - and no doubt many other editors and contributors on Urban Melbourne - applaud the current Spring Street government's planning Matthew Guy for making his mark on Victoria's planning regime. Where some media outlets and opposing politicians have dubbed him unfairly Mr Skyscraper, I believe the single greatest achievement has been to reconfigure Victoria's planning regime to give local councils - the level of government which can best engage with the community - more control over corridors where density can increase. This will allow councils to clearly delineate "go" and "no go" development zones giving the community, architects, developers and new residents who will buy in to these buildings certainty.

I challenge the ALP or Greens to come up with a better way of ensuring planning surety and if they can't, don't change it if the Government changes at the next State election.

Focus now needs to shift toward clearing the arterial roads where the new "go" development zones reside and coming up with innovative ways to support localised non-motorised activity regardless if the suburb is Pakenham, Thornbury, Windsor or Altona. The current Spring Street Government failed when they reversed the previous Bracks/Brumby government's clearways programme and furthermore they are failing by ramming the East-West project through an area which doesn't need the current traffic sewer being shifted westward, it needs alternative transport modes to reduce the amount of cars traveling through the inner-city.

I will always favour a major public transport project over a freeway project, but that's not to say I don't believe the Melbourne Metro project doesn't need the same public scrutiny I and many others all over the web are calling for on the East-West Project. The right thing to do is get both projects to a point where a proper comparison can be made - with all the costs, benefits and assumptions; social, economic and environmental - made public and thrown open for debate and only then choose to proceed with the project which will benefit Melbourne & Victoria the most.

Unfortunately the Federal Coalition have promised to cut $75 million in funds already allocated from the most recent Federal budget for Melbourne Metro; money that would have been set aside to get the project to the point where conceivably a proper project comparison with East-West made.

The only thing to do now is advocate for the Senate to make any documentation Infrastructure Australia has on East-West public; this is possible as Josh Gordon wrote yesterday in the The Age. I implore the ALP, Greens, Liberal Party members who wish to exercise their jealously-guarded conscience votes and any independent or minor party who recognises the public have a right to know if a project which has been rammed through by the Victorian State Government, now wanting Federal money, is truly the right one to pick.

Go hard, very hard.

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

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Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.