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A Ministerial Advisory Committee appointed to oversee Fishermans Bend

The State Government has unveiled a team of experts and community representatives to guide Fishermans Bend beyond its formative stages, with emphasis placed upon achieving planning success. The Ministerial Advisory Committee has been assembled post an assessment period where in excess of 100 expressions of interest were fielded.

Forming a Ministerial Advisory Committee is in line with the Labor Government's intent to reform Fishermans Bend's planning framework, with the most notable changes to date being the introduction of an Employment Precinct within and a prohibitive 40 level height limit across both Montague and Lorimer Precincts.

Fishermans Bend looms as Australia's largest urban renewal project with 450 hectares of land available for development, shadowing Docklands for size in the process.

Fishermans Bend is a big urban growth opportunity for Victoria. We’re making sure we get it right, to ensure Melbourne can accommodate a growing population and remain the envy of the world.

I’ve chosen a committee which brings together the best in planning experts and community members, giving locals a direct voice in the process.

Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning

The committee

With a long and distinguished career in the public sphere, Meredith Sussex will chair the committee. In addition to her role with the Fishermans Bend Ministerial Advisory Council, Meredith Sussex also currently holds the position of Non Executive Director at the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and Director of Meredith Sussex and Associates. The latter consultancy specialises in city planning.

Also present on the Ministerial Advisory Council are:

  • City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
  • City of Port Phillip Mayor Amanda Stevens
  • Lucinda Hartley - urban renewal, design and community engagement expert
  • Michelle Howard - social infrastructure, strategic and statutory planning expert
  • Eric Keys - integrated transport planning expert
  • Rob McGauran - architecture, urban design and housing expert
  • Tania Quick - business, local industry and land development expert
  • Janet Bolitho - community representative and former mayor
  • Helen Halliday - community representative, former councillor and Fishermans Bend Network member
  • Phil Spender - community representative and local businessman.

According to Richard Wynne the first stage of Fishermans Bend's strategic planning is expected to be completed during early 2016 with the renewed precinct plans available for public viewing later next year.

Comment

It will be interesting to see what tangible results are directly attributed to the Ministerial Advisory Committee. How much can actually be achieved now the the Urban Renewal Area has been up and running for a number of years?

One could only surmise that the Committee would have had a far greater impact if implemented at the time of Fishermans Bend's genesis, but that of course strays down a path of politics and the like. Cynics could also suggest that the Ministerial Advisory Committee if nothing else is an exercise in being seen to be doing something… an exercise of inclusion to make everyone feel better?

Whatever the case, here's hoping the State Government and the Fishermans Bend Ministerial Advisory Committee can indeed make a tangible difference in the delivery of one of the State's largest projects. Drawing upon Docklands' positive aspects and avoiding the urban realm pitfalls of Southbank would be an excellent start.

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