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MPA initiates two further National Employment Clusters

Victoria's Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) is readying two additional National Employment Clusters that will look to build upon the already robust local economies surrounding both La Trobe University and Sunshine.

Both Clusters maintain a mixed-use employment base underpinned by health, manufacturing, services and education. Designated National Employment Clusters, the MPA intends to allow for the creation of new employment opportunities within both Clusters via enhanced policies, amenities and transport links.

La Trobe Cluster which is the more advanced of the two includes the business and industrial areas surrounding Heidelberg, Bundoora and Preston. Key areas earmarked for change include La Trobe University, the Heidelberg/Austin Hospital medical precinct, Heidelberg West industrial precinct and the Northland Urban Renewal Precinct.

The latter site overlaps with Darebin City Council's earlier plans to create a high-rise residential zone abutting Northland.

The La Trobe Cluster. Image: Metropolitan Planning Authority

Key ideas behind the La Trobe Cluster include modernising employment areas, providing a ‘turn-up-go’ bus service for people to get around the cluster, attracting additional allied health services to the precinct and rezoning current industrial land for future mixed-use developments, including a diverse range of housing. 

Whilst controversial at the time of its approval, Bundoora's Parc Vue development seen below looks to be the template for many higher density developments that will invariably call La Trobe Cluster home in the future.  

Parc Vue presents as the first of many. Image: Future Estate

To Melbourne's west and the Sunshine National Employment Cluster is taking shape. Including neighbouring St Albans, the Sunshine Cluster is set to receive a massive boost in jobs, following on from the recent $2 billion in investment in the area.

Among recent projects are the Sunshine Station upgrade through Regional Rail Link, the creation of the Victoria University Construction Futures facility and what shapes as the $200 million Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital. These are in addition to projects such as ABD Group's Foundry complex which has given Sunshine its first taste of high density living and the new $52 million Brimbank Community and Civic Centre.

The MPA has been working with Council to create a series of key ideas that will underpin the Sunshine Cluster. Rezoning sites to promote commercial uses, greening the suburb and increased services are all on the agenda.

The MPA will now initiate a period of community feedback in order to create the principles that will underpin the Sunshine Cluster.

Foundry and the Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital. Images: ABD Group and Western Health

We are confident the Sunshine Cluster has and will continue to attract significant development and be a focus of healthcare services, research, education, transport business and retail services for Melbourne’s West.

Brimbank City Council looks forward to continuing to work with the Metropolitan Planning Authority and the State Government on this important project.

Chair of Brimbank Administrators, John Watson

Both the La Trobe and Sunshine Clusters follow in the footsteps of the Monash National Employment Cluster which was outlined previously on Urban Melbourne. Visit Shape Victoria to view further information on the Clusters and provide feedback.

1 comment

Peter H's picture

They want inner city density, but they won't provide inner city transport like trams. Parramatta, Homebush, Carlingford and Westmead (30km from Sydney) will have trams in 3-4 years. Imagine a tram, built as light rail, replacing the SmartBus route. Imagine a light rail network (maybe 3-4 lines) connecting Point Cook, Williams Landing, Werribee, Wyndham Vale & Tarneit? One E-Class tram holds the same as 5 buses: 210 people. That's up to 200 cars off the road and no parking areas required at railway stations (which are magnets for car thieves, costing our economy a fortune).

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