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Policy

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...

Property Council lunch with the Minister for Planning

Last week at a Property Council of Australia lunch in Victoria the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, presented to a sell-out crowd. The first part of the presentation centred on the State Budget and as expected, the “fully funded” delivery of the Melbourne Metro Rail Project was a big focus. The Minster spoke of the construction of the underground Arden Station as being a big opportunity to support infill redevelopment in the Arden-Macaulay...

Queen Victoria Market advances as part of City of Melbourne's 2016-17 budget

City of Melbourne's draft 2016-17 Annual Plan and Budget was released late last week, with public submissions set to be accepted up until the Future Melbourne Committee decides upon the budget on 16 June 2016. With total spending of $495.89 million, $399.41 million is expected to be dedicated toward programs and services, while $108.48 million is earmarked for infrastructure programs. Council's headline project, the Queen Victoria Market, is...

City Deals still no more than a pamphlet after Budget 2016

Mounting public debt has sucked infrastructure spending capacity from the nation’s public balance sheets. The federal government proposes a new way forward, called “City Deals”. But the budget papers contain no further details, which is disappointing. Infrastructure provision in Australian cities, especially for transport, is in crisis. Our cities are growing rapidly, they are congested and they lack planning direction.

‘Getting it Done’ …with a surplus

Pragmatically themed and titled ‘Getting it Done’, Tract has put on its reading glasses to investigate what the Victorian Budget 2016/17 seeks to ‘get done’ for city building and regional development. Set against a discourse of job creation and infrastructure building, big spends include infrastructure investments in the Metropolitan rail network and the Western Distributor Tunnel while smaller but vital reforms include shifting the planning...
Monochrome portrait of Richard Wynne

The Planning Minister: on the proposed central city planning controls

Skyscrapers generate a lot of buzz around Melbourne. We are reviewing the central city planning controls for the first time in 30 years and this has generated more interest than any other planning issue I have been involved in. Melburnians love their CBD and our city draws residents, tourists and investment from around the world. Developers want to build here, more people want to live here and businesses base themselves here because of the...

Where do record rental prices leave low-income earners?

Average house rents in metropolitan Melbourne have increased by 5.3%), with apartment rents growing by 2.8%, over the last three months. A lack of affordable rental properties is a problem in Sydney too. This has fuelled speculation of a housing bubble, particularly in the wake of falling investor demand for new high-priced CBD apartments in these capital cities and others. But beyond the headlines lies a difficult policy task for all three levels of government, in conjunction with the private sector and civil society. They need not only to create more affordable housing, but to keep it affordable in the long run.

Two key planning policies set to reshape West Melbourne

West Melbourne continues to evolve with the suburb subject to a steady flow of new developments, as evidenced by the roughly 3,000 apartments in development and currently noted within Urban Melbourne's Project Database. With the boom in high density and high rise projects looming large over the suburb, City of Melbourne have gone about enacting two separate pieces of policy in order to better manage and facilitate the rapid change that is...

Broadmeadows receives a boost as urban regeneration beckons

Last week's announcement of funding for various Broadmeadows infrastructure projects has cast the often maligned suburb back into the urban renewal spotlight. Designated a Major Activity Centre on the Metropolitan Planning Authority's citywide interactive project map , the heart of Broadmeadows is set to receive $14.3 million from the State Government in order to continue its revitalisation, with Broadmeadows Train Station and Boadmeadows Town...

How negative-gearing changes can bring life back to eerily quiet suburbs

With debate raging over who wins and who loses with proposed major changes to negative gearing, attention also falls on which Australian suburbs are most likely to suffer. The Australian Financial Review recently discussed the “Top 10 suburbs set to suffer under negative gearing plan”. The Australian soon joined this scare campaign. Mandurah in Western Australia, where I spent a recent weekend, is on the AFR’s list.

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Development & Planning

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 06:00
Although applications for substantially tall apartment towers have eased over recent times within City of Stonnington, two current development applications across Prahran and South Yarra represent the next sling of smaller sized towers for the municipality. A 14 storey apartment building at 10-16 Cecil Place is being sought by Bensons Property Group.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 00:00
On 2 January 2017, it was reported that several popular eateries and bars in Footscray had been vandalised, including the perennially successful 8 Bit Burgers on Droop Street, and Up In Smoke on Hopkins Street. 8 Bit had the warm new year's welcome gift of 14 smashed windows and the words “F**k off hipster scum” spray-painted on their entrance.

Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 07:00
Once again Melbourne has turned it on for the spectacular cultural juggernaut that is White Night. A crowd of around 600,000 took part in the all night festival of projections, performances, artworks and installations. Stealing the show again this year was the extraordinary projections upon the Royal Exhibition Building.

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Transport & Design

Monday, February 20, 2017 - 12:00
The Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, this morning announced the preferred design option for removing level crossings in Cheltenham and Mentone would include sinking the rail lines under existing road grades and rebuilding both stations in respective trenches. The level crossings on Frankston line to go are Park Road and Charman Road in Cheltenham and Balcombe Road in Mentone.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 12:00
Timber mid-rise buildings are becoming the preferred choice for many stakeholders in Melbourne, due to a combination of factors, including cost-effectiveness, liveability, ease and efficiency of construction. Within the recent National Construction Code change, Deemed-To-Satisfy provisions allow mid-rise timber construction for buildings up to 25 metres “effective height” (typically, eight storeys).