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Policy

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.

Scrap or preserve negative gearing? Here's six other options worth debating

Jago Dodson , RMIT University The Australian tax debate has placed negative gearing under scrutiny . Most of the debate lurches between retentionists, who back negative gearing as a necessary subsidy to support affordable housing , versus abolitionists, who see it as a market-distorting extravagance that delivers an unfair advantage to the wealthy . But what if there was a middle option between retention and abolition that made it work better?...

VPELA seminar and the Minister for Planning

Last Tuesday I attended a VPELA seminar where the Minister for Planning (Richard Wynne) was the guest speaker. The purpose of the evening was for the Minister to provide an update on how the State Government is progressing with reforming the planning system. The Minister presented well and his enthusiasm on a number of issues, which he was able to back up with practical examples, made his presentation quite engaging. In response to high rise...

Melbourne’s residential development: what’s really going on?

The Victorian Government has recently released a series of detailed reports to inform the ‘Managing Residential Development’ Advisory Committee submissions process. They raise many important questions not only about the residential zones but the wider issue of ‘who and what are we planning for’ over the coming decade and beyond. What follows is a summary of some of the more attention grabbing parts of the reports, together with our own...

Red and Black Architect interviews the Planning Minister

It is almost 1 year since the Andrews Labor Government swept to power in Victoria. As noted at the time, the 2014 election was dominated by built environment issues. The then Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, had recently rezoned Fishermans Bend had been given the title of ‘Mr Skyscraper’ from certain sections of the mainstream media. Tony Abbott was in the action too, by proclaiming the state election as ‘a referendum on the East West Link’...

A national affordable housing strategy: necessary, attainable and maybe on its way

At the National Housing Conference last week, there was considerable optimism about the newly appointed federal minister for cities, Jamie Briggs, whose infrastructure mandate includes housing. New energy is coming from the states with the largest affordable housing deficits – a social housing initiative from the New South Wales government and a “refreshed” metropolitan planning strategy in Melbourne with a stronger emphasis on affordable housing.

Comment: Plan Melbourne must enshrine steps to purge our insidious car culture

We are nearing the first anniversary of the Andrews Government, they certainly have hit the ground running and set a lot of inter-related policy areas in a different direction. It is just a pity that the public debate around planning has boiled down to high-rise or skyscraper canyons versus monotonous "European" style development sham. The two sides of that debate are analogous to the typical trench warfare of "left" versus "right" politics. It...

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Development & Planning

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 07:00
Hawthorn's Queens Avenue is emerging as an apartment hot spot of sorts, as developers realise the worth of converting the light industrial and commercial strip into a higher density apartment enclave. Running parallel to Burwood Road, Queens Avenue now has six apartment developments in progress.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 12:00
Carolyn Whitzman , University of Melbourne Liveability is an increasingly important goal of Australian planning policy. And creating cities where residents can get to most of the services they need within 20 to 30 minutes has been proposed, at both federal and state level, as a key liveability-related mechanism.

Visual Melbourne

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 12:00
Part Three follows on from the Part One: Yarra's Edge and Part Two: Victoria Harbour. The focus of today's piece will be NewQuay and Harbour Town, the northern most precincts within Docklands. NewQuay NewQuay was the first precinct to open way back in 2003 and has probably evolved the most.

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Transport & Design

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 12:00
The Victorian Government has announced the winning bidders in the tender to power Melbourne's tram network by renewable energy. At the same time, the Victorian Government has announced plans to legislate the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) ensuring that by 2020, 25% of Victoria's energy will come from renewable sources and the target rises to 40% by 2025.

Sustainability & Environment

Monday, August 21, 2017 - 12:00
The notion of Melbourne becoming a 20-minute City has been explored heavily in recent times. Seeking to provide Melburnians with the ability to 'live locally', the 20-minute City, in essence, strives to provide people with the ability to meet most of their everyday needs within a 20-minute walk, cycle or local public transport trip of their home.