C270 on show: the case studies of 42 Moray Street and 130 Little Collins Street

Two evidentiary documents published by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in recent times have provided insight into the effects of Amendment C270 upon key proposed development sites. Located in both Southbank and the CBD, either site would be considerably hamstrung in terms of the project size and subsequent design outcomes, should the respective developers choose to proceed with their potential projects. With...

Tall tales and Sydney's slump in the skyscraper stakes

It's intriguing to take note of how differing interests play out in the Australian property development industry. In stark contrast to Sydney's regimented planning controls which have long been in place and Melbourne's recently overhauled inner-city planning controls which are now in play, Urban Taskforce Australia (UTA) last Friday called for a greater number of taller towers across Australia's major cities. The call was made via UTA's Urban...

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...


Development & Planning

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 00:00
As reported in The Age late last month speculation is growing that developer Cbus Property is leading the charge to acquire a combined development site at 140-150 Queen Street and 27 McKillop Street. This would follow what would appear to be a pre-emptive purchase of a neighbouring site at 423 Bourke Street, which an 11-storey office block currently occupies.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 13:00
The Victorian Government has announced it will ban the use of aluminium cladding panels that have a polyethylene core of more than 30% and expanded polystyrene will also be banned on buildings with 3 or more levels. The changes were announced by the Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, on Saturday morning along with new guidelines for building surveyors.

Visual Melbourne

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 12:00
The various spaces and elements which combine to form RMIT's New Academic Street (NAS) have progressively begun to open to students and visitors alike. I was recently fortunate enough to be part of an informal group tour through the completed spaces within NAS, led by Harrison and White which had a hand in the project.

Transport & Design

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:00
Comment There's much to admire about Rodney Maddock's advocacy piece in The Conversation - ' Our growing big cities need new centres of employment - here's Melbourne's chance ' - the three projects he advocates for have been in the public domain for quite a while now.

Sustainability & Environment