The Minister for Planning made a number of significant planning announcements at a recent function held at Federation Square attended by Collie.

First, the Minister released the four new Growth Corridor Plans for Melbourne.  These plans are for the West Corridor, Sunbury Corridor, North Corridor and South East Corridor.  The Corridor Plans outline the broad vision for growth, major infrastructure, activity centres and so on.  The statement issued by the Minister notes that they “will be a major input to the State Government’s Metropolitan  Planning Strategy”.  Rightly so; but isn’t there a danger that by doing the Growth Corridor Plans before the metro strategy that the tail might end up wagging the dog?

Second, the Minister launched six new Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) – Rockbank North, Manor Lakes, Diggers Rest, Lockerbie, Lockerbie North and Merrifield West.  These new suburbs will potentially create around 35,000 new lots when fully developed and relate to land already within the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

Third, the Minister announced extensions to the UGB as a result of the completion of the ‘logical inclusions’ process.  This has resulted in approximately  5,958 hectares of additional land that will ultimately come within the UGB.  This land is spread throughout several growth corridors and parcels range from a few hectares to over 1000 hectares.  The land uses within these parcels are still to be finalized – parts may be employment related whilst other parts may be residential.  No lot yields for these areas were announced.   Parliament is yet to ratify the UGB extensions and there is still strategic planning work needed to integrate these extension areas within the relevant Growth Corridor Plans.  It is unclear how these parcels will be integrated into the Precinct Structure Plan process.

The  proceedings were organized by the Growth Areas Authority and there was plenty of colour and movement.  But for an event that ran for three and a half hours and was promoted as a ‘forum’ it was disappointing that there was no opportunity to ask questions.

The press coverage of these announcements in the days that followed was confused.  Some articles failed to properly distinguish between the logical inclusions and the six new PSPs.  The result was to potentially blur the public’s understanding and present a picture that the extensions to the UGB as a result of the logical inclusions process were adding 35,000 new homes to the urban fringe.  Was this deliberate mischief to serve the angle of the article – or just plain ignorance? The public deserve a better analysis of the facts.

Contact John Roney at Collie for further information regarding how the Growth Corridor Plans, the new PSPs or the extensions to the UGB may impact on you.