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Neighbourhood planning progresses

10 Mar 2016

Neighbourhood planning progresses Image

Planning Minister Richard Wynne met with more than 250 locals on February 29 for the first Fishermans Bend community engagement forum at the Port Melbourne Football Club.

The forum was held on the same day the State Government released its response to the independent Ministerial Advisory Committee’s (MAC) first report.

The report included 40 recommendations focusing on transport, future infrastructure, design controls, community engagement and sustainability.

Mr Wynne said that 34 recommendations had been adopted in full, while six were adopted in part, pending further information from relevant authorities. This included the need for a new planning taskforce dedicated to drafting plans.

Mr Wynne appeared alongside Member for Albert Park Martin Foley to answer questions from the crowd, along with members of the Fishermans Bend MAC chaired by Meredith Sussex.

Martin Foley was quick to shut down an early question directed at the planning minister as to why it had taken so long for further information to be released on the progress of the planning process.

“This Minister is now in front by one compared to his predecessor so, with the greatest respect, if you want transparency and accountability this bloke fronts up and gets in front of 300 people to start the discussion,” he said.

“I’m all for legitimate criticisms but there’s a ministerial advisory committee, there’s a report from it and on the day of the launch there’s a reset process.”

The panel covered questions regarding a range of topics including transport, sustainability and climate change, education, resource strategies, apartment standards, building controls, developer contributions and open space.

While stating that an integrated transport plan was still being devised, Mr Wynne used the opportunity to rule out the City of Port Phillip’s recent push for a tram bridge between Fishermans Bend and Docklands.

“That’s been ruled out. It was ruled out before the last election by us in opposition,” he said.

“We will be coming up with proposals for how we address a light-rail link, just not that one.”

Questions were also raised as to whether the government’s new interim planning controls would help ensure consistency with the damage done by the previous Liberal government’s capital city rezoning of the precinct.

The Montague precinct, of which a large part is situated in Southbank, already has more than 7000 apartments approved with many more proposals submitted under the old planning laws.

Mr Wynne said the situation had been made more difficult by the former government but expected that the new interim planning controls for new applications would help to minimise future overdevelopment.

The planning minister also stated that developer contributions would continue to play a significant role in funding much of the urban renewal precinct, and said the Commonwealth also had a part to play.  

“The opportunity for us to have a meaningful engagement with the Commonwealth around this inner-suburban site is something that we’ve started to pursue,” he said.

Some members of the audience also raised concerns surrounding what a future change in government could mean for planning consistency.

Mr Wynne said increased community engagement would help to ensure political consensus.

“I think ultimately the way you get certainty around this or at least a level of stability is when you take communities with you, when you take local government with you,” he said.

“Can you guarantee that a change of government won’t throw this out? I think it’s very unlikely because by the time of the next election we will have a clearly articulated plan for all of the precincts.”

The full government response and information about the Fishermans Bend plans can be found online at

www.delwp.vic.gov.au/fishermans-bend

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