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New amendment for transparency

12 Nov 2013

The City of Melbourne wants more transparency and, therefore, more accountability for developer contributions to public amenity within Southbank, after it introduced Amendment C208 to the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

The council hopes the amendment will result in more money for public amenities within Southbank.

The amendment will be applied to both the Southbank Structure Plan (2010) and the City North Structure Plan (2012). It introduces the Development Contributions Plan Overlay (DCPO), which will make contributions far easier to track.

In its press release the City of Melbourne states the introduction of the DCPO will be: “Providing a consistent, equitable and transparent way for the council to cover some of the costs of providing public infrastructure.”

The council said this amendment would help fund key capital works identified in both of these areas through their respective struct ure plans.

Cr Ken Ong told Southbank Local News that the City of Melbourne had done a study about 12 months ago comparing its developer funds to other municipalities and found it was slightly down on average (taking into account how much developers spend in areas like Southbank and City North).

He hopes this amendment will help level those statistics back up.

Cr Ong also explained that an increase in transparency was  at the heart of the amendment.

“The most important thing is that we can see, a little money goes here, a little money goes there,” Cr Ong said.

He also pointed out the obvious advantages to developers when the contributions are increased.

“Developers also benefit because properties with improved amenity and public spaces are more attractive to potential purchasers.”

Projects that will be undertaken as a result of the DCPO are yet to be finalized. Cr Ong said: “We’re still looking at possibilities, with no firm items yet.”

However, the City of Melbourne has confirmed there will be streetscape upgrades (including footpath widening, new cycling infrastructure and street tree planting), key public space projects on City Rd and improved areas underneath the freeway.

Southbank, along with City North, has been identified as a beneficiary of the new amendment because of its rapidly increasing population and high level of development.

“These contributions will fund the infrastructure that meets the needs of growing communities,” Cr Ong said.

Amendment C208 is currently up for public consultation and can be viewed online at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/publicinspection or in person at the Melbourne Town Hall.

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