“Gaps” in the Montague Precinct Implementation Plan: City of Port Phillip

“Gaps” in the Montague Precinct Implementation Plan: City of Port Phillip
Brendan Rees

The City of Port Phillip has raised concerns over the state government’s draft Montague Precinct Implementation Plan (MPIP), stating that it contains “several gaps and issues” that need to be addressed.

Councillors endorsed the council’s submission to the draft MPIP at their March 20 meeting, which outlines the vision for the precinct and sets out how the area will adapt, transition, and change towards its 2050 vision over the next 10 years.

It is part of the state government’s Fishermans Bend framework, Australia’s largest-ever urban renewal project which is locally governed by the City of Melbourne (north of the Westgate Freeway) and the City of Port Phillip to the south.

Fishermans Bend is forecast to accommodate 80,000 residents and 80,000 jobs by 2050.

Along with Montague, the area is made up of five precincts including Sandridge, Wirraway, Lorimer and the Employment Precinct, with the latter two situated within the City of Melbourne’s municipal boundaries.

The years-long delay of the draft MPIP was finally released last December for public consultation, which closed in February. The next step will see the government review all submissions before finalising the MPIP and “consider approval pathway options” in the middle of 2024.

Among the projects featured in the draft MPIP are proposed public spaces and parks, upgrade of the route 109 tram stop, a bustling mix of “destination laneways”, a secondary community hub co-located at the Montague Continuing Education Centre, and a transformation of Normanby Rd into an active street.

However, the City of Port Phillip has identified several shortcomings in the MPIP they believe need to be resolved, noting “the greatest concern is the lack of detail, clarity and rigour”.

“The plan requires further work to resolve key issues including document aim and structure; infrastructure funding and delivery; direction of the street and laneway network; flooding and water management; planning controls; and public transport integration,” a council report stated.

“As structured, the MPIP takes the form of a design document rather than a precinct implementation plan with clear frameworks and resolved actions,” it said.


Without clear implementation direction there will be conflict between stakeholders at the permit application stage and in the design and construction of infrastructure.


The council’s submission did acknowledge that the draft MPIP “presents an inspiring and graphically impressive view of what Montague could look like in the future,” including an activity centre, which is “critical in making Montague a place of its own”.

But its summary of recommendations included an open space framework map setting with “clarity” needed regarding a proposed classification and funding of each open space; an integrated water management approach including the prioritisation of flood safety and mitigation measures; and that the planning scheme is “not clearly defined”.

“Council requests the receipt and review of all Making Montague supporting material prior to finalisation of the MPIP for the upcoming planning scheme amendment,” the report noted.

The submission also noted concerns that the MPIP was largely “focused on streetscape character and the public realm but does not provide necessary details to deliver workable street and laneway designs”.

The council has also sought involvement in aligning the government’s infrastructure funding strategy including development contributions plan and MPIP processes and outcomes, noting that council has made a separate submission to the Fishermans Bend Development Contributions Plan process.

City of Port Phillip Mayor Heather Cunsolo said development “definitely has started” in Fishermans Bend “but what we’re not seeing is the rest of the infrastructure”.

“It’s good to have a plan … but that implementation, the residents are there now and more of them are coming quickly. This has to keep moving so I’m pleased that we put in the submission.” •

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