New working group to finalise Victorian planning law changes

PLANNING Minister Justin Madden this week announced the creation of a new working group to finalise reforms to the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The group, consisting of representatives from local government, the development industry and the planning industry, will be led by Ian Robbins.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

New planning measures to respond to bushfire risks in Victoria

VICTORIAN Planning Minister Justin Madden has today announced new measures to reduce bushfire risks, including a reduction of planning red tape, greater freedom to clear vegetation from around homes and detailed mapping of bushfire risk areas.

Mr Madden said the government would also introduce new requirements for minimum distances of cleared space around a dwelling which would also help reduce the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating and related building costs to meet new national standards.

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Plan for voluntary acquisition of high bushfire risk land rejected by Vic Government

THE Victorian Government today announced its final response to the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, accepting in full or in part 66 of its 67 recommendations. The government said that recommendations not accepted in full were based on a combination of expert advice and feedback received from communities.

The voluntary acquisition of land in bushfire prone areas was one of the recommendations of the Commission not accepted by the government, with the government estimating it would cost over $20 billion to implement the recommendation. It was also estimated that the cost of maintaining the vacated land would require at least $40 million a year.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Victorian Planning Minister approves $484m Berrybank Wind Farm

VICTORIAN Planning Minister, Justin Madden, has approved planning applications for the development of the $484 million Berrybank Wind Energy Facility south-east of Lismore. This follows Mr Madden's approval last week of the Crowlands Wind Farm, which will consist of up to 72 turbines.

Approving the project, Mr Madden said he had accepted the recommendations of an independent panel and approved the project.

"The Berrybank Wind Energy Facility will include up to 99 wind generators producing up to 247.5 megawatts of electricity a year," Mr Madden said, enough to power approximately 171,000 homes.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

MAV launches new program to improve planning process

THE Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) this week announced it has launched a new STEP planning improvement program to assist councils in achieving better and faster planning decisions.

In its media release, MAV said the new program would help councils identify efficiency improvements, manage compliance and risk, target scarce resources and deliver better outcomes for users of Victoria's planning system.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Madden approves Crowlands Wind Farm

PLANNING Minister Justin Madden this week granted planning permits for the proposed Crowlands Wind Farm, to be located approximately 25 kilometres north-east of Ararat.

The wind farm will comprise up to 72 turbines with a 146.5 metre height to blade tip (100 metre tower and 93 metre rotor diameter) across an 816 hectare generator development envelope. The wind farm is expected to have a total generating capacity of over 172 megawatts, or enough to power 80,000 homes.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Madden outlines 233 Ministerial Interventions in planning matters in the last year

THE Victorian Government intervened in 233 planning matters in the twelve months to April this year. Planning Minister Justin Madden tabled the annual report of Ministerial Interventions on Tuesday saying that sustained investment in Victoria was vital to ensuring the State "survived the economic crisis."

"The Brumby Labor Government is willing to make the hard decisions on planning and ensure our system remains second to none while adapting to the unique conditions of the last 12 months," Mr Madden said.

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Latest Committee for Melbourne report anticpates 8 million people in Melbourne

THE Committee for Melbourne last week released the second of the four volume 'Melbourne Beyond 5 Million' report series. The second volume, focusing on 'Density and Localised Economies', projects Melbourne's population will grow beyond 5 million, potentially reaching 8 million before the end of the century.

The first volume, examining the governance of Melbourne, was released in June and proposed an alternative governance structure to overcome what it stated were deficient arrangements, including a cycle dictated by political terms, policy makers separated from implementation, lack of strong integration between transport and land use planning and local interests prevailing over metropolitan interests.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Two major developments approved for Melbourne CBD

CONDITIONAL planning approval was today granted for two major developments at the site of the former Naval and Military Club in Little Collins Street and the former power station site on the corner of Lonsdale and Spencer Streets.

The approvals were granted under delegation by the Department of Planning and Community Development following recommendations by the new Central City Standing Advisory Committee to approve the projects.

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Interim response to Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission released

VICTORIAN Premier John Brumby today released the Victorian Government's interim response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission report. Releasing the report, Mr Brumby said the report is a "catalyst for change that provides key recommendations to make our State safer from the threat of bushfires."

"I am determined that this Royal Commission report is never allowed to gather dust. It is crucial that we grasp the opportunity now to make our State safer," Mr Brumby said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission final report released; includes 18 recommendations for planning and building

THE Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission final report has outlined 67 recommendations about changes needed to reduce the risk, and the consequences, of similar disasters in the future. The report was released yesterday, almost 18 months after the devastating February 7 Black Saturday bushfire that took the lives of 173 people.

Premier John Brumby yesterday tabled the final report of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission in the Parliament of Victoria and released it immediately to the public. The report comprises four volumes and a summary.

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Parliament approves plan to expand Melbourne's growth boundary

MELBOURNE'S Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) has been enlarged by 43,600 hectares after the Victorian Parliament today passed Amendment VC68 to expand Melbourne's UGB.

The expanded UGB will provide 24,500 hectares of developable land with the potential to provide 134,000 new dwellings on Melbourne's fringe.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Amendment VC66 gazetted to support Victorian regional blueprint

VICTORIAN Planning Minister Justin Madden today announced the gazettal of Amendment VC66, which supports the recently released $631 million regional blueprint, 'Ready for Tomorrow: A Blueprint for Regional and Rural Victoria'.

The blueprint, released last month, aims to promote economic growth in regional and rural Victoria by attracting investment, employment and population growth in regional Victoria.

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