2008-09 Planning permit activity in Victoria: volume down, value up

PLANNING Permit Activity in Victoria 2008-09 has been released by the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) in association with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).  It is the second report to be published from data submitted to the DPCD's automated Planning Permit Activity Reporting System (PPARS), where all Victorian councils submit a standardised monthly transfer of data to enable the collection of planning data.

There were a total of 54,162 planning applications lodged in Victoria between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009 consisting of:
•    45,936 new planning applications (85% of total applications lodged);
•    8,103 applications to amend an existing permit (15% of total); and
•    123 combined permit applications.

This equates to a decrease of 5,069 or 9% of the total number of planning applications lodged in the previous reporting period (2007-08).

  • Written by Urbanalyst

10/30 Right to Clear Vegetation Becomes Law

[Victorian Government Media Release]

THE Brumby Labor Government's '10/30 right' was gazetted today allowing landowners in bushfire prone areas to prepare their properties as part of their preparations for the upcoming bushfire season.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said the amendments to the Victorian Planning Provision were now law and ready for landowners to use.

"The aim of the Brumby Labor Government's '10/30 right' is to make it simpler for residents to clear vegetation around their properties to reduce risks posed by bushfires," Mr Jennings said.

"In less than 45 days Victoria will face a bushfire season that looms as potentially worse than the season we have just experienced."

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Melbourne Metro Tunnel shows future of transport

[Victorian Government Media Release]

SOIL and engineering testing works on the Melbourne Metro project could start before the end of the year with the Premier John Brumby today revealing concept designs of stations and opportunities for urban renewal.

Mr Brumby said Stage 1 of the Melbourne Metro project, at a cost of more than $4.5 billion, announced in the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan, would add capacity for thousands more passengers on the suburban rail network and shape the future growth of the CBD and inner Melbourne.

"Stage 1 of the Melbourne Metro will run from Dynon to Domain (St Kilda Road) and today I am announcing that we are seeking engineers and technical designers to examine the possible alignment of the new rail tunnel," Mr Brumby said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

New city rail tunnel to be announced

MELBOURNE is set to receive a new rail tunnel, with the Herald Sun reporting today that Premier John Brumby will unveil plans for the new line as part of the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan.

The new train line will link Flinders St station with Melbourne Central and Parkville where it will then join up with the Footscray line, allowing access to the Parkville university and health precinct and reducing congestion on Melbourne's north and west railway lines.

Source: ''Under-city rail plan to cut Melbourne congestion'', Herald Sun, 9 September 2009, <>.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Mildura Planning Taskforce to resolve land issues

[Victorian Government Media Release]

PLANNING Minister Justin Madden has appointed a taskforce to investigate the planning issues for the Mildura Older Irrigation Area and to resolve a long term position for landowners.

Mr Madden met yesterday with Mildura Rural City Council which presented him with a newly adopted position which will be provided to the Mildura Planning Taskforce for consideration.

"There is a need for long term strategies to be in place to maintain options for rural land use and to provide support for agriculture and rural production in Victoria," Mr Madden said.

"Agriculture, and in particular horticulture and the associated manufacturing, packaging and processing of local produce, underpins the economy of Mildura and is an important contributor to the State and national economies.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Planning improvements provide certainty for Activity Centres

[Victorian Government Media Release]

THE approval of the boundaries of five 'market-ready' activity centres in Melbourne and Geelong by the Brumby Labor Government will ensure the planning and management of growth is simpler and more effective.

Planning Minister Justin Madden today announced the new planning initiatives today at the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association's People Transforming Places conference in Creswick.

"The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to maintain Melbourne's liveability," Mr Madden said.

"This is a significant next step in our planning reforms as flagged in the government's response to the Melbourne 2030 audit, which will benefit Camberwell Junction, Coburg, Doncaster Hill, Central Geelong and Preston (High Street).

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Connex name replaced with Metro

MELBOURNE'S train contract with Metro Trains Melbourne has been finalised, with the Herald Sun reporting today that the Connex name is to be replaced in favour of the name 'Metro'.

The new operator, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), a joint venture between Hong Kong's MTM Corporation, John Holland and United Group, will begin on Monday 30 November.

According to the Victorian Government, the new 8 year contract will deliver:

  • A 24 per cent reduction in cancellations in the first year of operation;
  • A 10 per cent increase in punctuality;
  • 100 more customer service staff and 100 more maintenance workers;
  • A 10 per cent reduction in crime across the network;
  • Written by Urbanalyst

Tram contract finalised

MELBOURNE'S tram contract has been finalised.  Keolis Downer EDI (KDR) will run the tram network for 8 years with a further 7 year option from November 30 this year.  The 'Yarra Trams' brand will be retained.

According to the Victorian Government, the new eight year operating contract with KDR will deliver:

  • Cleaner and safer trams;
  • Improved maintenance procedures to maximise fleet availability and reduce cancellations;
  • Increased activity to remove litter and graffiti on and around the network;
  • Better customer information at tram stops, focusing on route details and fares;
  • Improve tram punctuality from 78 per cent of services on time to 82 per cent through the duration of the contract;
  • Major works to upgrade tram tracks to improve passenger comfort and reduce maintenance; and
  • Oversee the procurement and introduction of 50 new low floor trams from 2012.
  • Written by Urbanalyst

Proposed Reforms to Moderninse Victoria's Planning Act

[Victorian Government Media Release]

THE Brumby Labor Government today released five response papers that set out proposed reforms to improve and modernise the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Planning Minister Justin Madden said the proposed reforms were prepared in response to 150 submissions to the discussion paper Modernising Victoria's Planning Act released in March 2009.

"The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to cut-red tape and improve the efficiency of the Planning and Environment Act 1987," Mr Madden said.

"Submissions were received from a variety of community organisations, government agencies, professional bodies as well as the planning and development industry, metropolitan and rural councils, and the general public.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

What happens on the other side of the UGB?


ACCORDING to the Victorian Government, the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) indicates the "limits of urban development and where non-urban values and land uses should prevail in metropolitan Melbourne" in order to provide "certainty" to decision makers and presumably, provide tangible guidelines and rules to developers, investors and speculators about where development can and cannot take place.

The main principle underlying UGB is that it "prevents unnecessary extension of community infrastructure and helps preserve the important qualities of rural areas".

Whilst the principles and theories supporting the use of urban growth boundaries are sound, the implementation and enforcement of the UGB boundary in Melbourne seems anything but certain.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

$77,000 Boost for Werribee Riverbend Precinct

[Victorian Government Media Release]

WYNDHAM residents and visitors will benefit from $77,000 in Brumby Labor Government funding Planning Minister Justin Madden announced today.

Mr Madden said the funding would be used to investigate development concepts for the Riverbend Precinct in Werribee's City Centre.

"The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to rejuvenate Melbourne’s suburbs and maintain our liveability," Mr Madden said.

"We have provided $77,000 through the Expert Assistance Program (EAP) to Wyndham City Council for preliminary planning of the Riverbend Precinct in the Werribee City Centre.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Melbourne public transport patronage continues to grow

PATRONAGE on Melbourne's public transport continues to grow, with 2008/09 public transport usage up 9% compared to the previous 2007/08 period.

Tram trips rose 12.5 per cent, bus trips rose 9 per cent and train trips increased by more than 6 per cent amounting to a record number of 490 million trips for the year.

The figures arrive ahead of December, when the operators of Melbourne's tram and train network, Yarra Trams and Connex respectively, are replaced by new contracts with Keolis Downer EDI and Metro Trains Melbourne.

It is the first time in three years that train patronage growth was under 10% but comes as the first of 38 new trains was delivered overnight.  The train, similar to the Alstom X'Trapolis trains that already run in Melbourne, will undergo fit-outs and extensive testing, before beginning normal operation later this year.  The entire fleet of the 38 trains will not be in operation until 2014.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Melbourne City Council to sell CBD laneways

MELBOURNE City Council plans to make almost $1.4 million by selling CBD laneways.  The Age reports that the council will sell the laneways to make way for the the new Emporium Melbourne shopping centre development.  This comes days after the controversial refusal to protect the historic art deco Lonsdale House building on the site.

According to The Age newspaper, documents reveal that the council plans to make $616,000 selling part of Lynch Place, $686,000 from Arcade Alley, $148,000 selling a section of the air space of Little Bourke Street and $6000 from basement area, and $21,000 for air space above Caledonian Lane.

The Emporium Melbourne development, including 240 new shops and a makeover of Myer's CBD store, is due to be completed before Christmas 2012.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

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