Fishermans Bend Advisory Committee – Report 1

THE urban renewal of Fishermans Bend is a nationally significant opportunity to provide for significant residential growth with the advantages of an inner city lifestyle and the benefit of reducing the pressure on development in Melbourne's middle suburbs and on the fringe, according to a recent Advisory Committee report.

"Unfortunately, the current planning and implementation arrangements for the Area are flawed and if continued, would result in poor urban outcomes for new residents and workers, existing residents and workers, local businesses, the Port of Melbourne and both local and State Government," the report states.

"The Committee's conclusion is that the decision in 2012 to rezone 250 hectares of industrial land to Capital City Zone in advance of due diligence and planning work was misguided, and that the subsequent release of light handed planning guidelines in mid-2014, without establishing clear financial, governance and implementation arrangements for the Area, did little to improve the situation."

Map of Fishermans Bend precincts
Above: Map of Fishermans Bend precincts / Victorian Government.

According to the report, since January 2014, permits have been issued for 20 high rise towers of between 20 and 49 storeys and applications have been received for another 26 towers of between 20 and 64 storeys. All of these towers are residential buildings, involving the potential for approximately 17,600 apartments. A large proportion is in the Montague Precinct, adjacent to Southbank. By contrast, Docklands has 5300 apartments which have been developed over 20 years.

"The number and scale of these development approvals is alarming, but more alarming is that development is proceeding without reliable implementation mechanisms to ensure that contamination will be addressed, that planned new roads can be built, that connected open space can be secured and that infrastructure will be delivered in time, or at all," the report says

At the same time as appointing the Advisory Committee, the Victorian Labor Government established a process to 'recast' the planning for the area to develop an overall infrastructure plan and to focus on detailed neighbourhood planning for each of the five precincts in the Area.

The Committee's report provides advice on that process, and makes a number of recommendations about the steps needed to get the planning for Fishermans Bend back on track and to get new implementation mechanisms in place.

In the first instance, the Committee recommends that immediate action be taken to:

  • Refresh and redefine the rationale and vision for Fishermans Bend in the context of wider planning for the capital city, and the changes which have occurred to the economic and policy settings affecting the Area including decisions about the Port;
  • Establish effective governance and financial arrangements appropriate to the scale of the Fishermans Bend urban renewal task; and
  • Confirm the key decisions about transport for the Area and in particular, the timing and route/s of the future tram network, the route for dedicated cycling and walking track/s to the Central Business District and the long term planning for any future Metro line through the Area.

"The recast of the planning process and the recommendations in this Report propose an approach to planning and implementation which will result in a much better outcome for the Area. Pending the development and implementation of a workable long term development strategy for the Area, the Advisory Committee has also proposed a difficult recommendation about stronger interim planning controls to ameliorate the impact of the current inadequate planning regime."

Title: Fishermans Bend Advisory Committee – Report 1

Authored by: Fishermans Bend Advisory Committee

Date: October 2015

Available from: Metropolitan Planning Authority website at <> or directly from this link (PDF: 7.43 MB).

Note from Urbanalyst: The above summary is sourced directly from the document and/or accompanying documentation. Aside from minor editorial modifications, the information is presented as-is.

Photo: Maps of Fishermans Bend precincts / Victorian Government / Licensed under Creative Commons BY 2.0.

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