The 2017/18 Budget: will it benefit Melbourne’s growth areas?
This afternoon’s release of the 2017/18 Budget saw as always some winners and some losers. Echelon Planning has identified four key announcements that could assist greenfield developments in Melbourne’s growth areas in relation to the Streamlining for Growth program, arterial roads, school site acquisitions and community infrastructure, although it is not all good news in respect of the latter.
Streamlining for Growth program
Earlier this year the State Government announced that it would extend the Streamlining for Growth Program to improve planning and approval processes for residential developments. The Budget confirms that $5.2 million of funding will be provided annually for the program for the next three years.
The Western Suburbs Road Package (announced last year as the Outer Suburban Arterial Roads Program Western Package) has been included as a Public Private Partnership project, and will facilitate upgrades to the following arterial roads within the City of Wyndham:
• Derrimut Road Upgrade (Tarneit) • Dohertys Road Upgrade (Laverton North) • Dohertys Road Upgrade (Truganina) • Dunnings Road and Palmers Road Upgrade (Point Cook) • Leakes Road Upgrade (Truganina) • Palmers Road Upgrade (Truganina) • Princes Freeway –Duncans Road Interchange (Werribee) • Princes Freeway–Forsyth Road Interchange upgrade (Hoppers Crossing)
Future investments in arterial roads in the northern and south-eastern suburbs will be considered by the Government over the next year, but this will be contingent on the completion of further planning and business case development and resolution of funding models.
Acquisition of school sites
The government will purchase land for 11 new schools in nine municipalities including within the growth area Councils of Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham. $70.5 million of funding for 2017/18 has been announced, which is an increase on $54.3 million from the 2016/17 Budget and $39.7 million from the 2015/16 Budget. With developers often waiting for years for school sites on their estates to be acquired, it is heartening to see an increase in acquisition funding but a backlog of sites still remains to be addressed.
The Growing Suburbs Fund has provided a useful boost for the delivery of community projects in growth areas including new sporting ovals and community facilities. Whilst the fund will be continued, it has been cut from $50 million a year to $25 million a year. With often significant delays in Development Contributions Plan levies becoming available for the development of active open space and community facility projects, there is a greater chance that these sites will remain vacant for longer while residential development continues around them.
The 2017/18 Budget papers can be accessed here.