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Plan Melbourne update released - jobs, infrastructure, jobs, repeat

The Victorian State Government has released an addendum to Plan Melbourne. It makes for very interesting reading. It provides an update on Melbourne’s projected population, housing and employment growth, superseding the figures set out in Plan Melbourne 2017. It also provides an update on key land use and transport planning initiatives.

The Melbourne 2050 Spatial Plan has been updated to show the proposed Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) and North-East Link. It also acknowledges the early investigation of other new projects, including the elements of the Western Rail Plan beyond completion of Airport Rail. The Addendum outlines a sequence of major infrastructure projects over the period 2019-28.

It notes that the accessibility offered by the SRL project will change the shape of the city, including attracting greater investment along the rail corridors that connect to SRL. It also commits to embedding the 20-minute neighbourhoods ‘hallmarks’ into major infrastructure projects.

These are all sensible and important updates to the current metropolitan plan. Significantly, the revised forecasts suggest that Melbourne will need to plan circa 900,000 additional jobs by 2031 – a 30% increase on the 2017 jobs forecasts.

This updates highlight the critical importance of planning for employment precincts for our city. It identifies that approximately 11.9 million square metres of commercial floorspace will be required across metropolitan Melbourne to meet projected demand to 2031. Of this total, 57 per cent would be required for office uses. It foreshadows that more land may been to be rezoned to accommodate these commercial floorspace requirements, and it emphasises the need for ongoing protection and retention of land for industrial purposes.

Echelon Planning has been advocating for a stronger focus on planning for employment land for a number of years, and it is pleasing that the updates to Plan Melbourne identify and quantify the size of the task ahead.

The challenge now is to ensure that land use and infrastructure plans are put in place to enable these substantial employment growth figures to be achieved.

Amendment VC168 was gazetted on 11th February, and it embeds the updated Melbourne 2050 Spatial Framework into all Victorian Planning Schemes, as well as referencing the Addendum as a Background Document to planning schemes.

Read more about the Plan Melbourne Addendum here.


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