Fishermans Bend Will Lack Necessary Infrastructure: Report

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
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Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne has launched a scathing attack upon his predecessor for what he says is a failure to make adequate infrastructure provisions for the Fishermans Bend redevelopment.

A report commissioned by the Victorian government has concluded that the Planning Minister of their Coalition predecessors failed to make adequate infrastructure planning preparations prior to green lighting the redevelopment of the Fishermans Bend region to the south of the Melbourne CBD.

The Coalition launched the redevelopment the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area during its last term in office – an area covering 455 hectares located to the south of the Yarra River, situated within the City of Port Phillip and the City of Melbourne.

Approved by current opposition leader Matthew Guy during his tenure as the State Minister of Planning, the draft vision plan for the renewal project expected it to bring 40,000 more jobs and 80,000 more residents to a region greater in size than the CBD, the Hoddle St. grid and Docklands by mid-century.

Victoria’s incumbent Labor government has launched a scathing attack on the Coalition’s redevelopment plan following the release of the independent report, with Planning Minister Richard Wynne calling the outcome of the approval “a smouldering wreck.”

The report said the rezoning process failed to provide any consideration to key infrastructure and facilities, such as public transportation, schools and open spaces, that would be needed for the dramatic population expansion envisaged by the regional overhaul.

“Matthew Guy rezoned this land overnight without giving any consideration to the key infrastructure that would support this community, so public transport, kindergartens, schools, open space – all the things we would expect in a civil society, Matthew Guy has ignored,” Wynne said. “This is an appalling legacy of Matthew Guy, who took no account of the needs of a population of 100,000 people.”

This is not the first time that members of government on either side of politics have raised concerns about lack of adequate infrastructure planning to underpin future urban development.

Toward the end of last year, in the government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into public infrastructure, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs lambasted a lack of planning foresight that was leaving the country with insufficient infrastructure for future development.

According to planning expert Professor Michael Buxton, urban rezoning can be used to produce a property market frenzy without proper consideration of the ensuing infrastructure needs.

“The previous zone was changed into a capital city zone, which had no height controls which immediately increased the value of the land,” said Buxton to 774 ABC Melbourne. “[So there’s] a big windfall, with very little contribution then to the infrastructure and services that must be provided for the massive increase in population.”

According to Buxton, the result of inadequate planning for new urban developments is a far higher price tag for belated infrastructure creation.

“What that means is that the Government must then in the future pay a very substantially increased price for parks, public transport and so on,” he said.

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