The Melbourne Fisherman’s Bend project has gotten the go-ahead from Planning Minister Matthew Guy. The 250-hectare project will more than double the size of the central city while providing housing for at least 80,000 residents.

In addition, Fishermans Bend will generate billions in economic development and spur the creation of 40,000 jobs, Guy said.

“Development of Fishermans Bend will create significant investment, jobs and commercial opportunities right on the doorstep of Melbourne’s CBD,” he said.

Construction alone will deliver billions of dollars in economic benefits to Victoria over the next 40 years. The precinct will ultimately double the size of our central city, boosting Melbourne’s productivity by extending the capital city’s commercial appeal and skilled workforce.”

Melbourne’s robust growth has created housing stress for half of the city’s residents.

“Melbourne is expected to have a population of 7.7 million by 2051, rapidly growing from its current population of 4.3 million. Accommodating this growth requires careful long term planning and development in strategically important locations,” Guy said.

Fishermans Bend, a key component of Plan Melbourne, will link the CBD and Port Phillip Bay, and will be served by a variety of transportation options.

Guy said development will include “cycling and pedestrian links, roads, trams and rail via the new Melbourne Rail Link. The new rail link will include a new underground station at Montague precinct, which will provide a high volume of peak services early in the development of the area.”

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has weighed in on the project, calling on the Victorian Government to include sustainability benchmarks.

“How will the people of Victoria know that their community – one that will one day be home to 80,000 residents – meets Australian benchmarks for sustainability, leadership, transparency and efficiency?” GBCA chief operating officer Robin Mellon said in a statement. “Meeting these benchmarks does not need to cost more, but will deliver massive long-term benefits.”

The Green Star – Communities standard is part of many other major urban renewal projects across Australia, Mellon said. He cited Sydney’s Parramatta Square and Barangaroo South, Queensland’s Caloundra South and Ecco Ripley, Adelaide’s Bowden and Tonsley, and Perth’s Waterbank and Alkimos Beach as significant recent projects that have used the standard.

He said Green Star – Communities ensures best practices for design, environment, financial prosperity, governance, innovation, and liveability.

“How we plan, design and build a precinct of this size – one that will double the size of central Melbourne – will have an enormous impact on more than the Victorian economy. It will also have an enormous impact on the environment and on people’s lives, health and wellbeing,” he said.

“The Victorian Government has the opportunity to lead the way in setting world-leading social, economic AND environmental benchmarks at Fishermans Bend – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we cannot afford to waste.”

Guy said construction on the project will begin shortly.

“Development of Fishermans Bend is a 40-year project but I have approved a limited number of permit applications that will allow some construction to start in the near future. Developers will be required to make financial contributions towards new infrastructure as part of their permit conditions,” he said.

He added that section 173 agreements will be used in the interim for existing permit applications, as a Development Contributions Plan for the precinct is presently underway. The Metropolitan Planning Authority, which prepared the the Fishermans Bend SFP, will become the Responsible Authority for the precinct.