Growth areas infrastructure (19.02.2014)

Written on the 28 February 2014

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is also to the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy, and I ask:

can the minister advise the house what action the government has taken to facilitate new infrastructure in growth areas faster?


Hon. M. J. GUY (Minister for Planning) -- For too long our growth areas have been ignored in terms of the ability to get new infrastructure within them at a time that suits those people who are moving in. Members, particularly those representing Western Metropolitan Region -- Mr Finn, Mr Elsbury, Mr Ondarchie and me -- know this all too well from new suburbs in Melbourne's west and north that have been built and allowed to be built without any serious infrastructure being attached.

Members in this chamber would be well aware that when the coalition left office in 1999, Point Cook was a mere general store with half a dozen homes. When we took government again and were sworn in in December 2010, Point Cook was a suburb of some 15 000 people, as big as Colac. It had one road in and one road out. That was the infrastructure dilemma that this government inherited from the previous government in December 2010. We have gone away to find every mechanism we can to avail those areas with infrastructure within an earlier time frame to assist those who live in Melbourne's growth area suburbs. The Liberal-Nationals coalition will not turn its back on Melbourne's growth areas. We are going to make sure that everything we can do we will do.

It is with much pride that I announce to this chamber that the government has brought forward the growth areas infrastructure contribution work-in-kind guidelines to allow developers to contribute to state infrastructure in exactly the same way that councils seek developers to contribute to local infrastructure. These are Labor councillors -- they are Mr Lenders's mates in Melton, his mates in Whittlesea, his mates in Wyndham when they were there, his mates in Hume and his mates all through the growth areas of the city who worked for him in government. All those councillors availed themselves of work in kind, and we have now brought forward at a state level the same mechanism that all those Labor councillors sought to avail themselves of to achieve infrastructure for councils in growth areas. We have now achieved this at a state level.
This is significant. It means that the development industry no longer has to simply hand over a cheque. It can actually achieve serious state infrastructure outcomes for people who live in growth areas.

Labor members opposed this, whingeing on one hand about the lack of infrastructure and then coming into this chamber to oppose a good measure to bring forward new infrastructure for growth areas. The new guidelines for works in kind could look at arterial roads, freeways, footpaths, walking and cycling tracks, health, education facilities, libraries, community facilities such as open space and recreational centres, stormwater management, IT infrastructure and railway stations.

Mr Barber interjected.

Hon. M. J. GUY -- Railway stations for Mr Barber's benefit. State infrastructure costs a lot of money. This government now has guidelines whereby the development industry can assist in delivering that infrastructure much earlier than would have been the case under the Labor government and much earlier than would be the case even under the Greens.

These guidelines will see new infrastructure advance in a much faster way than would have been the case had Labor been in office or if Labor were in office into the future. This is evidence of how this government is managing population growth sensibly and sustainably into the future and of how this government is building a better Victoria.

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