Plan Melbourne (31.10.2013)

Written on the 1 November 2013

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is for the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy. I ask: can the minister advise the house what action the government will take through its Plan Melbourne strategy to protect sensitive areas of our central city from overdevelopment?

Hon. M. J. GUY (Minister for Planning) -- I thank Ms Crozier for her sensible question about Plan Melbourne and how it will assist with protecting our central city areas from overdevelopment. It is important that we start looking at bringing mandatory controls back into the planning system, which is something that had been missing for about 11 years under the previous government. Before considering the question from Ms Crozier, it is worthwhile noting the recent Housing Industry Association figures released yesterday, which show Victoria with a 36 per cent increase in private house sales and a 27 per cent increase in private house approvals. Victoria is leading Australia in both of those fields, which shows that confidence has well and truly returned to housing markets in Victoria. That is one of the reasons we need to look at mandatory controls, because confidence has well and truly returned to the housing market in this state both in high-density housing and in detached homes throughout our suburbs and regional areas.

Plan Melbourne initiative 4.2.3 is around protecting unique city precincts and our waterways from inappropriate development. That was missing from previous strategies. This government will look at investigating areas such as the Bourke Hill precinct, East Melbourne and sensitive locations around Port Phillip Bay that need to be protected with mandatory controls. It has taken this government, the Liberal-Nationals government, to say that there are sensitive areas of our central city that need to be protected. While we support density in defined locations, and high rise in the right locations, it is also important for governments to play a role in protecting areas that need to be protected.

What a shame we did not have a government with this kind of will before the Windsor Hotel development was approved. What a shame we did not have a government that would exhibit controls that could potentially give this level of protection to the Bourke Hill precinct once and for all. This level of mandatory control is not unique to this government.

We have proudly rolled out the neighbourhood residential zone, which gives widespread protection and mandatory controls in terms of height and subdivision across that zone throughout the state of Victoria.

We have also put in place the Yarra and Maribyrnong River controls, which are now being rolled out across our two iconic rivers. This government has offered those river controls to other councils through Plan Melbourne to ensure that we are protecting sensitive areas of Melbourne that need to be looked after. We do not have a tropical climate such as that of Brisbane or the harbour that Sydney does, but we do have iconic waterways that need to be protected. Unlike any other government before it, the coalition government will do the work to ensure that we can protect those sensitive areas of Melbourne. This includes the issues raised in Ms Crozier's question about the central city area or those relating to our precious rivers and streams. We will do the work to make sure that Melbourne remains the world's most livable city.

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