New Era for Melbourne’s Central City Planning

The Andrews Labor Government has embarked on the first overhaul of Melbourne’s CBD planning since the late 1990s, to ensure the city maintains its character and celebrated livability.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne launched the central city planning review with the City of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, and said planning needed to keep pace with development and growth to maintain all the elements which draw people and investment to the CBD.

Over the next 12 months, the Labor Government will work closely with the City of Melbourne, CBD businesses, residents and the development industry to introduce strategic plans.

Interim planning controls are now in place over that 12 month period, including height limits and plot ratio controls, as part of the plan to bring Victoria’s central city planning rules up to date. 

Mr Wynne said many Melbournians would be surprised to know the CBD lacked planning controls for density and amenity, which are found in many international cities, and Melbourne’s current densities would not be allowed in New York, Tokyo or Hong Kong.

Without planning changes, Melbourne’s CBD is at risk of darkened streets, wind tunnels and less open space.

The review also signals a new era of closer collaboration between the Minister for Planning and the City of Melbourne, both parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and the Council has been made a referral authority for planning permits before the State Government.

Proposed changes will be available for consultation next year to bring the community’s voice into this discussion and the Melbourne Planning Scheme is expected to be updated in the second half of 2016.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“There hasn’t been a significant update of the central city planning rules since 1999, and it is our duty and obligation to bring plans in line with our evolving CBD.

“Melbourne’s planning scheme needs to balance scale and density occurring in our city, protecting heritage and character while preparing the city for more growth.”

“We want a system that delivers for the people of Melbourne and Victoria. This review will deliver certainty and consistency of outcomes and ensure our fantastic city remains a world beater.”

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

“The Memorandum of Understanding strikes a balance and continues the economic development of the city, so important for the prosperity of Melbourne and Victoria.

“Equally, Melbourne is special and we need to pay attention to the built form in order to maintain the liveability of the city that we love so much”