Victoria's Big Challenge: How to Balance Sustainable Growth with Liveability

VPELA hosts address by Victoria's Minister for Planning

Last night, the Hon. Richard Wynne, MLA, Victorian Minister for Planning, addressed over 200 guests at the annual Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association (VPELA) ‘Meet the Minister’ event at Treasury House in Melbourne.

Ecology and Heritage Partners were pleased to sponsor the sold-out event attended by the planning, development and environmental law industry. Our Director, Oona Nicolson, made the opening address.

Although no major announcements were made, the Minister emphasised the need to focus on sustainable management of the significant population growth forecast, whilst also maintaining the excellent liveability enjoyed in Victoria and recognised internationally.

As Australia’s population reached 24 million this week (17 years ahead of schedule according year 2000 forecasts) the audience had the opportunity to reflect on how this growth translates to Victoria.

According to the Minister, Victoria is forecast to have a population size of 7.7 million by 2051 with 1.5 million extra dwellings required. This translates to a rate of one person/minute: the equivalent to two full-train loads per day. In the growth areas of Wyndham and Casey for example, four classrooms of children are born each week.

Growth corridors will continue to play an important role in providing the required housing. Presently there is 15 years supply of land in growth corridors (55,000 hectares of land has been identified for growth, this translates to 217,000 dwellings and 500,000 people).

The Minister highlighted the importance of regional centres such as Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the La Trobe Valley, and their role in planning for sustainable growth in Victoria. In particular, it was noted that transport infrastructure such as fast rail is a key element to opening up opportunities in regional centres. A current challenge is managing the tensions arising from the growth in residential development that abuts agricultural land.

Good infrastructure continues to be important to supporting Melbourne’s metropolitan growth. This includes a continuing focus on grade separations, good urban design and developing more medium-density housing. With regards to this, it will be essential to engage communities on this topic and ensure medium density housing is sympathetic to the existing suburb and does not negatively impact liveability in a particular area.

The Minister also highlighted the following:

 - A mid-year release of the Plan Melbourne refresh

 - The transition of the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) to Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) 

 - Being optimistic about the move of the Portfolio of Cities to the Prime Minister’s office

 - Looking forward to Infrastructure Victoria reducing politics involved in the planning process.

At Ecology and Heritage Partners we were delighted to reconnect with many colleagues in the industry. It has been a privilege to work with so many of you and to be part of the continued growth in Victoria. We look forward to playing a key role in the exciting future of the State.

For further information on how we can make your project a success, please contact Ecology and Heritage Partners on 1300 839 325, or

Thank you to VPELA for the opportunity once again to be associated with this outstanding event.

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