Infrastructure Victoria has today recommended increasing density in established areas, particularly near railway stations and employment centres, to make better use of existing infrastructure as part of its draft 30-year strategy.
The independent authority’s draft strategy lays out a pipeline of initiatives, including policy and reform changes to better align infrastructure and land use planning.
The draft strategy – Victoria’s first ever cross sector infrastructure strategy - makes wide ranging recommendations to respond to infrastructure demands of high growth suburbs in metropolitan Melbourne and regional centres – including extending train lines, expanding bus services, building integrated justice precincts and health hubs and transforming schools into shared community spaces.
Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive Michel Masson said the draft strategy aimed to respond to forecast population growth and improve access to jobs and services.
“Victoria is already the fastest growing state in Australia, and its population is expected to continue to grow to 9.5 million by 2046 – over 80 per cent of which is expected to be in greater Melbourne.
“One of our guiding principles is better aligning land use and infrastructure planning, and that’s why increasing densities in established areas is one of our top three priorities for action, as we believe this will transform the way the state grows,” Mr Masson said.
The draft strategy recommends increasing medium density development in areas already well serviced by infrastructure, focusing on areas in the vicinity of train stations and tram corridors.
“While Melbourne’s outer western and northern suburbs are already reaching capacity on their rail lines and roads, our evidence indicates that Melbourne’s inner and middle eastern and southern suburbs have capacity to accommodate more growth – particularly after Melbourne Metro is completed,” Mr Masson said.
Infrastructure Victoria has recommended the Victorian Government work with local councils and amend planning controls at appropriate locations in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo to allow more people to live in areas with established infrastructure.
Infrastructure Victoria commissioned research comparing the cost of delivering infrastructure in new greenfield suburbs with established areas, and found the cost could be up to four times as much in greenfield areas.
“Although we have recommended increasing densities in established areas, we recognise the need to keep planning and delivering key infrastructure to our fastest growing areas,” Mr Masson said.
The draft strategy has also made recommendations to ‘unlock’ brownfield sites close to established areas – such as extending the tram network into Fisherman’s Bend.
The strategy also recommends encouraging people who live in high density areas to shift to more active forms of transport by investing in more cycling corridors, walking path improvements and better public transport.
The draft strategy has been released for consultation before the final 30-year infrastructure strategy is delivered to Parliament in December.
To read the draft strategy and supporting technical documents, or provide feedback, visit the consultation website. The consultation period closes on 31 October 2016.
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