Infrastructure strategy nears

The City of Melbourne will soon have its say on a major state government infrastructure strategy outlining a 30-year approach to everything from climate change, affordable housing and the municipality’s urban renewal areas – Arden, Macaulay and Fishermans Bend.

Infrastructure Victoria’s draft 30-year infrastructure strategy was released for public consultation at the end of 2020 and will be tabled in Parliament later this year.

The council was due to consider its submission to the strategy on February 16, but councillors unanimously voted to defer consideration of the submission due to the context of the ongoing pandemic and February’s snap lockdown, and include distinctions between short- and long-term goals.

“I believe that in light of the current situation, the environment that particularly our small businesses are experiencing and the hardship being felt right across our economy and community, it is important that for every report, every investment, every program being considered by council that we put that overlaying context into our thinking and our planning,” the Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.

 “That’s why I’m moving this amended motion this evening.”

Key opportunities that were proposed to be prioritised by council officers in the existing submission included:

Recognising the role of the central city in the Victorian and national economy, and its need for sustained investment to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Encouraging the Victorian Government to enable local government to deliver small scale but cumulatively significant capital infrastructure to generate a short-term economic boost when funded and delivered as a larger package. This should include public realm improvements, recreation facilities and social infrastructure.

The development of innovation districts including the Melbourne Innovation District (MID) in the City North precinct, Arden urban renewal precinct and the former GMH site in Fishermans Bend Employment Precinct, which will grow the economies of the future.

Immediate investment in foundational and catalytic infrastructure in the urban renewal areas of Arden, Macaulay and Fishermans Bend to unlock the development potential of these areas with the view to shape them as attractive places for community development and corresponding further investment attraction. The investment needs to address: flood mitigation, integrated water management, open space acquisition, and key transport connections like the tram extension to Fishermans Bend. 

Encouraging a bolder approach to address the clear demand for affordable housing across metropolitan Melbourne, including mandating and incentivising affordable housing as part of the planning process and recognising it as essential infrastructure.

Embedding expert Aboriginal knowledge on sustainable land management practices into the contemporary management, planning and development of Melbourne’s land and water.

“The draft strategy is a significant step towards planning for Victoria’s future in uncertain times. We acknowledge that the draft strategy aims to balance the complexity of longer-term infrastructure planning with the need for the Victorian Government to act now,” the report said. 

“We agree with the draft strategy’s position, that there will be significant increases in population and the demand for infrastructure in the period to 2050 and support the proposed investment in transport, rapidly growing suburbs and social infrastructure to address predicted future demand.”

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