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Minister supports Fishermans Bend refresh

The Victorian state government has responded to the first report from the Fishermans Bend Ministerial Advisory Committee by supporting or partially-supporting all of the recommendations put forward and creating a new taskforce to plan the site.

In July last year the planning minister Richard Wynne appointed an 11-member Ministerial Advisory Committee as part of a promise to take a consultative approach to planning the 455-hectare urban renewal area. The committee contains built environment professionals including an architect, a landscape architect and planning and transport experts.

The committee released a report last October that stated, “the current planning and implementation arrangements for the area are flawed and, if continued, would result in poor urban outcomes for new residents and workers, existing residents and workers, local businesses, the Port of Melbourne and both local and State Government.” In the report, the committee explicitly criticized a 2012 decision by then-planning minister Matthew Guy to rezone 250 hectares of Fishermans Bend as a capital city zone under the previous Liberal government. The report contained 40 recommendations.

In its response to the committee’s report, the state government addressed each recommendation individually, adopting 34 in full and providing partial support for six of the recommendations.

The minister has already responded to a recommendation for more resources to be dedicated to the urban renewal area by creating a new Fishermans Bend Taskforce with members from Places Victoria, the City of Port Phillip, the City of Melbourne, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Metropolitan Planning Authority.

Other key recommendations made in the report included the introduction of interim planning regulations similar to those brought in for Melbourne’s CBD in September last year, making built form and design excellence a mandatory permit application requirement and introducing design competitions for landmark sites (like the City of Sydney does) as well as introducing heritage building protection across the whole Fishermans Bend area.

In response to the built form and design excellence recommendation, the minister said that the design guidelines would be strengthened this year, and that design reviews with the Office of the Victorian Government Architect would continue.

The minister only expressed partial support for the recommendation advocating interim planning regulations, which suggested the introduction of plot ratio, podium height and setback controls. The response said that the government would review design guidelines, taking into account expanded heritage controls and exploring density controls.

To view the full list of recommendations and the planning minister’s responses, click here.

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