Archive:  Melbourne 2030

Last Updated  29/3/10





Precinct Structure Planning Guidelines Released By State Government

(10/10/09 - P)  Something old, something "flexible"? 

The Victorian government has released new Precinct Structure Planning Guidelines to guide anticipated development in Melbourne's outer areas (also becoming known as the 'fire fringe').  The guidelines are said to be a "simple planning tool" for "building Melbourne's new communities" [DPCD].  Click on the link above (Precinct Structure Planning Guidelines) to access the document.  If the link doesn't work, please go to DPCD's website


MRRA Says:

One problem with the guidelines is that they 're-present' standards that were already included in Melbourne 2030.  Another is that, like most planning 'rules' these days, they aren't binding. 


Seeing developers react well to the guidelines because they are 'open to negotiation' should send a shiver down most ordinary folks' backs.  If there is any merit in the guidelines (i.e. if they did something about delivering sound planning outcomes and recognising community concerns), it will likely be brushed aside as developers insist on being allowed to take the easiest and cheapest path to profits.


State Government Puts Activity Centre Zone In Planning Schemes Through Amendment VC59

(18/9/09 - P)  Another piece of the government's pro-development agenda falls into place

Notice was given yesterday of the introduction of an Activity Centre Zone into the Victoria Planning Provisions.  At this stage it seems the zone is intended to be applied in the metropolitan area, but it pays to read the 'fine print' in a Practice Note produced to provide guidance on how and where the new zone CAN be applied.  There don't seem to be any rock-hard guarantees.  You can check out the zone, amendment, Practice Note and other details by following the links in advice received (below) from the Department of Planning and Community Development.


Amendment VC59 introduces the Activity Centre Zone to the Victoria Planning Provisions and the Manningham Planning Scheme. The Minister's Direction on the Form and Content of Planning Schemes is amended to introduce the schedule to the Activity Centre Zone. The practice note provides guidance. More information ...


Melbourne 2030 Review Of Activity Centre Boundaries Out For Comment

(21/2/09 - P)  Submissions due by March 11

State government's latest move on squeezing more people into Melbourne.  Click here for more information



Melbourne 2008 - Life In A Destruction Zone

(16/7/08 - O)  Sheila Newman runs us through why it's a destruction zone, and not just in Melbourne

Click here for more information or go directly to


The Health of Melbourne 2030: What Did The Experts Find?

(16/7/08 - P)  Opportunity to discuss and dissect the Audit Expert Group's [AEG] findings at special issues forum on July 17th

The Victorian Local Governance Association is holding a forum on the AEG's report.  Two of the AEG members will be present.  Places are limited.  Click here for more details. 


Click here to see the AEG Report's Executive Summary.  Click here to see the AEG Report's Consolidated Recommendations.


Click  to go to the full AEG Report, and the government's response to it (Planning For All Of Melbourne).


MRRA Says:


Reading the AEG 2030 audit report put us in mind of the recent Auditor General's report, which also identified major short-comings in the government's (Department's) performances and a failure to adequately consult the community.  It begins to sound like a broken record. 


We haven't read the government's response to the Melbourne 2030 AEG report yet, but the word we are getting about it goes something like 'not impressed'. 


While some have found the AEG report disappointing, it should be kept in mind that the Terms of Reference and timeframe were quite restrictive, some suggest deliberately so.  The Audit Expert Group itself admits it didn't have time to explore all of Melbourne 2030 or all of the issues raised in submissions (which makes us wonder what the report would have looked like if there had been time to do this). 


In a nutshell, the key findings are essentially that there has been a lack of leadership, funding, and adequate community consultation / engagement processes.  As the AEG puts it (p5), there are three essential issues that can and must be resolved for Melbourne 2030 to be successfully implemented: Clarity of responsibility, Adequate resources, and Broad-based support. 


Overall, the AEG found Melbourne 2030 hadn't failed, it just hadn't been implemented.  From a Macedon Ranges' perspective, the AEG is quite right - we already know that those parts of M2030 that should apply in Macedon Ranges, i.e. no more rural living or houses on rural land, definitely haven't been implemented, and some 6 or 7 years on, we are still waiting to see the first draft of the Bendigo Corridor plan. 


But we would have to disagree with the AEG on this:  in one way M2030 has been implemented but only those bits that advantage developers, the same bits residents so despise. There's never been any "whole package" about the way M2030 has hit the ground, no balance, just arbitrary get-rich-quick raids by developers, with the only parts seeing action being those developers like (e.g. profitable high density without costs for infrastructure or transportation).


The drums are telling us that there's not much community confidence that anything will change, and there are fears that it might even accelerate, now that the State government is overtly on the side of developers.  Why upset that applecart by suddenly deciding to listen to the community?


Where Is Melbourne Going?  Asks Actor Geoffrey Rush

(26/3/08 - P)  Will we look back on this time with pride, or with regret?

Actor Geoffrey Rush recently opened a new exhibition, called The Melbourne Story, and took the opportunity to ask us to think about the legacy we will leave our children.  Here's how the Herald Sun reported it.


History takes a Rush at the future

From: Herald Sun


March 20, 2008ACCLAIMED actor Geoffrey Rush has thrown down the gauntlet and warned of a voter backlash if the State Government does not open up public debate over the city's changing landscape.


At the opening of a major exhibition illustrating Melbourne's history, Rush yesterday said government decisions about the city's future were at a crucial stage.


"We are at a critical stage of long-term planning," he said.


Click here to read the full article on the Herald Sun website or alternatively, you can copy and paste this link into your browser:,21985,23405755-2862,00.html


Melbourne's Liveability Fades As Population Soars

(11/3/08 - P)  Sustainable Population Australia (Vic branch) media release

Jill Quirk, President of the Victorian branch of Sustainable Population Australia, expresses concern for impacts of population growth on quality of life and says the solution is simple: "turn off the tap on immigration to slow population growth and we will have some hope of a manageable future."  Click here  to see the media release.


Melbourne's Population Surge

(11/3/08 - P)  Latest bulletin by Monash Uni's Centre for Population and Urban Research

Prepared by Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy, this bulletin discusses issues ranging from a failing Melbourne 2030 to the new residential zones to population projections.  Click here to go to the bulletin.


MRRA Attends Melbourne 2030 Audit Workshop

(29/10/07 - P)  The same week, the Department of Planning and Community Development releases "Melbourne 2030 Audit:  Analysis Of Progress And Findings From The 2006 Census".   What a waste of paper...

The Audit Expert Group [AEG] looking at Melbourne 2030 recently held two workshops: one for Councils, and one for other submitters to the Audit (i.e. community groups, industry players and individuals).  204 submissions were lodged in response to the recent call for comments, and one of those was made by MRRA. 


The workshop MRRA attended was held at the Telstra Dome, and about 80 people were present.  Three members of the AEG also attended: Rob Moodie, David Whitney and Ann McAfee (Michael Wright was overseas).  Rob Moodie opened the workshop and noted growth was faster than anticipated, and climate change is now a critical issue.  He also said key issues noted in submissions included: support for stopping urban sprawl; Melbourne 2030 was too general; the plan needed needed to be better linked to funding; more tools are needed to manage amenity and quality of life issues; one size doesn't fit all; and questions re communication by the State government.


A Department of Planning and Community Development [DPCD] representative spoke to the gathering about census data, population growth and how the increased birth rate had taken DPCD by surprise.  He was asked about 15 - 20 questions, not many of which could be answered.  The rest of the workshop was taken up with table groups commenting on set questions (although there was some scope to vary this).  Those questions were: "What are implementation priorities for the next 5 years?; How can resident and business communities be involved; and Funding implementation: how should we pay for services to maintain liveability?"


MRRA Says:


After much thought, we've decided that the best part of the workshop was catching up with friends, and hearing what the Audit Expert Group had to say, both formally and informally as they wandered between tables.  It seems there are some concerns held with both the level and extent of community consultation, and the restrictive terms of reference for the audit.  


MRRA shared others' disappointment with the workshop.  Many believe that nothing the community says will be taken seriously by the Department of Planning and Community Development, and they have some cause to be cynical. It was fairly clear that the 'discussion' on census data just couldn't provide the information people wanted to know.  It instead left the impression of a department keen to imprint on attendees that there will be growth, growth growth and essentially everything else is irrelevant - or at least it isn't the focus of the department's attention.  Our own experience was, because there seemed to have been a concerted attempt to get a definite 'mix' of people with a variety of views on each table, certain interests tended to dominate.  On one table the person writing comments down decided Green Wedges had to go and wouldn't entertain an opposing view - so much for equal comment. On another, a major development interest filled in the entire sheet with its own views, then left, leaving the rest of the table no opportunity to comment (although these clever people did demand and got another sheet). 


But the clincher for us that the department isn't taking the community seriously is the "Melbourne 2030 Audit: Analysis of Progress and Findings of the 2006 Census" report released by the department in the week before the workshop.  It seems an email was sent to all submitters announcing the release of the report (and also showing everyone's email addresses) and giving a website link to its location.  Shortly afterwards, it seems the document was removed then - it was put back.  Or was it?  The original document was a 2 mb file, which became a 1.5 mb file second time around.  It's not a report about the audit's progress, it's the department's version of its own progress - or not - on Melbourne 2030.


In MRRA's view, the report is an outstanding example of backside-covering and understatement.  For example, the report seems to imply that the not-so-fast rail upgrade is somehow connected with Melbourne 2030 and also seems to attribute a rise in rural rail patronage purely to the upgrade (don't worry about petrol prices!).  Likewise, the rural Bush Brokers program and Commonwealth Games facilities, and even Loddon-Mallee Housing and Rural Housing Network, seem to bob up as 'what Melbourne 2030 has delivered'. 


If you read it carefully, you will unearth the numerous times required information or actions haven't yet been delivered or have only just begun.  Nowhere in it will you find the Regional Transport Corridors - seems the department doesn't think they are part of Melbourne 2030 (these are the corridors that have seen Macedon Ranges labelled "growth corridor" - we would have expected someone to notice them).  It helps explain why five years on, the M2030 Corridor Strategy Plans still haven't been sighted.


We all know there's a housing affordability crisis, right?  The department's take on it is "Housing affordability has generally declined across Australia since 1999".   The report talks a lot about 'what's being done' for public transport especially the government's 2006 transport initiative (remembering that Melbourne 2030 was introduced circa 2002/2003), but never really gets around to admitting what a dog's breakfast Victoria's public transport system has degenerated into as demand has outstripped the ability to supply service, or how public transport hasn't been a feature (or a cost to developers) of the booming greenfields development that unfettered population growth and Melbourne 2030 have delivered.


But perhaps the most chilling part of it is that instead of injecting some reality into the critical problems Victoria's accelerated growth is causing, the report concludes "On the assumption that the trends suggested by the 2006 Census will continue into the future, the updated Victoria In Future 2008 growth projections will reflect continued strong growth at a higher rate."  That's right, even more growth shoved into neighbourhoods, water catchments, rural areas and... Green Wedges.  No questioning of whether such growth can be accommodated - no sir - just blind acceptance that there will be lots and lots more of it.


So, with Melbourne already feeling as if it is bursting at the seams, what is the department's take on housing affordability, water and transport shortages, climate change and even the principles of Melbourne 2030?  "In periods of higher than average growth rates that occur from time to time, it is expected that the extra demand will be met by higher than average development activity in greenfields areas as the development industry is best able to respond to short term demand pressures by building in those areas.  In that event, changes to the Urban Growth Boundary [UGB] in growth areas will be required periodically to maintain a long-term supply of land of 15 to 25 years and competition in local markets to keep downwards pressure on house prices." 


Isn't Melbourne 2030 already supposed to provide enough land for 15 to 25 years' supply?  Isn't Melbourne 2030 supposed to stop this type of urban sprawl the department now envisages?  Isn't Melbourne 2030 supposed to be a long-term strategy, not just a five year fix?  Isn't anyone ever going to consider Melbourne's and Victoria's future in terms of anything except rampant growth and development?  Isn't this really an admission that Melbourne 2030 isn't working? 


As MRRA commented to an AEG member at the Audit workshop, the report is severely reality-challenged, and to believe it would require the suspension of disbelief.


Macedon Ranges Shire Council's Submission To Melbourne 2030 Audit

(17/9/07 - SP)   It's an absolute cracker!

At last Wednesday's Planning Committee meeting, Council's Strategic Planner, Suzannah Bigolin, put up a report to Council that included a proposed submission to the Melbourne 2030 Audit expert panel.  The draft was approved as Council's submission, and it's a good one.  Congratulations to Suzannah - well done.  And a well done to Council too for agreeing to move this forward. Click here to see the submission.


You Are Invited To Make Submissions On Melbourne 2030, Closes Sept 24

(28/8/07 - SP)   Audit gets underway, public comment called for

The ball has started rolling on the audit of Melbourne 2030.  Click here for information about making submissions.  Click here for a template for making General Submissions.  Click here to see the audit's terms of reference.  For further information, go to


Melbourne 2030 Audit

(7/8/07 - SP)   Terms of Reference released

The State government has released the terms of reference for the committee appointed to audit Melbourne 2030.  Click here for details.


MRRA Says:

There is no mention of the 'rural' elements of Melbourne 2030 (e.g. Regional Transport Corridors, Green Wedges) in the Terms of Reference.  They instead relate only to the 'urban' elements that are so often erroneously applied in Macedon Ranges.  So much for a rounded look at how the M2030 strategy is, and isn't, working.


State Government Announces "Audit" For Melbourne 2030

(13/6/07 - SP)  Principles won't be changed.  This is just a call for submissions on how it can be better implemented.  That overlooks some basic flaws in Melbourne 2030.

In a press release issued on Monday 11 June 2007 (a public holiday), Minister for Planning Justin Madden has outlined a framework for assessing Melbourne 2030, some 4 years after its introduction.  Unlike previous governmental assurances that this process would review Melbourne 2030, what's now proposed is an audit (?) which won't be looking at whether the principles that underpin 2030 need some adjustment too.  The focus remains on managing growth, not questioning the amount of growth Melbourne 2030 aims to accommodate, and whether that much growth is actually sustainable.  It seems the "stocktake" began last year, and the audit is the second phase. 


Click here to see the Minister's press release.  Go to to see the terms of reference for the 4-person Audit Expert Committee that has been appointed to conduct the audit.  Click here to see the Herald-Sun's take on it yesterday.  Click on to see yesterday's Age take on it.


MRRA Says:


Well, what can we say?  A review downgraded to an audit...  No reassessment of the level of growth... "Key" stakeholders already consulted...   We note that the community doesn't seem to be considered a "key" stakeholder because it wasn't consulted on processes to date - were developers?


As far as Macedon Ranges goes, Melbourne 2030 has been a disaster.  Almost five years on, and we are still waiting for our first glimpse of the Bendigo Regional Transport Corridor Plan.  2030's 'principles' of protecting water catchments and conservation values, and stopping rural residential development, in these corridors may as well not exist because everyone - including the government - ignores them and in any event, there has never been any way of implementing them.  What has happened is the transport corridor has conveniently become a growth corridor, and the high density 'stack and pack' and activity centre objectives - that so many people in Melbourne hate - have been applied to rural towns when they aren't supposed to apply outside metro Melbourne.  Well, we think they aren't supposed to apply, but even that's a grey area - it all depends on who you asked last.


We urge the government reconsider the scope of the overhaul and the extent of community participation being made available.  A lot has changed since Melbourne 2030 was first born and even Blind Freddy can see that the plan in its current form just isn't working - hasn't worked, or hasn't been implemented, or hasn't been finished, or has been dramatically damaging.  So far it has turned out to be not much more than a developer's licence to print money.  Where are the rest of the things that 2030 was supposed to deliver?   It hasn't stopped public land being taken over, nor have we noticed an expanding - and efficient - public transport network.  Where are the 'nuts and bolts' infrastructure improvements, the better amenity?  Are we all happy? 


But perhaps the biggest failing of Melbourne 2030 is that it doesn't have a shred of broad community ownership, because the public justifiably feels 2030 doesn't give two hoots about community, or community values.  The outcomes it is producing have turned the wider population against the plan, against its principles, against the government, against VCAT and against developers and development.  The 'bad taste' the government must also address is the widespread community perception that the government is in bed with developers.  That it's setting the plan up for, and doing deals with, developers, and developers have all the say and reap the only benefits. 


Wouldn't it be worthwhile to check the principles, or the way the principles are being interpreted, before focussing on and limiting public comment to implementation?  At least climate change will be an issue under consideration but growth, and the almost-obscene rate and type of development that Melbourne 2030 has produced, are other issues that need to go under the microscope. 


This is an fantastic opportunity for the government to rethink 2030, particularly the reasons why so many people hate it.  Is Melbourne 2030 realistic, is it truly sustainable, is it balanced, is it feasible and achievable?   There isn't a choice.  It must be - even if that means making changes the government would prefer not to make - because it must be a truly shared vision that has widespread community support.  Otherwise all the government may end up with is a pile of worthless paper and a lot of developer mates.  Growth without glory.  Now that's not sustainable - socially, economically or environmentally - and never will be.


See also Planning Backlash

See also Collingwood Action Group


Save Our Suburbs (Vic):  "VCAT Exposed" and "Implementation and Performance of Melbourne 2030" Features On SOS Website Melbourne

(14/11/06 - P)  The Malvern East Group (MEG) has scoured VCAT records to look at the relationship between different VCAT members and development approvals.  Verrry interesting...

Go to the Save Our Suburbs website:


VCAT Boss Says Suburban Melbourne 2030 Doesn't Apply In Macedon Ranges

(27/2/06 - SP)  Melbourne's 2030 doesn't mean wall-to-wall suburbs between Melbourne and Bendigo!

Justice Stuart Morris, President of VCAT, visited Macedon Ranges last week and gave at least one delicious piece of advice - in his view, the suburban parts of Melbourne 2030 don't apply in Macedon Ranges (i.e. that application of them here would be a perversion).  Hurray!  Can we now look forward to developers no longer pushing Melbourne 2030's suburban standards and activity centre concepts in Macedon Ranges?  Can we expect VCAT to stop it from happening?


MRRA Says:

What a relief it is that at last someone has actually read what it says in Clause 12 (Melbourne 2030) of the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF)!  That is: "This clause applies to Metropolitan Melbourne... The objectives and strategies also influence municipalities beyond Metropolitan Melbourne and should  be taken into account where relevant." [MRRA's emphasis].  Here are the main headings from Clause 12 - which ones do you think are relevant to Macedon Ranges?


A More Compact City (includes Activity Centres)

Better Management of Metropolitan Growth

Networks with the Regional Cities (includes Regional Cities and Rural Residential Development)

A More Prosperous City

A Great Place To Be

A Fairer City

A Greener City (includes protecting Water Catchments)

Better Transport Links



We'd like the State government to clarify - officially - which of these elements applies in Macedon Ranges (and other municipalities outside Metropolitan Melbourne).  The wholesale application of all of them to rural areas - thereby turning rural areas into suburbs - is a key reason why many in rural and regional communities have come to detest Melbourne 2030 and anyone who promotes it.  So, armed with Justice Morris's opinion, here is an excellent opportunity for the State government to provide greater certainty all around.


After all, MRRA remembers that Minister Hulls told us last year when we met with him that Clause 22.01 of Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme, although a local policy, was law, and anyone not implementing that policy was breaking the law.  Clause 22.01 is Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds.  It used to be State policy, but now languishes as local policy.  That policy (law) says:


"Development to be permitted in URBAN (yes, it does apply to our towns) and rural areas must be planned to achieve harmony with the natural environment and to maintain both the generally rural character and high landscape values of the policy area."


Neither Melbourne 2030 nor ResCode are delivering this policy requirement.  Conflicts between what Macedon Ranges needs, and what the government tells us we have to have, are one of the reasons why MRRA asked the State government to help Macedon Ranges.   Making OUR Macedon Ranges policy a STATE policy would be a good start, and a good way of giving Macedon Ranges back some certainty...



Minister For Planning Announces Expansion Of Metro Urban Growth Boundaries Into Green Wedges

(24/11/05 – SP) Hang on… didn’t the Minister tell us Green Wedges were protected, and ergo, so was Macedon Ranges?

The Minister for Planning, Rob Hulls, recently announced a massive expansion of urban (town) boundaries in growth areas in metro Melbourne.  This means the growth boundaries, which are supposed to indicate the extent of growth areas around a town, have been pushed out into Green Wedge land.   The reason we are scratching our heads is that in his press release of 29th April 2005, following his meeting with MRRA, the Minister said: “One of the key priorities of this government is to ensure urban development is kept out of areas of environmental significance and the government’s commitment to initiatives such as urban growth boundaries and the protection of green wedges demonstrates that regions such as the Macedon Ranges are off-limits to intensive development.”    We didn’t believe it then, and we certainly don’t now.


According to the Minister’s press releases:

How Bad Is Melbourne 2030?

(31/8/05 - SP) Find out: have your say and vote on issues on a new community website

MRRA has received notice of a new website set up to gauge public opinion on Melbourne 2030:  Kelvin Param of Glenroy is really using his initiative in establishing a Melbourne 2030 website. The wider we can spread this, this better.  It would be good if you could pass it round your membership and ask them to respond to his questionnaire.  He has in mind to hand some of the results on to Minister Hulls.


We all know how much everybody here ‘loves it’ (Melbourne 2030), so we encourage you to take a look at the site, register and put in your views.  MRRA has notified Mr. Param of its main concerns with Melbourne 2030.  Here’s what we said:


You may be wondering why Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association has an interest in Melbourne 2030.  The answer is: because it’s Melbourne’s strategy (one a lot of people in Melbourne don’t like) and it’s ‘urban elements’ are being applied in a rural Shire.  Not only is Macedon Ranges a rural shire, it’s also an area of State level environmental, landscape and recreation significance.  A lot of our residents are incensed at the amount and type of suburban development occurring here, over which we seem to have no control.  The Association has met with Mary Delahunty (who said the government was committed to protecting Macedon Ranges) and Rob Hulls (who basically told us no money, no help, we’re on our own).


If you think Melbourne 2030 (and ResCode) isn’t working in Melbourne, take a moment to think about its (their) impact in rural areas.  Our ‘charming’ country towns and villages are starting to turn into the worst kind of suburbs with the same type of mindlessly monotonous development Melbournians don’t want.  Our country ‘whistle-stop’ railway stations are being dubbed “activity centres”, and we currently have a five storey proposal on the books in Gisborne (because, of course, Gisborne’s an “activity centre” too, even though it’s not so identified in Melbourne 2030).  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Newham General Store pop up as an activity centre one of these days!


MRRA is affiliated with the Coalition of Groups which is looking to organize a meeting with Minister Hulls to discuss problems with Melbourne 2030.


 We have our own website ( which runs as a news and information site.  We also have a sizable membership and “Keep It Rural” email network through which we issue alerts and news bulletins.  We are 18 months into a “Say NO To Suburbia” campaign, the objective of which is to have State level planning protection re-instated in Macedon Ranges.


Well done, and thank you.