Archive:  State Government's Growth Agenda

Last Updated  14/2/09



See also

Growth Rates

Urban Growth Boundary

Development Assessment Committees

Gisborne ODP

Keep Macedon Ranges Rural - Petition

Victoria In Future Population Projections



Shadow Minister For Planning Says "Labor's UGB Lies Exposed"  See also Urban Growth Boundary archive

(10/12/08 - P)  Brumby Government opens the door on another 43,000 hectares of urban sprawl

The Victorian Opposition claims the government is making policy on the run.  Click here to see the Opposition's media release.


MRRA Says:


This is a move that gives a good impression that 'ad hoc' has replaced 'plan' as the cornerstone of planning in Victoria.  The government is now confronted by the consequences of naively driving population growth without planning for it or realistically measuring Victoria's carrying capacity before opening the floodgates. The Labor mantra of 'great place to live, work and raise a family' rings increasingly hollow as conditions for Victorians plummet towards third world, courtesy of too many people too quickly and a complete lack of foresight by those responsible for it.  As Melbourne grinds to a standstill and we look forward to our cup of water a day, hear us when we say: O-V-E-R-P-O-P-U-L-A-T-I-O-N does not S-U-S-T-A-I-N-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y make!


"Dear John":  CanDoBetter Open Letter To Victorian Premier

(10/8/08 - O)  When too much is just enough: a response to Mr. Brumby's announcement that current immigration settings are OK

The Victorian Premier's recent announcement that galloping growth has sent Victoria to the limits of its capacity, but that the current over-the-top growth rate is OK, has provoked a 'face the facts' challenge.  Click here to see James Sinnamon's open letter.


California Has BALLS:  It's Pretty Simple - No Water, No Development!!!

(9/6/08 - E)  Ooohh, would that we did... How soon can Arnie make it to Victoria?

Living here in Victoria (or even Australia), it's difficult to imagine, isn't it, that someone, somewhere, is sufficiently visionary to connect the dots between increasing population/development and increasing water demand/water shortages and come up with "unsustainable". 


According to the New York Times, California already had a 2001 law that requires a 20 year water supply as a condition for building, but it hadn't been invoked until the water supply started drying up.  Things came to a head this week in California where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared an official state-wide drought - so it isn't "business as usual" anymore.  Not only are water suppliers now saying no, so too is local government, and residents are using the 2001 water requirement to object to on-going development.


Click to go to the New York Times article.


MRRA Says:

Perhaps the outstanding observation in the New York Times article is that "lack of sufficient water sources could become a serious threat to economic development in California..."   Wouldn't that be the case elsewhere?  Like Victoria?  Not to mention the "inconvenience" not having water causes to people and plants and animals and farmers!  Don't we need to take another look at the rapidly increasing number of people in Victoria and the as-rapidly dwindling amount of water we have?  Hhmm?   Or is that asking just a little too much...


State Government's New  Growth Agenda For Melbourne Unleashed

(11/3/08 - P)  Can-Do Premier cracks the whip by announcing land releases that should satisfy even the most greedy developers - for now.  But is it a well-considered response that gives Victoria a viable future, or just an economics-driven knee-jerk reaction?

The Victorian Premier last week announced that vast reserves of land, initially held to accommodate Melbourne's greenfields growth until 2030, will now be released all at once and their development fast-tracked.  This will result in some 90,000 new lots becoming available for housing development in outer suburban areas.  A new Urban Growth Zone will be created to allow the land to be subdivided quickly in an attempt to house the massive population increase Melbourne (and Victoria) is experiencing. 


Most recent estimates are that Melbourne's population grows by 1,500 people per week (up 500 per week in the last year), thanks to the government's position of wanting Melbourne to not only be the largest capital city in Australia, but amazingly, bigger than Sydney.  


The Premier's announcement coincided with the public release of the "2007 Urban Development Program Annual Report".  The UDP report is in several parts addressing residential and industrial land use, and is a very large document, with substantial and detailed mapping of areas apparently already ear-marked for development.  A quick look at the residential maps throws up some big surprises, particularly near Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula (where enormous areas of rural land are designated for potential residential); even Croydon Golf Course is slotted for redevelopment! 


You can access and download the UDP report and documentation by clicking on:

but be warned, some of these files are huge. 


You can also find a broad overview of the residential maps on  


Additional to the 90,000 lots anticipated through this 'everything must go' land release announced last week, a government media release also reveals that over 100,000 dwellings are planned for redevelopment sites in established areas, and that there are approximately 239,000 potential lots on residential broad hectare land across metro Melbourne and the growth regions.


Which brings us to the residential tables in Section 4 of the UDP report.  These show a projected requirement for 429,137 dwellings in Metropolitan Melbourne between 2008 and 2022, and another 32,375 dwellings in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula over the same timeframe.  They also seem to indicate that residential development projects over 4 storeys are going to be "popular" - 9 "attached 4+ storey" projects are shown for Maribyrnong, 21 for Darebin, 22 for Moreland, 90 for Melbourne (City), 33 for Port Phillip, 12 for Manningham, 20 for Prahran, 23 for Yarra and 4 for Geelong.  These 4+ storey projects will apparently produce 38,000 dwellings.


Coincidentally, 4+ storeys is the same as the minimum height in the new draft "go-go" residential zone, which also extinguishes residents' rights to know about and object to planning permit applications.


MRRA Says:


It's still early days as far as getting our heads totally around all of this, but the signs aren't looking good!  


Is anybody else getting an image here of Victoria as one of those overloaded ferries that takes everyone down with them when they ultimately sink?


A few questions spring to mind:

One thing's for sure, someone's giving a great impression of setting up a truly ferocious development fest.  And in this regard, it looks more and more as if the new residential zones aren't an accident - their job is to make all of this happen, and they will do it by rubbing out residents rights, and so, neatly get rid of opposition to developers doing whatever they want.  This should be a matter of utmost concern to the (now) millions of people who stand to be disenfranchized if these zones go ahead.


It's probably fair to say, too, that releasing that much land that quickly isn't an action that is usually associated with the principles of good planning, or viewed in glowing terms by history.  Many areas in Victoria are still trying to recover from the same 'opening up the land' mentality/mistakes made in the 1800s - today they are called 'restructure overlays'.  And without the right infrastructure, services, environmental consideration and protections, and community building, this move could end up being a really, really memorable economic, environmental and social disaster. 


No-one in the government seems to have put it together that when a government drives growth, as this one is, there is usually a need to plan for it, and even more fundamentally, to have an understanding of the State's capacity to sustainably absorb population growth before driving it.  Instead, what we've got is a failed and basically now redundant Melbourne 2030 seemingly being overtaken (replaced?) by an Urban Development Program report that to the best of our knowledge hasn't had any community input - and isn't likely to. 


Bay dredging - make up a new EES process; Desal - run an EES while works proceed; Pipelines - no EES; New res zones - rub out residents' rights; Population growth - open-ended and no public debate;  Urban Development Program - implementation without consultation...   Can anyone else see an alarming and unsustainable pattern taking shape here?  Is Victoria still a democracy?


As for the 'mine's bigger than yours' thing with Sydney, it's all so... so... so... well, dare we say it, so penile, isn't it?  Or is that puerile?  Or just slugs and snails and puppy dog tails?  Whatever it is, sounds like there could be something singularly irrelevant behind the thinking on this one - like, who can piss highest up a wall?  Wouldn't you say we've got more important things to worry about?