2 June 2011 – Victoria’s Planning Minister Matthew Guy has announced the establishment of a new Urban Renewal Authority, which will absorb the current VicUrban with no loss of jobs, but with the board disbanded.
Mr Guy said the Coalition Government is delivering on its election commitments to advance urban renewal in areas such as land north of Williamstown Road, south of the West Gate Freeway in Port Melbourne, at Fisherman’s Bend, the remainder of the Docklands precinct and other strategic sites such as Richmond railway station.
“Melbourne has a huge opportunity in delivering urban renewal projects that will benefit our city for many years to come,” Mr Guy said.
“The URA will have a clear mandate to get on with the job of delivering urban change in strategic locations and will be a key part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitments to tackle housing supply and housing affordability.”
Mr Guy said the URA would also focus on regional cities as well as Melbourne, reflecting the focus on regionalisation.
“The URA will have a mandate to look at opportunities in regional Victoria in places like Geelong to ensure that all renewal opportunities are realised,” he said.
The URA’s main aim is to attract private sector investment in strategic locations, which will help to progress development and accommodate population growth.
“The URA will be a self-funding authority with a requirement to manage the strategic planning for urban renewal sites across Melbourne and regional Victoria, and have an initial focus on the transition between current VicUrban projects and the URA’s future activities,” Mr Guy said.
The Victorian Urban Development Authority Amendment (Urban Renewal Authority Victoria) Bill 2011 will see the URA formed from the existing VicUrban staffing structure, but after proclamation it will be governed by a new board.
Property Council relieved its pressure paid off
The Property Council of Australia said it welcomed the creation of the new body, after a long period of lobbying for such an authority to cut red tape and coordinate the myriad of state and local government agencies.
Executive director of the Property Council in Victoria, Jennifer Cunich, said:”The Victorian Government has a responsibility to deliver a world class planning system through coordinated delivery for metropolitan, regional and rural planning decisions. All Victorians deserve better outcomes from our planning system into the future.”
“The establishment of the Urban Renewal Authority to coordinate all areas of planning – tax arrangements, public transport, infrastructure, and infill development – is the missing piece in the planning puzzle.”
“Victoria faces major issues over the next few years and it is hoped the Victorian Government, through initiatives such as the URA will address these issues head on.
“Investing in infrastructure, creating a competitive tax environment and encouraging appropriate development in infill areas are all part of implementing a strategic plan for Melbourne and wider Victoria,” she said.
“To ensure that Victoria maintains its current level of growth and prosperity the Victorian Government needs to adopt a modern, efficient planning and application assessment system.
“The new Urban Renewal Authority should maintain a faciliatory role within the Victorian market and allow industry to do what industry does best – that is to build our communities and our cities,” Ms Cunich said.