Artist's impression of Plummer Street in the Wirraway precinct.

Open space within 200 metres of all residents, 80 per cent active travel and green buildings have been named as key ambitions of the Fishermans Bend urban renewal project, a final vision document released by the Victorian Government this week has revealed.

The 485-hectare area near Melbourne’s CBD is set to be the largest urban transformation in Australia, with expectations it will be home to 80,000 residents and 60,000 workers by 2050. The plan for the area, however, has suffered setbacks following the former Liberal Government’s vision for the area being scrapped due to poor regard for sustainability and amenity.

Fishermans Bend is set to be home to 80,000 people

The new vision, created by the Fishermans Bend Taskforce, responds to feedback on the government’s Recast Vision document, with consultation revealing public desire for the area to be a world leader on innovation and sustainability.

“The overarching vision for Fishermans Bend now reflects the opportunity to set new benchmarks for inner city urban renewal and the importance of connectivity within Fishermans Bend and to neighbouring areas,” the vision document says.

Key sustainability targets include:

  • Open space within 200 metres walking distance for all residents and workers
  • 80 per cent of transport movements to be made by public transport, walking or cycling
  • an integrated transport strategy including cycle paths, tram lines and an underground rail line
  • diverse and affordable housing opportunities

As previously announced, the planning framework will be developed using the Green Star – Communities tool. Design guidance will also ensure site responsive and sustainable development.

Artist’s impression of Ingles Street, Sandridge

Cars last in future precincts

On transport, a hierarchy puts cars as the least encouraged form of travel, with walking the first choice for getting around, followed by cycling and public transport. Just one in five trips is expected to be made by car.

Local shops and parks are set to be within a five-minute walk, while education, community, cultural, leisure and recreation services to be within a 10-minute walk.

“Fishermans Bend is a golden opportunity for Melbourne and Victoria where we can create an inclusive, creative, sustainable neighbourhood that our city needs to remain marvellous – and inspire and inform future developments across the state,” Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne said.

Value capture could fund infrastructure

The ambition of the project calls into question how the transport infrastructure will be funded, with the plan pointing to value capture as a possible source.

“Some of the considerations will be developer contributions; state, local and federal funding; investigating value capture opportunities, as well as identifying innovative funding models to deliver our public infrastructure,” the vision says.

However, a report released last week by the UNSW Business School’s Nigel Stapledon and Kevin Fox for the Urban Taskforce has warned that value capture isn’t a “magic pudding”.

“The key message that comes from this report is that a holistic approach to infrastructure funding is needed,” Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said. “Currently, there is major confusion from the many different local, state and federal government agencies pursuing so called ‘value capture’ policies.”

The report recommends a broad-based land tax as the fairest, most equitable way of raising funds for infrastructure development.

A map of the new precincts

Sustainability in detail

Though targets are still being finalised, Fishermans Bend sustainability will be based on eight goals:

  • An inclusive and healthy community: Fishermans Bend will be a community for people of all ages and backgrounds. It will provide a range of dwelling options for all types of households, including families.
  • A prosperous community: Planning will support diverse employment and education opportunities across all precincts.
  • A low carbon community: Greenhouse gas emissions will be minimised through energy-efficient design, construction and operation of buildings, renewable energy generation, energy storage and significant reductions in the use of private cars. Integrated and smart management of energy within precincts and large sites will improve energy efficiency outcomes for Fishermans Bend.
  • A water sensitive community: Potable water use will be minimised in Fishermans Bend. Buildings and public spaces will use recycled water and rainwater for non-potable uses, such as toilet flushing and irrigation. An integrated water recycling facility will be developed to supply the third-pipe network. Stormwater detention will be provided within buildings. Landscapes will be designed to incorporate water sensitive urban design principles to improve water quality and manage flooding.
  • A climate adept community: As Melbourne experiences the impacts of climate change, it will be important for Fishermans Bend to be resilient to extreme weather events – including flooding, drought, heatwaves and storm surges associated with sea level rise. In the future, the urban heat island effect will be lower than that experienced in other areas of the city and in Fishermans Bend today.
  • A connected and liveable community: People will be connected through integrated walking, cycling and public transport links, as well as high-speed data networks. A walkable street network, safe and connected cycle routes, trams and a train line will make choosing sustainable transport options easy. Activity centres will be located near public transport, community services and public spaces to ensure that people can access their daily needs close to where they live and work. Less than one in five trips will be made by private car.
  • A low waste community: Recycling will be maximised and waste to landfill reduced. Waste management systems will divert organic waste from landfills. Construction and demolition waste recycling opportunities will be maximised through reuse and recovery of building materials. Opportunities for advanced resource recovery (such as energy from waste) will be investigated, as will local, place-based waste solutions. Building design guidelines will support increased rates of recycling and diversion from landfill through best practice design and operation.
  • A biodiverse community: Biodiversity will be supported in Fishermans Bend. Public spaces and buildings will create habitat opportunities for indigenous ora and fauna. This will be achieved through appropriate planting in streets and parks, as well as the use of green walls and roofs on buildings. Green links will be established to link Fishermans Bend to surrounding areas of biodiversity.

The vision will act as a guiding document to deliver the urban renewal project, while a more detailed Fishermans Bend Framework is in development.

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  1. I don’t think it is fair to say ‘cars lose’.

    These plans, if fulfilled, will see more people walking and using public transport. This sees less cars on the road so less congestion.

    I say ‘cars win’!

  2. That doesn’t look like a street people will enjoy walking along.

    The buildings are too big and too widely separated and there’s not enough activity at ground level.

    All they actually need to do is copy somewhere like Prahan. But no, try to reinvent the wheel every time.