19 March 2014 — The Victorian government has announced a plan to unlock under-utilised land from around train stations, in a move it says will create thousands of jobs and provide billions in economic stimulus.
The Station Precinct Enhancement Program will see $1 billion in direct investment to unlock under-utilised government land in order to create better railway stations as well as provide a mix of housing, retail, commercial and public space, Premier Denis Napthine announced on Tuesday.
“The program will deliver a significant economic boost to Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.
“It will create more than 3000 direct project delivery jobs, a further 5000 indirect jobs through construction and the potential to support more than 800 full-time commercial and retail jobs after project completion.”
The 10 sites in the plan include Jewell and Hampton, which have been brought to market; Alphington, which is expected to be released to the development community for expression of interests mid-year; and Essendon, Windsor, West Footscray, Collingwood, East Richmond, Ringwood and Watsonia, which are currently being investigated.
Economic modelling by MacroPlan Dimasi found that the 10 sites could lead to more than $1 billion in investment over the next three to five years, and $5 billion in economic stimulus.
The government said the land earmarked for sale was surplus to transport requirements, and that benefits would be returned to communities in the form of upgraded railway stations and revitalised spaces.
“The Coalition Government will, via a competitive process, release this land for private sector investment and development,” Dr Napthine said.
“The benefits resulting from this program will be felt across a range of communities and sectors – and it is all done without taxpayers footing the bill.”
Victorian transport minister Terry Mulder said the program was part of a comprehensive strategy for transport investment by the Coalition government.
“This program will deliver the right mix of housing, retail, commercial and community spaces located right next to the rail corridor, which will in turn create vibrant, dynamic, liveable and accessible places – places where people want to live,” Mr Mulder said.
Consult Australia welcomed the announcement, saying it was a great example of government working collaboratively to leverage existing assets to deliver jobs and economic opportunities.
“Importantly, this type of transit-oriented development will help deliver best bang for buck for taxpayers, where existing infrastructure and lazy assets will be fully utilised to drive productivity,” Consult Australia chief executive Megan Motto said.
“These will not just be economic benefits, but will improve the amenity and liveability of the surrounding communities for many years to come.
“Governments that sit on existing assets, when these could be used to stimulate new jobs and investment, are simply not serving the best interests of the taxpayer.”