The $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan, announced by the Government last December, promised big things for Melbourne. One of the biggest, and most ambitious projects, was the commitment to deliver a Melbourne Metro over two stages, with stage one costing over $4.5 billion.
Turning Melbourne’s radial train network into an underground metro will take time and long-term commitment. But for Melbourne to operate as an efficient, world-class city, it is probably the single most important piece of infrastructure to be touted in decades.
The Property Council believes the delivery of major infrastructure projects is vital to stimulating the Victorian economy. Concept designs have been released for stage one of the Melbourne metro development and the government has called for tenders to deliver the project.
Supporting the delivery of major transport infrastructure, such as the Melbourne metro, is the recently announced Major Transport Projects Facilitation Bill. The government estimates that projects could get underway more than a year early through the establishment of a “one-stop-shop” planning and approvals process.
The Property Council has been briefed by the Government on this Bill and supports the concept of the proposed “one-stop-shop” planning and approval process. The Bill will replace the current approvals regime with a one-stop process that will make Victoria a better place to invest. The aim of the bill will be to provide greater certainty to everyone involved in the approval and delivery of major projects.
There have been concerns raised about the removal of the community’s right to appeal major transport projects as part of this process. It is our understanding though, that the community will still be engaged as part of the consultation process. The major change is the time at which a judicial appeal can be made – only after the Minister has made a final, publicly tabled, decision about
A one-stop-shop approach to planning approvals for major transport projects is in-line with the Property Council’s policy to fast-track planning approvals. If successfulfor major transport infrastructure, we would like to see this approach rolled out across the planning system.
The Victorian Transport Plan is a visionary document that needs to be implemented to ensure Melbourne and Victoria maintains its competitive advantage over our eastern seaboard counterparts. The Property Council is pleased to see the government is acting fast to deliver one of the most important infrastructure projects in Victoria’s history.