TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is for the Minister for Planning.
Can the minister advise the house of what action the Brumby Labor government is
taking to secure housing supply in Greater Geelong?
J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) — I welcome the member’s interest in
all these matters. One of the great stories of the Bracks and Brumby Labor
governments has been regional growth. We have seen not only growth in Melbourne
but also — what is often lost, particularly on the opposition — growth in
regional Victoria. We have seen enormous growth, and that has been reflected in
the growth in Victoria’s provincial cities. No greater story has been than that
of the Greater Geelong area.
Honourable members interjecting.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — We hear the squeaking on the other side of
the chamber, but when you think about it you realise that for the first time
ever what we have is a fast train and a dual-lane highway to the regional
centres. Never before has it been better to live in these regional centres.
The infrastructure, the livability, the affordability, the
lifestyle — all these things complement growth in regional Victoria,
particularly in those provincial centres.
In Geelong in particular such is the growth that there is
increased housing demand, and we need to provide for greater housing options. As
part of that, in November 2008 I approved amendments to the Greater Geelong
planning scheme to introduce the Armstrong Creek growth plan and urban growth
zone. That is about fast-tracking the development of the Armstrong Creek growth
corridor to see 2500 hectares of development take place on the land down there
and, in particular, to provide in the order of 22 000 homes for an estimated 54
000 people to live in those areas — and the jobs that go with it.
It is lost on the opposition that, in partnership with the City
of Greater Geelong and working with the Geelong planning working group over the
last two years, we have been able to push ahead with this development. This work
reached a major milestone last week when I agreed to become the planning
authority for the preparation of amendments to allow for the development of the
Armstrong Creek east precinct in particular and the north-east industrial
This is about clearing a path for in the order of $3 billion
worth of development and the potential to create thousands upon thousands of
jobs. These precinct structure plans will set up the master planning. There will
be targeted consultation across affected landowners and relevant agencies to
make sure that these precinct structure plans are finalised, we would
anticipate, by the middle of next year.
I quote the mayor, John Mitchell, who last week said:
- The minister’s decision to appoint an advisory committee will facilitate the
prompt processing of planning scheme amendments for the first two precincts
(and) certainly gives us confidence that the government is willing to assist in
getting this up and running as soon as possible.
I also quote, similarly, Brian Welch, the executive director of
the Master Builders Association of Victoria. He said:
- This decision will add to Geelong’s local housing supply and help secure
jobs for local building industry …
- It will also ease housing price rises, which will make local homes more
affordable for young families.
That is the sort of endorsement that comes with the great
partnership this government is undertaking with local government and industry. I
look forward to seeing more developments in this space, not only at Armstrong
Creek but around our provincial centres, to complement the growth that we are
seeing in the Greater Melbourne area. I look forward to making all these centres
and all of Victoria, the best place to live, work and raise a family.