TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is for the Minister for Planning,
Justin Madden. Geelong is an important regional centre to the state of Victoria
and is experiencing significant levels of population growth. Can the minister
advise the house of the Brumby Labor government’s actions to make sure Geelong
accommodates this growth in a sustainable and responsible way?
J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) — I welcome Ms Tierney’s interest in
this matter. I know she is very enthusiastic about the announcement the Premier
and I made quite recently. It was a particularly important announcement for the
Geelong region, and not only Geelong but also other areas of Victoria which rely
so heavily on Geelong as a major centre. I had the good fortune, with the
Premier, John Brumby, to announce the major, in a sense master, plan for the
Armstrong Creek development on the other side of Geelong.
This is a great announcement, because we have confirmed that
the urban growth plan has been approved. As well as that, the Premier announced
that we will apply what is known as the urban growth zone at Armstrong Creek,
which is the first time this has happened in regional Victoria. This will assist
in ensuring that land is brought to market more quickly. When you can bring land
to market more quickly rather than have a cumbersome approach to the way it is
rezoned, that ensures that the price of the land and the holding costs come
down. We also know that when developers have to hold onto land for much longer
than they would like, often that cost is passed on to the consumer. In this case
we believe this will assist with affordability, the diversity of housing and in
housing choice right across the board.
We have seen enormous growth, enormous development in Geelong.
We will continue to see that growth.
On the basis of yesterday’s Victoria in the Future figures, we
will also see that growth spread right across regional Victoria, but we are
seeing a lot of it concentrated not only in the major centres of Melbourne and
Geelong but also on the periphery of those centres.
This is a great announcement for the locals. Why would you not
want to live in the likes of an Armstrong Creek area? I know there are members
of this chamber who live in close proximity to it. You are close to central
Geelong with the services, you are close to the western parts of Victoria so you
have all those choices in terms of lifestyle and friends, and you have also got
great surf down there. Looking at the other side of the chamber, I do not think
there are too many surfers on that side — they do a different sort of surfing.
However, if you live in that part of the world or you want to take up the
opportunity to live in that part of the world, it is a great lifestyle choice.
It is accessible to services, major centres and major transport routes.
This is a great announcement. It will be a great buffer for
those looking to acquire affordable housing in the region.
The good news does not stop there. Armstrong Creek will
accommodate of the order of 50 000 people. That is about 20 000 jobs and of the
order of 20 000 households. We look forward to seeing this new suburb developed.
We look forward to seeing it add to the vibrancy and economic prosperity of the
region to make sure that we continue to make not only Geelong
but Victoria the best place to live, work and
raise a family.