Changes to Plan Melbourne gazetted, adds Suburban Rail Loop and other active projects to city's strategic plan

Changes to Plan Melbourne gazetted, adds Suburban Rail Loop and other active projects to city's strategic plan
Alastair TaylorFebruary 11, 2020

The Suburban Rail Loop corridor now appears on maps in Melbourne's long-term strategic planning document suite Plan Melbourne after amendments to all related planning schemes were gazetted by the Victorian Minister for Planning.

Amendment VC168 as it is known "is required to facilitate the delivery of the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) by the Victorian Government" according to the analytical report published on the 11th of February.

The amendment will allow the SRL to be considered in strategic reviews and planning scheme amendments. This is needed to enable coordinated decision-making regarding land uses and developments that could affect the delivery of the SRL and for identified SRL priority precincts.

The Plan Melbourne 2017-2050: Addendum 2019 (the Addendum) was prepared to update growth projections for Melbourne and identify proposed major infrastructure projects including the SRL. The Victorian Government announced the SRL in 2018 to respond to Melbourne's rapid population growth and public transport network pressures.

Melbourne’s public transport network needs to develop to support the distribution of population and employment in line with Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and the Addendum.

The SRL includes a new orbital rail line connecting major railway lines from the Frankston line to the Werribee line, with a connection to Melbourne Airport. The SRL project includes several new stations and integrated precinct development around these stations.

Amendment VC168 - Explanatory report, page 1

The addendum document includes a few paragraphs on 20-minute neighbourhoods that seeks to tie the principle to various active initiatives. 

The SRL and level crossing removal program currently underway feature prominently and will "ensure that surround communities benefit from the coordinated planning of state and local infrastructure" according to the addendum.

By crystalising the link between Principle 5 - 20-minute neighbourhoods in Plan Melbourne and significant infrastructure investment, the state government has set a high bar in which to measure itself and its future infrastructure initiatives.  Not to mention all future governments should the link remain in place will be in the same boat.

Embedding the 20-minute neighbourhods 'hallmarks' into major infrastructure projects will ensure that there is a coordinated outcomes framework to deliver more inclusive, vibrant and health neighbourhoods as part of all major infrastructure investments.

20 minute neighbourhoods, Plan Melbourne 2017 - 2050 Addendum, 2019, page 9

Priority precincts, a portfolio contained within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, will now be referenced in Plan Melbourne as well.

At the initial creation of the portfolio, Parkville, Arden, Fishermans Bend, Richmond to Docklands and Sunshine were listed as priority precincts. However, now Footscray joins the list that is now a part of Plan Melbourne.

On the Suburban Rail Loop, the addendum notes how the SRL will align with Plan Melbourne policy that requires a precinct-wide approach in planning for new development and investment opportunities on the existing and planning public transport network and also notes how the project will enable "Melbourne to grow in strategic precincts along the project corridor". This is undoubtedly a reference to the National Employment and Innovation Clusters (NEICs) the SRL will service: Monash University/Mulgrave, La Trobe University/Bundoora and Sunshine.  While not designated an NEIC, Deakin University's Burwood campus or the immediate surrounds are set to host an SRL station as well.

All reports and supporting documents can be viewed at

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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