ALP unveil planning-related policies including banning embedded networks in new apartment developments

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The Victorian Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, has announced an election policy that would see embedded networks banned from new Victorian apartment developments should the Andrews Government be re-elected in November.

Exemptions to the ban will apply if a micro-grid powered by renewable energy is added to the building. Other policies outlined by the Planning Minister include:

Increasing apartment setbacks from neighbouring properties to improve privacy, natural light, airflow and to stop streets being turned into cold, dark wind tunnels

Introducing minimum green space standards 

Ensuring apartment exteriors are made from natural, durable and safe materials, such as brick, timber, concrete, metal, stone or non-combustible cladding 

Putting in place mandatory construction management plans to put an end to residents being disturbed by noise from construction workers or rubbish removalists outside reasonable hours.

ALP media release

The Planning Minister also announced $4 million will be set aside for architecture practices operating in the state to work with the State Architect in order to produce better apartment blueprints "that support the building of developments that become world-leaders in design, sustainability and liveability."

The latest policy announcements in the planning sphere arrive soon after the Planning Minister approved interim heritage controls for the City of Melbourne.

Heritage protections will cover 65 individual sites, two group listings and nine precincts that include the likes of Flinders Lane East, Drewery Lane, Swiss Club of Victoria and the former Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board building.

Interim controls will remain in place while the City of Melbourne conducts its most extensive heritage audit since the 1990s at which point, after the review, it is expected the heritage controls - subject to the review - will become permanent.

What is an embedded network?

They are pieces of utility infrastructure which can encompass electricity distribution, internet provision and gas distribution to individual apartments in a building. 

Typically, a developer signs a contract with an embedded network provider to install the infrastructure (i.e fibre to every apartment for high-speed internet) and in return, the embedded network provider gains a captive market where all tenants or landlords in an apartment building must use the embedded network provider for retail services.

In another example, if an embedded network provider is present in an apartment building for electricity distribution/provision, all tenants or owner-occupiers in that building are unable to take advantage of electricity retail competition as they are forced to use the retail services provided by the embedded network provider.

The ALP and Liberals are launching their official election campaigns on Sunday.

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1 comment

Geoff's picture
Having had several projects with embedded networks, i can confirm the government has no idea how they work. Apartment owners can leave the network if they wish at no cost to them when using the right embedded network company.
At a time when electricity & gas prices are skyrocketing and the government can't control it, the one guaranteed way consumers have to get better rates is to negotiate as a group which the embedded networks allows the body corporate to do.
Yes, developers were getting payments for signing up to them in the past, but there is now a law in place to stop this form happening, they are now primarily being installed to reduce the running costs of buildings.
The only changes the government needs to make is to ensure all embedded network suppliers allow owners/consumers to leave whenever they want at no cost.
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