I think some aspects of the Victorian Opposition’s clumsily titled Plan for Planning are doubtful, especially their proposal for ensuring 25 years land supply within Growth Areas and their intention of levying the Growth Areas Infrastructure Charge at the time of development.
But there are also some good ideas that I want to discuss, notably the proposal for a new strategic plan for Melbourne and another for an audit of the infrastructure capacity of the entire metropolitan area.
A new plan for Melbourne would be timely because Melbourne 2030 is misguided, old and tired. It’s been more than ten years since the process of preparing the metropolitan strategy began and eight years since it was published.
A key problem with Melbourne 2030 is that it was misconceived from the get-go. It never worked properly and simply hasn’t delivered on its lofty ambitions.
Its relevance took a serious hit when the projections of future population growth that underpinned its policies were revised upwards. Further, one of its main directions – the primacy of the CBD – was weakened in 2008 when the Government decided to establish six new CBD-type Central Activities Districts in the suburbs.
The objective of locating nearly 70% of all dwelling commencements out to 2030 within the existing suburbs – rising to almost 80% by 2030 – was also abandoned in 2008 and replaced with the much less challenging target of just 53%.
And of course the much vaunted Urban Growth Boundary lasted only a few years before it was breached. The supply of well-located affordable housing that the plan was intended to foster dried up and neither jobs nor housing gravitated to suburban centres on anything like the scale originally envisaged.
The problem with Melbourne 2030 is that it was driven from the outset by ideological posturing rather than logic. Too many of its key directions weren’t supported by data or analysis and the consultation process was largely a sham. Read the rest of this entry »
So now the Victorian Opposition has jumped on the Green’s bandwagon and proposed a new rail line along the Eastern Freeway from Clifton Hill to Doncaster!
Ted Baillieu has made an art form of ‘vagueing’ the details, but this is essentially the same proposal as the Greens put forward last month for linking Doncaster with Victoria Park station.
This is attributed to the absence of both trains and trams in Manningham – the only municipality in Melbourne that doesn’t have at least one of these modes.
The reporter, Clay Lucas, says that only 7% of all trips made by residents of Manningham are by public transport compared to the metropolitan Melbourne average of 9% (actually he said 14% but the VISTA travel survey indicates the correct figure is 9%. Note also that this claim does not appear in the on-line version of The Age).
He is right – public transport does indeed have a lower share of trips in Manningham. In fact VISTA shows its share compares poorly with the neighbouring municipalities of Whitehorse, Banyule and Maroondah, which all have rail lines. In these municipalities, public transport carries 10%, 11% and 7%, respectively, of all trips. Still, there’s not all that much in it – the car dominates in all four.
The journey to work is probably a more pertinent measure of the warrant for a rail line to the CBD as peak period passenger volumes determine the need or otherwise for a mass transit system. Read the rest of this entry »
I have a modest idea for making our major cities more liveable that I’d like to offer to the Premiers and Opposition Leaders of Victoria, NSW and Queensland in the run up to their forthcoming State elections.
The idea could be named something like the Better Neighbours Initiative or it could as easily be titled Considerate Cities or Liveable Cities or something of that ilk. The idea starts with the recognition that living in close proximity within cities imposes stresses on human relations and demands strong remedial action.
Some of the risks associated with cities, like disease, respond to investment in physical infrastructure. But some don’t – they require behavioural approaches.
The main objective is to limit the stress that inconsiderate behaviour, like noise from “hot” cars or audio amplifiers, imposes on residents and neighbours. I’ll focus on noise here, but the ambit of the liveable cities idea could extend to other problems such as taming the speed and behaviour of cars in local streets and activity centres. Read the rest of this entry »
This blog has devoted a fair bit of attention to the proposed Very Fast Train between Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne (here, here and here), wondering what warrant there is to replace one form of public transport with another.
More attention in fact than any of the mainstream papers or denizens of the blogosphere have mustered, as far as I can tell.
So readers might be interested in this article by Gary Johns published in The Australian last week. It’s notable because he conjectures that the VFT might be the price the Government has to pay to secure Green preferences in this year’s Federal election.
Don’t think I agree with his analysis of the Greens mind (this is the former Special Minister of State in the Keating Government, isn’t it?) but I think his sources on the economics of the VFT are impeccable. Here nevertheless is a less-than-complimentary take on Johns. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re pondering who will win the next Federal election, you might want to take note of what the bookies think. According to Pollytics yesterday, the current implied probability of the outcome (derived from the odds offered by the five main betting houses) is 74.4% ALP and 25.6% Coalition. The ALP was 77.9% a month ago. The trend is down for the ALP but they’re still looking damn good. BetFair has the ALP at $1.30 and the Coalition at $4.00.