04.06.2024Making Plan Victoria count

The Victorian Government, in consultation with the community and stakeholders, will develop and publish a new planning document for Victoria. As the state’s population continues to grow at a rapid pace, the government believes that a plan will help ensure that this growth is leveraged to support ongoing prosperity, fairness and sustainability.

The new plan – Plan Victoria – comes at a crucial time for Melbourne. The city’s population has surpassed 5 million residents and is forecast to grow to approximately 9 million by mid-century, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the OECD. With the freight task and visitor arrivals also rising steadily, pressure is increasing on infrastructure, services, amenities and the environment.

The Committee commends the Victorian Government for its response to this challenge, coordinating an unprecedented number of transport and housing projects as part of its Big Build and Big Housing Build programs. However, the Committee’s annual Benchmarking Melbourne reports highlight that Melbourne’s performance on metrics relating to future economy, infrastructure and sustainability, and liveability and urban optimisation, is being put under pressure as Melbourne grows.

This year’s report – Benchmarking Melbourne 2024 – shows that Melbourne is sprawling faster than its peer cities and its footprint makes it the fourth largest city amongst that group. This low-density expansion is contributing to various problems, including inefficient resource allocation, housing shortages, congestion, as well as insufficient public transport in outer and growth areas, making it difficult for some residents to access services, job opportunities and amenities.

Plan Victoria presents an opportunity to create an aspirational vision for Melbourne and Victoria, and address each of these challenges holistically. However, historically plans have not always delivered for Melbourne. Since the 1960s, metropolitan planning documents have emphasised the importance of containing the urban growth boundary and consolidating Melbourne. Yet Melbourne has continued to expand outwards. There are various contributing reasons but ultimately, the city and state would benefit from a governance and implementation framework that supports the design and delivery of a comprehensive plan.

For Plan Victoria to be designed and implemented in a way that supports long-term growth and prosperity, it needs to be a comprehensive plan, with timeframes and accountabilities, which is endorsed by a respected team of independent planning experts. Crucially, a governance framework is needed that supports its delivery and which can withstand proposed changes that might not meet the long-term goals.

The Committee will make a submission to the Plan Victoria consultation later this year.


Aerial view of houses in the Melbourne suburb of Preston Victoria on a summers day. The city of Melbourne can be seen in the distance. Thank you to NorthLink for this photograph.

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