Our plan for the CBD

As we emerge from COVID-19, we can’t continue with the broken politics that rewards pollution and favours donors at the expense of the genuine public good. We need a Council that puts the people of Melbourne first, and we need Councillors who will work with and fight for the people who live here.

Our plan for the CBD in 2020-24

Since the City of Melbourne Act was introduced in 2001, The Greens have been the only councillors who publish policies and keep them published throughout the term of Council. We are serious about transparency and accountability.

Our policies are for a more sustainable, affordable, healthy and prosperous CBD:

  • We will halve rates on the CBD’s cafes, restaurants, bars and cultural venues (those places people gather that have been hit hardest by COVID-19) and provide rate relief to residents. We will pay for this by changing our rating system from NAV to CIV which allows for flexible differential rates to be applied, and doubling the rates on gambling premises for 5 years to help the city as a whole get through the recession. (See our Fair Rates For Everyone policy initiative for details.)
  • We will crack down on illegal late night construction by seeking major reforms to the way construction noise is regulated. (See our Good Night’s Sleep For Everyone policy initiative for details.)
  • We will conduct an acoustic study of the CBD and stop waste truck movements before 7am on residential lanes where sound travels.  (See our Good Night’s Sleep For Everyone policy initiative for details.)
  • We will fast-track organics, recycling and waste options without a new waste charge. The City of Melbourne’s waste rates are far too high; we have a plan to support communities to greatly reduce waste and to recycle what we can. We will partner with local networks that are already working hard on composting and resource recovery. (See our Recycling For Everyone policy initiative.)
  • We will complete the Hoddle Grid Heritage Review that the Greens commissioned. The review was recently expanded to take in 137 buildings and 5 precincts. The review is also the most extensive review of Aboriginal heritage in central Melbourne ever conducted.
  • We will fight for major reform to planning, building and owners corporation law to distinguish between short and long stay accommodation. The root cause of Government’s inability to regulate commercial short stay accommodation is its inability to distinguish in law between types of accommodation, either in planning, building, or owners corporation law. We will fight to legislate for different definitions, so that Government can once again regulate different types of accommodation, and owner-occupiers aren’t subsidising owners of short-stay accommodation units, given the far greater wear and tear, maintenance cost and nuisances caused by the latter. (See our Homes For Everyone policy initiative for details.)
  • Our municipality-wide inclusionary zoning policy will deliver hundreds of new affordable homes in new medium and large developments concentrated in Macaulay. (See our Homes For Everyone policy initiative for details.)
  • We will protect our central city built form controls, see through the adopted urban design controls, and progress new sustainable building design controls to ensure that every new building in Melbourne adds to the quality of our city and provides quality homes.
  • We will build crisis accommodation in Little Bourke Street and maintain record spending on homelessness services. We will seek a ‘housing first’ approach to homelessness and renew the Council’s homelessness policy within the first year of the term.
  • We will work hard to keep Council honest and ethical on all planning and development issues. We never take donations from developers or gambling interests and we will fight for transparency and accountability in the policies and decisions of Council.

Our achievements in the CBD

In the CBD, The Greens have:

  • Proposed and secured a Hoddle Grid Heritage Review, to upgrade 35 years out-of-date heritage controls. This includes a comprehensive study of Aboriginal history within the central city and proposes to add 137 buildings and 5 precincts of buildings to the heritage overlay.
  • Proposed and developed Melbourne Music Week over 10 years.
  • Proposed and achieved the first monument to the frontier wars in any Australian Capital City: Standing by Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner.
  • Established Council’s policy of opposition to the Apple store at Fed Square, and worked with community groups to win the campaign to stop the demolition of the Yarra Building. 
  • Proposed and secured Council’s support for Exhibition Street separated bicycle lanes to stop the high incidence of crashes and dangerous conditions for pedestrians.
  • Secured the acceleration of the Transport Strategy 2030, delivering 10 years of bicycle lanes in 4, through Cr Cathy Oke’s Climate Emergency Declaration response. This brought forward Exhibition Street and William Street works.
  • Championed new design rules for the central city including the CBD, to improve the way new buildings present to the street, shield car parking from view on lower storeys and minimise inactive uses at ground level.
  • Through the Transport Strategy 2030 and years of campaigning, provided the policy basis for the CBD’s little streets to become shared zones with pedestrian priority.
  • Initiated and completed the Guildford and Hardware Lanes heritage review and planning scheme amendment.
  • Led the charge against the State Government’s sell-first plan-later approach in Treasury Square (see The Age).
  • Ensured that the Queen Victoria Market renewal plans respect the heritage and fresh fruit and veg functions of the market. (The Greens established the $20m Trader Support Fund, secured the ‘no development zone’ around the Aboriginal cemetery and changed the renewal plans to ensure that H and I sheds are retained for fruit and veg sales (see pages 13 to 15), and proposed the Market Square Charter.)
  • Proposed and secured new heritage policies to make it harder to demolish the front part of ‘contributory’ graded heritage buildings, while making it easier to ensure that energy-saving infrastructure like solar panels can be built on lower graded buildings.
  • Proposed reinstatement of third party rights for most development in the CBD and, when that was voted down, ensured that CBD residents have access to a more transparent, accessible and accountable register of planning applications.

Vote for a CBD resident

All eight Greens candidates live in the City of Melbourne. We are the only major team that can say that. The City of Melbourne routinely produces a majority of councillors who do not live in the municipality – the only Council in Australia that does this. Council is too far removed from the communities it seeks to represent. To overcome this, vote for local residents with a plan.

Our Lord Mayor candidate Apsara Sabaratnam has lived in the CBD for 19 years.

You can read more about Apsara and our local candidates here.

Read more

The October edition of the CBD News was released on 30 September 2020. Check out the coverage of The Greens’ policy proposals for the CBD, and the paper’s analysis of all candidates, here.

You can see all of our policies in detail here.