Strategic and statutory planning policies in Melbourne require urgent reform if we are to keep Melbourne liveable, sustainable and beautiful for current and future generations. Green open space, well-designed and affordable housing, heritage protection, energy efficient design and community engagement in planning issues are priorities for the Melbourne City Council.



  1. The planning of Melbourne should stimulate prosperity, harmony, sustainability, equity, and social justice in all elements of its development. Individual interest, community interest and intergenerational interest must be transparently accounted for.
  2. Planning should primarily focus on and emphasise quality of design. All three pillars of sustainability – social, environmental and financial – require attention.
  3. Melbourne City Council has the responsibility to identify areas of urban renewal and growth within its boundaries, whilst maintaining the amenity and liveability of existing residential areas and protecting heritage, accessibility and neighbourhood character.
  4. The priorities for planning for liveable inner Melbourne communities include: the delivery of quality public open space, public transport, and basic services infrastructure such as schools, health and childcare facilities, and affordable housing.
  5. Planning controls and policies need to be designed with fair, accessible and extensive community engagement, and communities’ needs and advice must be seriously considered.



Planning for future communities

  1. Require that planned new and significantly altered communities, such as E-gate, Fisherman’s Bend, and other Structure Plan areas, include appropriate public transport and services infrastructure such as schools and community centres, affordable housing and a mix of other housing models and types. These plans should also include significant private, shared and public open space, best-practice waste management, and require leading energy efficient design and management to be demonstrably embedded in the projects at the scale of buildings and precincts.
  2. Lobby for major reform of development contribution arrangements to allow government to capture a fair proportion of the uplift in property values for the purposes of building necessary new community infrastructure, and improving existing infrastructure.
  3. Facilitating a consensus between the City of Melbourne and the State Government on planning for demographic changes through the establishment of mechanisms which seek to avoid contradictory policies.
  4. Lobby for the establishment of a new body to oversee metropolitan-wide transport, land use and infrastructure planning responsibilities, with a governing body that includes elected representatives.
  5. Inclusive and consultative community-owned structure plans for each part of the City of Melbourne.
  6. Embed International Association for Public Participation principles in all strategic planning projects, to more genuinely engage with residents and ratepayers on planning for growth.

Addressing housing affordability

  1. Address the affordable housing crisis by requiring at least fifteen per cent of dwellings in all new medium to large scale residential developments in declared urban renewal areas to be affordable units.
  2. Include affordable housing units in developments on Council owned land.
  3. Remove barriers to affordability where appropriate and effective, including by reviewing off street car parking and other provisions within planning instruments.
  4. Introduce a differential rate for vacant and unoccupied land at 200 per cent of the non-residential rate, and use this additional revenue to directly fund housing affordability projects.
  5. Lobby for Victorian legislation for rent control and stronger rights for tenants.

Planning an eco-city

  1. Ensure sufficient and quality sunlit green open space for current and future populations through levying development contributions, with much higher levies in areas where government has caused an uplift in land values, to acquire and improve land for conversion to parks.
  2. Protecting solar access to public open space and keeping our city pedestrian-friendly through stronger local policies in the Melbourne Planning Scheme.
  3. Strongly support Council’s target of 40 per cent tree canopy by 2040 through measures such as underground power-lines, reducing the number of tree removals as a result of developments, and incorporating urban greening mechanisms into building design.
  4. The systematic and innovative provision of incentives for climate change mitigation and adaptation in new and existing development.
  5. Encourage, and allocate space for, community gardens.
  6. Review planning policies to encourage lower energy options including in properties under owners corporations. This would include allowing passive clothes drying, and retrofitting solar power, energy efficient lighting and insulation.

Retaining Melbourne’s human scale

  1. Maintain central Melbourne’s famous fine grain and human scale built form through the application of strong Melbourne Planning Scheme setback, heritage, streetfront activation and design provisions.
  2. Ensuring that pedestrians’ free access to footpaths and kerb sides is not unreasonably restricted by exclusive commercial use, and that the commercial uses are appropriate and well managed.
  3. Work with private land owners to encourage public use of land where appropriate, and to facilitate through-block pedestrian links.
  4. Encourage pedestrian permeability between and within mixed use developments.
  5. Resist the reduction of active street frontage in established areas.

High quality urban design

  1. The reintroduction of preferred plot ratio limits in the central city as well as urban renewal areas, above which developments may only be approved with significant community benefits being quantified and agreed to.[1]
  2. The strengthening of tower separation rules in the central city to ensure fair solar access and outlook for all.
  3. Trial architect peer review of inner city tower designs, to improve the quality of homes in the inner city.
  4. Encourage energy efficient and liveable building design features to world’s best practice.
  5. Hold competitions where feasible for best practice urban planning for major sites.
  6. A significant increase in the inspections of the city’s high-risk buildings to ensure compliance with building laws.

Protecting heritage

  1. An urgent and comprehensive review of the heritage status of the central city’s buildings, starting with the Southbank, Guildford Lane, Hardware Lane, Elizabeth Street (Latrobe) and Bourke Street (Russell) precincts.
  2. Incentives and funding options for the documentation and preservation of important heritage buildings, infrastructure and streetscapes, both listed and unlisted.
  3. An urgent study and planning scheme integration of the City’s post World War Two heritage buildings.
  4. A review of the City’s heritage policies to place stronger emphasis on heritage buildings and facades outside intact heritage streetscapes as outlying indicators of history.
  5. Reduce barriers to including Environmental Sustainable Design features on heritage buildings.

Accessible, fair and accountable processes        

  1. Lobby the State Government for an outright ban of donations to Councillors and Council candidates from property developers, construction companies and related design and consulting service providers.
  2. Reinstate property owners’ and occupiers’ rights to notice, objection and appeal of planning applications inside the Capital City and Docklands Zones.
  3. An increase in staffing capacity of the city’s strategic and statutory planning functions to improve the timing, consistency and quality of service to developers, objectors and residents.
  4. Lobby for the transfer of control over developments in excess of 25,000 square metres from the State Planning Minister to Melbourne City Council.


[1] Since the endorsement of this policy, the State Planning Minister has introduced plot ratios as part of the Central City Built Form Review.