Yarra City Council urges the Victorian Government for more public open space

Yarra City Council

Yarra City Council is disappointed that the Victorian Government has rejected Council’s interim request to increase developer contributions towards creating more public open space which our growing community so urgently needs.

It’s crucial the Victorian Government demonstrates transparency by providing an explanation to our community about why they have made this decision.

The Minister for Planning and Department of Transport and Planning also delayed its decision for more than 16 months, while criticising councils for delaying planning approvals.

In addition, the Independent Planning Panel recommended Yarra Council be granted approval which the Minister then ignored.

The rejection of the interim open space amendment follows concurrent delays with four of Yarra’s other planning scheme amendments, again with no public explanation. The rejection is also perplexing given that Monash and Glen Eira councils had their applications to increase developer contributions approved.

It appears that on one hand, the Minister welcomes the projected growth of Yarra but does not support the required improvements to amenity to accommodate this growth.

More than 85% of Yarra’s population lives in medium or high-density housing, compared with 33% in Greater Melbourne. This means our community relies on public open spaces like parks and gardens for health and wellbeing, recreational and social needs. In addition to this, our worker and visitor populations are growing, especially in Cremorne and Collingwood.

Yarra’s Open Space Strategy clearly identifies the public open space needs of existing and future residents of Yarra, the gaps and the opportunities to address those gaps.

Had the Victorian Government approved our application for an interim contribution rate of 7.4%, Council could have collected more than $2,494,000 to help build the public open spaces our community needs, wants and deserves.

This request for an interim public open space contribution rate was to help fill the gap while Council has been undertaking further strategic work to support a higher amount.

Council is doing everything it can to reduce the barriers to sustainable development. Development refusals in Yarra comprise just over 2.4% of total applications received. This clearly demonstrates Council does not block progress or development approvals.

In this financial year alone, Yarra is responsible for 10.2% per cent (2,212 dwellings in total) of dwelling growth in the Greater Melbourne area. Future projections show the population of Yarra will increase by 37,930 people by 2036, as in the updated Victoria in the Future data.

Over the last 18 months Yarra City Council has been working with the Victorian Government to grow the amount of public open space in our city. We need the State Government to come to the table and support us in providing this much needed public open space.

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