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PostPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 07:26 
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Long-term planning vital to future. with Mark Stone, CEO Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Herald Sun 26/4/2013 p62.

To secure the future prosperity of our state as a place to live work and visit, we must make sure that infrastructure is not developed in isolation, but with an eye to the "bigger picture" of how we want Melbourne, and Victoria as a whole, to look and function into the future.

With this in mind, VECCI recently contributed to the consultation process for the development of the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy.

VECCI has long advocated the importance of a long-term, integrated approach to infrastructure development, which encompasses planning, investment, red-tape reduction, sustainability, industry development and economic growth.

One example of this is our recognition Melbourne's airports will require further capacity investment in coming years, and our call for a state 50-year air services plan, to accommodate Victoria's air services needs when the population is eight to nine million.

The long-running debate in NSW over where Sydney's second airport should be - as their airport moves towards capacity - highlights the need for long-term planning for Melbourne's infrastructure needs, supported by community engagement.

Major projects in our state must be supported by a regulatory framework that provides greater certainty and transparency. To achieve this, VECCI has been advocating for a major projects facilitation act. Modelled on the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act, it would assist in coordinating agencies to achieve timely, logical decisions, as well as progressing the various components of project evaluation, approval andimplementation concurrently, where possible. The improved transparency should help support community engagement and encourage investment and job growth.

The Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy Discussion Paper rightly highlights the importance of engaging all parts of the community to create theideal future Melbourne. What is required is oen communication, engagement and transparency.

Our planning strategy must take account of not only the development of new infrastructure, but also how existing infrastructure can be used to its greatest effect.

Better usage, maintenance and demand management can often result in great improvements in the intensity of use of existing assets at a fraction of the cost of adding additional capacity. The share use of facitlities by different grous will not only improve efficiency, but support improved community integration. However, the need for these things does not stop at the metropolitan boundary. The Interface Council's report One Melbourne or two? estimates almost $10 billion in new or upgraded infrastructure and services will be needed over the next 15 years to close the gap in existing services standards and accommodate projected increases in the population in interface council areas (those that straddle the metropolitan/regional boundary such as the Yarral Valley and Mornington Peninsula).

The success of the Melbourne metropolitan planning strategy will lie in its implementation once the final report has been completed. It must become the central plank for the out state's development.
Meanwhile, while we share the Victorian Premier's view that sound economic and fiscal management is vital, we will be looking to the state budget for an indication about much-needed projects such as the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre extension and progression of the east-west link and Melbourne Metro rail project. End quote.


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