WILL COVID 19 CHANGE THE WAY MELBOURNIANS LIVE AND WORK?
BRENDAN COATES, JANET BOLITHO, BERNADENE VOSS, DAVID WESTON
30 SEPTEMBER 2020
The panellists in yesterday’s Q& A Webinar on Fishermans Bend agreed that it is time to shine the spotlight again on Fishermans Bend. There is a Plan, The Fishermans Bend Framework. What is now required is implementation, especially investment if the area is going to achieve its promise for new residents and jobs.
After a rocky start with some questionable developments there are now more promising signs with recent Government approvals capping the size and nature of residential developments and aligning more closely with the expectations of the Framework with respect to urban design, internal and external amenity. The importance of public transport, particularly a tram, through to the CBD was stressed.
Brendan Coates, Program Director, the Grattan Institute pointed to the early COVID period data that suggest, at least in the short term, we will see impacts on Melbourne that will have some effects on Fishermans Bend: population growth in free fall, no international visitors, no new international students, no vaccine, new ways of working – people have experienced working from home and many like it, especially young families. The latter may translate into a preference for 3 bedrooms rather than one/two-bedroom apartments and a lesser demand for office accommodation.
However, given the emerging data whether the current assumptions underpinning the Fishermans Bend planning framework hold up is yet to be seen.
The need for assertive and energetic governance of the Fishermans Bend project was highlighted if the potential of the area is to be realised and much more energetic engagement with the project is needed to maintain public confidence.
Of paramount importance is funding, Governments – Federal, State, and local need to step up and invest and if there are changes to the underlying planning assumptions, then new ways of developer contributions should be considered.
The long-term impact of COVD 19 may well be positive. Australia’s success in dealing with COVID may attract people here.
Perhaps we can revisit Fishermans Bend in 2021? The conversation goes on . . .
To view the recording of the seminar, click HERE.
Report by Pam Caven.