The Melbourne 2030 Councillor Reference provides a forum for councillors to discuss issues in relation to Melbourne 2030 and urban planning. Today’s meeting focused on Melbourne 2030 and the five-year review process with Halvard Dalheim, from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) discussing the audit process of the strategy.
The audit, which is due to be completed by the end of 2007, will focus on the implementation of Melbourne 2030 and will compare reality with the aspirations of Melbourne 2030. In an encouraging sign, it was mentioned that policy gaps would be examined which should hopefully identify the lack of integration between transport and planning.
While it is often claimed that Melbourne 2030 provides a ‘whole of government approach’ reality has shown this to be untrue. The Department of Treasury and Finance has continually refused to sign off on the goals expressed in Melbourne 2030 and issues such as transport still fail to be viewed in a holistic manner.
The Government’s recently released Transport and Liveability Statement, known as Meeting Our Transport Challenges is a classic example of the ongoing disconnect between transport and planning. While Melbourne 2030 expressly includes the goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by 2020, the Government’s long-term transport statement fails to acknowledge this goal or even allow benchmarking against it.
Key reference groups for Melbourne 2030, including advisory groups hand picked by the State Government, have cited the poor integration between transport and land use planning as a key barrier to ensuring the holistic implementation of this framework for urban planning.
Melbourne 2030 will continue to flounder unless the State Government coordinates land use and planning and provides a fully funded implementation plan that extends much needed infrastructure to public transport poor suburbs. Unfortunately the recent move to split the Transport Portfolio into separate road and public transport ministerial positions provides little confidence that such integration will occur.
Through the Transport and Liveability Statement the State Government committed itself to creating the position of Coordinator General for Infrastructure “to improve whole of government coordination of transport and land use planning and policy.” (Source: Meeting Our Transport Challenges, 2006).
Unfortunately the Coordinator General has no reporting channels within the DSE (Planning) organisational chart and still needs to wade through the management structure of the DOI.
By contrast VicRoads maintains its unimpeded direct access to the Minister, the newly designated Roads and Ports Minister, Tim Pallas.
Lynne Kosky, as Minister for Public Transport is still new within the portfolio. It is yet to be seen whether she will address the shortcoming in Melbourne’s public transport planning and provision. It is also yet to be seen whether Justin Madden, the new Minister for Public Transport will rectify the lack of integration between transport and land use planning through the audit of Melbourne 2030.
The future of Melbourne depends on the actions of these two Ministers. Another seven years of rhetoric and inaction cannot be tolerated.