Planning Minister Matthew Guy has removed limits placed on job creation at suburban shopping centres as the final part of major planning reforms to Commercial Zones. Mr Guy explained that a cap on commercial floorspace was ultimately a cap on jobs.

A key element of Plan Melbourne and 20-minute neighbourhoods is to have more jobs located in the suburban areas of Melbourne, closer to more people. The latest action concludes the biggest reforms to commercial and retail planning anywhere in Australia. According to Mr Guy, Victoria has without doubt the most competitive planning system of any state, making it an attractive location for new investment. The latest reforms are expected to bring more jobs to the state.

A key element of the 2013 planning zone reforms was the removal of limits on retail and office floorspace for shopping centres and commercial precincts in metropolitan Melbourne. While most of these limits were removed in July 2013, the latest amendment GC6 will now remove the remaining floorspace limits from locations in 22 metropolitan local government areas.

Major centres to have floorspace limits removed include Westfield Doncaster, Highpoint, Campbellfield Plaza, Dandenong Plaza, Forest Hill Chase and Victoria Gardens.

Limitations on new office space at key sites in the Monash Employment Cluster will also be removed, driving job growth in Melbourne’s second largest jobs precinct. Future expansion to these centres will still need to comply with planning rules on important issues such as car parking provision, traffic, landscaping and height limits.

The Reformed Commercial Zones were based on recommendations of the 2011 Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee and the 2011 Productivity Commission inquiry into the Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry.

Key elements of the reforms include a consolidation of five complicated Business Zones into just two easy-to-understand Commercial Zones, broadening the range of land uses that do not require a permit, facilitating greater retail competition by allowing easy location of new supermarkets, and permitting more office space in industrial precincts.