The business opportunities in Melbourne’s six new suburbs revealed

In a boon for businesses, the Victorian Government has approved plans for six new suburbs with as many as 100,000 residents expected to move to them over the next 30 years.


The plan to develop Melbourne’s fringes involves development of 37,000 land lots in planned communities that include close to 6,000 hectares of new land.

Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy gave the go-ahead for new communities at Diggers Rest, Lockerbie, Lockerbie North, Manor Lakes, Merrifield West and Rockbank North.

The approval to develop new land is good news for developers holding land on the city’s fringes including Stockland, Mirvac and MAB Corporation.

Merrifield West is a joint venture between MAB Corporation and Gibson Property Corporation and the developers say it will see the “transformation” of over 1,500 hectares into a bustling 24-hour city, creating up to 30,000 jobs and homes for more than 30,000 residents.

At completion, Merrifield is expected to include more than 12,000 homes and a 300 hectare, purpose-built commercial and business precinct with the potential to create up to 30,000 new jobs.

“With Merrifield’s strong strategic location – just 30 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD and with direct access to Melbourne freeway network – we see a large number of jobs for the transport, manufacturing, freight and logistics industries,” said MAB chief operating officer David Hall in a statement released yesterday.

“Merrifield is poised to become Victoria’s new heartland of business activity.”

Stockland is similarly optimistic about its Lockerbie project, which it claims will be the largest greenfield residential project ever undertaken in Victoria, representing a total end value of more than $4 billion.

Stockland will build a new city on the 1,120 hectare site that will be home to 30,000 people over the next 25-30 years. It says the project will create 10,000 direct jobs and a further 15,000 indirect future employment opportunities.

Key infrastructure will include a freeway interchange, train station, a 60 hectare town centre with a regional shopping centre, a new hospital, schools and tertiary education facilities, retirement living, childcare and other community facilities.

Construction will start at the Lockerbie site in 2013, and residents will start moving into their new homes in 2014.

“Lockerbie demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing diverse, sustainable and well-connected communities that are affordable and provide early access to infrastructure, employment, education facilities, transport and services,” Stockland general manager of residential Victoria Andrew Whitson said in a statement issued yesterday.

Stephen Hynes, general manager for Lend Lease communities in Victoria, told SmartCompany that while the developer is not involved in the six new suburbs, it is clear there is plenty of opportunity for businesses in the new developments.

“It is about creating employment that does not have to travel outside the municipality. That is a big focus for us, trying to create as many jobs within so we reduce the burden on public transport and freeways,” says Hynes.

“There is employment created early on in construction. Then the next wave is retail, as retail is a big part of the energy that we need to create in a new community.”

Hynes says the retail development traditionally includes a big anchor supermarket then specialties around this like a Baker’s Delight store, a $2 shop, a butcher and a travel agent.

“That then sparks off having suburban accountants and medical providers, and education is also a big driver.”

He says developers will sometimes provide funds to new businesses to assist in creating a community.

“It takes a bit of effort at the start. We have seeded businesses sometimes at the start, we have put money into schools and jobs creation programs, and I imagine that will go on in these six areas.

“We look at it on a case-by-case basis. One thing we did at Caroline Springs is that when we started off we seeded the local school; we built homes and allowed them to operate in there until we could graduate into more permanent accommodation.

“Other things include landscaping businesses and other employment type opportunities.”


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