Council Update on CSIRO Site

20 February 2013

Council Continues Advocacy on Maximising Open Space in CSIRO Site

Bayside City Council has reaffirmed it desire to secure the best possible outcome for the CSIRO site in Highett and to seek regular updates on the sale of the property from both the Federal and the State Governments.

Following a meeting held in Canberra in August 2011 between Council and the Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity, the Honourable Gary Gray AO MP, and a meeting in June 2012 with the Victorian Minister for Planning, The Honourable Mathew Guy MLC,  Minister Gray advised Council that he has asked the State Government to submit a detailed proposal outlining its future plans for the site and for Minister Guy to facilitate further discussions between Council and the CSIRO.

Mayor Stephen Hartney has subsequently written to Minister Guy to follow up his views in relation to the provision of open space at the site and how the Victorian Government may assist in facilitating Council’s objectives.

Council believes that the future development of the CSIRO site has the potential to provide better linkages throughout Highett, provide additional housing, conserve significant Grassy Woodlands vegetation and provide passive recreation open space opportunities.

Council wants four hectares of the site to be protected and restored along with providing open space for passive recreation and is seeking the remainder of the site to be developed for residential purposes in a manner that complements the Highett Activity Centre consistent with the Highett Structure Plan.

The site has an area of approximately 9.5Ha and is considered by Council to be of strategic importance to the City of Bayside.  Amongst other features, the site contains an area of regionally significant Grassy Woodlands - one of the last remaining stands of such vegetation in south east metropolitan Melbourne. 

Council is also advocating for appropriate consultation with the local and wider community to be included as part of the planning process, once a Development Plan is prepared.

Following is a list of some of the CSIRO site stakeholders contacted regularly by Council on this matter
• The Hon Gary Gray AO MP, Commonwealth Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity.
• The Hon Andrew Robb, AO MP, Member for Goldstein, Federal Shadow Minister for Finance and Debt Reduction.
• The Hon Matthew Guy, MLC, State Minister for Planning.
• Senior representatives of the CSIRO and State Government departments.
• Commonwealth Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon Tony Burke MP;
• Commonwealth Minister for Finance and Deregulation, the Hon Penny Wong MP; and
• Senior Commonwealth and State Government departmental representatives.

Background Information

In 2011 the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) advised Council that it intended to dispose of its Highett site as part of consolidating a number of its Victorian sites.

In response to this news, on 29 March 2011 Council resolved to:

1. advocate urgently for the retention of substantial areas, amounting to perhaps three or four hectares, of the CSIRO Highett site to provide for the conservation – as naturally as possible – of the very significant vegetation community and passive recreation, together with appropriate access;

2. be prepared to accept such areas into the Council’s ownership and management;

3. pursue advocacy on this basis, to relevant State and Federal Ministers and Members of Parliament, including through deputations, and to others as appropriate;

4. advocate for the Council to be fully engaged in the determination of the planning controls in relation to the CSIRO site; and

5. receive a further report on this matter at the earliest opportunity, given the possibility of this matter advancing rapidly’

Further to its March resolution, on 3 May 2011 Council resolved to:

1. Advocate for the following planning provisions to be applied to the site as part of the rezoning, consistent with the Highett Structure Plan and Bayside Planning Scheme:

a. Residential 1 Zone (R1Z), with the potential to apply the Public Park and Recreation Zone (PPRZ) to open space and the Public Conservation and Resource Zone (PCRZ) to conservation areas;
b. Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO), Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) and Development Plan Overlay (DPO); and
c. The Development Plan Overlay Schedule will reflect the directions of the Highett Structure Plan and Clause 22.08 Highett Neighbourhood Activity Centre Policy and include prescriptive design guidelines for development form and height, including controls to manage the adjoining residential interface.

2. Advocate for Clause 52.01 of the Bayside Planning Scheme to be amended to require an open space contribution in the order of 3 to 4 hectares of the site pursuant to Council’s previous resolution;

3. Advocate to the Minister for Planning for these Planning Scheme provisions and controls; and

4. in the event that Council receives the open space, a Masterplan is formulated taking into account ;

a. Environmentally sensitive areas
b. Passive areas
c. Active areas.

Page last updated: 20 Feb 2013