Development Victoria

Docklands planning process

Development Victoria’s role

In 1991, the Docklands Authority (now Development Victoria) was established to oversee the renewal of Docklands. Its task was to create a waterfront development that would extend the western edge of Melbourne’s central business district, enhancing its connection with the waterfront.

After a period of extensive consultation with the community and key stakeholders, a plan for Docklands was released in 1995.

Development Victoria is now responsible for administering Development Agreements and coordinating the development of Docklands through strong partnerships with private developers, state government authorities and the City of Melbourne.

Development Victoria has been responsible for driving an investment of $50 million from the private sector for every $1 million in public investment.

The delivery and management of Docklands is a partnership between:

Development Victoria

  • Development Victoria is a Referral Authority for all planning applications under the Melbourne Planning Scheme
  • Development Victoria is responsible for coordinating the development of Docklands, administering precinct Development Agreements and managing development in partnership with the private sector

The Minister for Planning

  • The Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority for issuing planning permits for development above 25,000m2 gross floor area

City of Melbourne

  • The City of Melbourne is the Responsible Authority for issuing planning permits for development less than 25,000m2 gross floor area
  • The City of Melbourne is the Municipal Authority responsible for all services including the developed public realm 

Development approach 

Selling the land

1. Generally, through a competitive bid process, Development Victoria sells the right to develop land in Docklands to developers.


2. At the time of sale, the developer and Development Victoria enter into a binding contract (known as a Development Agreement) that outlines how and when the land will be developed.

3. A key component of the Development Agreement is a master plan, which is agreed between Development Victoria and the developer. All subsequent development of the land must be in accordance with the agreed master plan.

Planning the land

4. Land is generally developed on an individual building basis in response to market demand.

5. Prior to commencing development, the developer must submit a detailed planning submission to the Department of Planning and Community Development. Statutory planning approval is granted by the Minister for Planning or the City of Melbourne as the Responsible Authority for Docklands.

6. All commercial development in Docklands must meet minimum performance standards according to the Melbourne Docklands Ecologically Sustainable Development Guide (ESD). The Green Building Council of Australia has become the benchmark by which a building’s environmental features are rated.

Developing the land

7. Land ownership is transferred from Development Victoria to the developer once a number of conditions have been met.

8. Upon receiving the title to a parcel of land, the developer can begin construction.

Upon completion

9. At the completion of construction, Development Victoria and the City of Melbourne certify that development is complete to agreed design standards.

10. As the responsible authority, the City of Melbourne receives all rates from completed development and maintains the public realm.