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Key details

Location
Cairnlea

Wurundjeri land

Policy objective
Urban renewal

The final stage of Cairnlea

Cairnlea is a long term project for us, situated 16 km north-west of the Melbourne CBD on the site of the former Albion Explosives Factory - a Commonwealth Department of Defence facility that operated from the early 1940s until the 1980s.

In the 1990s, Development Victoria (then VicUrban) entered into an agreement with the Department of Defence to remediate the site and deliver housing and open space.

Over the last 20 years we successfully transformed it into Cairnlea, a thriving new suburb. Most of the site has been developed, with 3,100 homes, a town centre, and almost a third of the area devoted to public open space and grassland reserves.

We’re now planning for the final stage of Cairnlea, to regenerate the remaining 41 hectares along Cairnlea Drive and Ballarat Road. Our vision is to create more diverse and affordable homes and a network of open spaces, complemented by a variety of neighbourhood services.

To deliver our plan, in mid-2021 we lodged a Planning Scheme Amendment to rezone the site to a Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ). 

Planning Scheme Amendment public exhibition  

A key part of the Planning Scheme Amendment process is the public exhibition phase, which ran for six weeks from the end of February and has recently concluded.

View the exhibition docs and find out more about the next steps

Development Victoria wishes to thank community members who made a submission and also those who attended the online public information session. 

16km from Melbourne CBD

20-minute neighbourhood

1 new local centre

31% open space

Timeline

2020
2021
Mid 2022
  • Public exhibition for Planning Scheme Amendment managed by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Late 2022
  • Late 2022, community engagement led by Development Victoria will commence
Mid 2023
  • Mid 2023, planning and approvals
Late 2023
  • Late 2023, construction is expected to commence

What we are doing

We have lodged a proposed Planning Scheme Amendment to rezone the site to a Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ).

A Planning Scheme Amendment is an independent, statutory process. This Amendment will be managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The community will have an opportunity to provide feedback, through a public exhibition and consultation process.

Delivering diverse and affordable homes

We’re committed to making our state a great place to live - for everyone.

We know that buying a home close to work, school and services is out of reach for many Victorians, particularly in Melbourne. Prices have risen dramatically over several decades, and now people are struggling to break into the housing market or find a rental property that meets their needs. 

That’s why we are developing communities built on diversity, offering homes of varying size and prices to cater for different lifestyles and budgets.

For the final stage of Cairnlea, we’re aiming to deliver a minimum of 25% affordable housing options to create a diverse neighbourhood across age groups, lifestyles and families. 

Find out more about how we’re delivering housing diversity and affordability

Location

The site is bordered by the M80, Ballarat Road and Cairnlea Drive.

Who to contact about this project

To join the Cairnlea project mailing list, email your details to
cairnlea@development.vic.gov.au or call 03 8317 3400.

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Planning vision

The vision for the final stage of Cairnlea is to regenerate the site to deliver a range of homes and a network of open spaces that are complemented by a variety of neighbourhood services. The design will be strongly influenced by forward-thinking and environmentally focused initiatives to help create a vibrant and sustainable community.

Project update

We have lodged a proposed Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) to rezone the site to a Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ).

The amendment will allow the site to be developed to its full potential, with community benefits including a local centre at the heart of the new neighbourhood and more homes at affordable prices.

We will also be able to provide more green spaces with 30% of the site set aside for open space. Gateway Hill will become an iconic public space with a kick-about, water-play space, an amphitheatre a playground at the foot of the hill. Pedestrian pathways will lead to a lookout at the top with views to Mount Dandenong, Mount Cottrell and Melbourne’s CBD.   

The assessment of the proposed PSA is an independent, statutory process run by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

A key part of the PSA process is the public exhibition phase, which ran for six weeks from the end of February and has recently concluded.

View the exhibition docs and find out more about the next steps.

Development Victoria wishes to thank community members who made a submission and also those who attended the online public information session. 

It is proposed that Brimbank City Council will be a recommending referral for these key planning permit applications which means their views will be considered by the Minster for Planning. The Brimbank City Council is an important stakeholder in the Planning Scheme Amendment. We are committed to working closely with Brimbank City Council to ensure their views are considered as part of all future planning permit applications.

Draft Comprehensive Development Plan

Following community engagement in mid-2020, we gained a deeper understanding of what is important to the local community. The findings of the survey have helped inform the preparation of the PSA and will inform future planning and designs for the site. 

The draft Comprehensive Development Plan to the left demonstrates how the site is proposed to be developed, featuring walking and bike paths, residential areas, road reserves, parks and much more.  


Comprehensive Development Zone

Applying for the Comprehensive Development Zone will ensure we can:

  • Relocate the proposed local shopping area away from busy Ballarat Road and into the centre of the new neighbourhood, with a plaza and a flagship playground at Gateway Hill. 
  • Create a ‘mixed-use’ area to allow for a wide range of uses such as cafes, a gym, a local grocery store, a medical centre, small offices, and a ‘learn to swim’ facility, all of which were suggested in community feedback.
  • Deliver more affordable housing options to help address the issue of increasing housing prices in Victoria. This will give young families and first home buyers an opportunity to buy a home in Melbourne’s inner west.
  • Explore the opportunity for us to transform the former Reid Street landfill site into a high-quality, open space facility.


Planning Scheme Amendment public exhibition

A key part of the Planning Scheme Amendment process is the public exhibition phase, which ran for six weeks from the end of February and has recently concluded.

View the exhibition docs and find out more about the next steps

Development Victoria wishes to thank community members who made a submission and also those who attended the online public information session. Download a copy of the Cairnlea Community Information Session Presentation – Planning Scheme Amendment C222 held on 22 March 2022. 

Information session

We ran a virtual community information session on our plans for the Final stage of Cairnlea on Wednesday 8 September.

Download a copy of the presentation here

Community survey

In April 2020 you let us know your views and aspirations for the new neighbourhood through a survey. You can read the summary survey results.

Your feedback – along with a range of technical investigations – has and will be used to help inform preliminary designs for the site. 

Future community engagement

We’re committed to working closely with the community to help shape the new neighbourhood. Following the Planning Scheme Amendment process, we will engage with the community on:

  • Sustainability initiatives
  • Open space design
  • Heritage interpretation
  • Community meeting places and spaces, and
  • Retail and commercial opportunities in the mixed-use area. 

For more information

You can call or email the project team anytime to provide feedback, register for updates or find out more information.

Email: cairnlea@development.vic.gov.au

Phone: 1800 783 668


In the 1990s, Development Victoria, then VicUrban, entered into an agreement with the Commonwealth Department of Defence to acquire, remediate and progressively develop the original Albion Explosives site.

Over the last 20 years, we successfully transformed it into the suburb of Cairnlea. 

Cairnlea has a shopping centre (supermarket plus 33 outlets), a community centre, a recreation reserve, two kindergartens and a primary school.

The first lots were sold in 1999, and by 2012 most had been built on, with the only large vacant areas a proposed business precinct near the Ring Road (now the final stage of Cairnlea) and land reserved for a secondary college.

The Cairnlea master plan was revised in 2013-14 and in response to community feedback, was updated to provide more land for new homes in the final stage of Cairnlea.

In September 2016, the Minister for Planning approved Amendment C120 to the Brimbank Planning Scheme, which rezoned the final stage of Cairnlea for residential use, public open spaces and a small area to facilitate commercial uses. 

What we have delivered in Cairnlea

  • Over 3,100 homes
  • An extensive storm water harvesting and recycling scheme, with the potential to save up to 160,000 kilolitres of potable water per year
  • Regenerated streams and creek systems that support increased bird and aquatic life
  • Remnant grasslands integrated into the design of the estate
  • Boardwalks, parklands and picnic areas
  • Sports grounds
  • Cycling and walking tracks

Awards

  • Cairnlea received the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Land Management in Landscape Architecture award in 2008.
  • The Cairnlea redevelopment demonstrates how an environmentally degraded site can be transformed via land management techniques, and regenerated into a new residential development.
  • Cairnlea was also the site of the Ecohome project, a collaboration between VicUrban, RMIT and Metricon Homes, which aimed to demonstrate the application of environmental principles for individual home owners.

Updated on 08 April 2022