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Key details


Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country

Policy objective
Urban renewal

The final stage of Cairnlea

Cairnlea is a long-term project for Development Victoria, 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 the site into Cairnlea, a thriving award-winning 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). The Planning Scheme Amendment was referred by the Minister for Planning to the Government Land Standing Advisory Committee for review.

The Committee ran a 12-day Public Hearing in June 2022 and has prepared a report for the Planning Minister to consider.

We would like to thank everyone who presented to the Committee and those who provided a written submission for consideration during the process. We will keep you updated as the process progresses. 

16km from Melbourne CBD

20-minute neighbourhood principles

Affordable housing options

Green open spaces



  • Development of Cairnlea began which included remediation and the construction of 3,100 homes, open spaces and a grassland reserves.

Mid 2022
  • Public exhibition for Planning Scheme Amendment managed by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

  • Remediation expected to commence, subject to change.
  • Planning and approvals, subject to change.


  • Remediation expected to be completed.


  • Construction is expected to commence. 

Affordable housing

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. 

 Affordable housing is housing for people on moderate or lower incomes (incomes ranging up to about $134,4500* for families) that is priced so that they can also meet their living costs.  

Find out more about how we’re delivering housing diversity and affordability in our June 2022 update or here.


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

Development Victoria acknowledges the Wurundjeri people as the Traditional Custodians of the land now named Cairnlea.

Who to contact about this project

To join the Cairnlea project mailing list, register at the top of this page, or email your details to or call 03 8317 3400.

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Our vision for the final stage of Cairnlea

We want 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.

Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) update

In 2021, we lodged a proposed Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) to rezone the site to a Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ). The Planning Scheme Amendment was referred by the Minister for Planning to the Government Land Standing Advisory Committee for review. The Committee ran a public exhibition phase, which ran for six weeks from the end of February 2022.

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

The Committee ran a 12-day Public Hearing in June 2022 and has now prepared a report for the Planning Minister to consider. Development Victoria would like to thank everyone who presented to the Committee and those who provided a written submission for consideration during the process.

The Planning Scheme Amendment Proposal

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. Gateway Hill will become an iconic public space with a kick-about, water-play space, an amphitheatre, and 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 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. Read the community fact sheet to find out more. 

Community engagement to date

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 been used to inform the planning scheme amendment proposal.

In September 2021, we hosted an online information session. You can watch the video and read the community updates on our resources page.

Future community engagement

We’re committed to working closely with the community to help shape the final stage of Cairnlea. We will provide further opportunities to shape the project in 2023. Register your details to stay informed. 

For more information


Phone: 1800 783 668

Overview of remediation

To ensure the final stage of Cairnlea is suitable for residential homes, Development Victoria is undertaking further remediation to achieve the highest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

There are areas within the site which are contaminated due to previous industrial use of the land, primarily from the Albion Explosives Factory operated by the Department of Defence and demolition rubble stockpiled from the development of greater Cairnlea Estate to the north and west.

The site was previously remediated to make sure it was suitable for commercial land use.

Remediation at the Cairnlea site involves the removal of pollution or contaminants from soil and sediment.

The treatment and removal of these contaminants will deliver a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Development Victoria will undertake the remediation of the area in accordance with strict regulations on environmental and health and safety requirements by the EPA.

If you have a question about the remediation process, you can email us at

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


  • 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 25 July 2023