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Key details


Policy objective
Urban renewal


We are leading the development of the final stage of Cairnlea, a 41ha site which sits along Cairnlea Drive and Ballarat Road, with the aim of creating a new residential neighbourhood. Located approximately 16 km north-west of the Melbourne CBD and within the City of Brimbank, Cairnlea is a key part of Melbourne’s growing western suburbs.

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 – which is now the suburb of Cairnlea. Most of the site, which comprises over 3,100 residential lots, a town-centre, substantial public open space and grassland reserves, has been developed over the past 15-20 years.

The Cairnlea master plan was developed in the late 1990s and the final stage of Cairnlea was initially planned to be a Business Precinct.

This master plan was revised in 2013-14 and in response to community feedback, the plan 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. 

16km from Melbourne CBD

20-minute neighbourhood

1 new town centre

31% open space


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


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

Applying for a 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.

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.

It is also proposed that the Minister for Planning act as the Responsible Authority for key planning permit application to help streamline approvals. This will allow for the new neighbourhood to be developed in a shorter timeframe, while also reducing the cost of new homes, and ensuring high-quality outcomes. This is an important objective of the Victorian Government’s plan to revitalise the economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping more Victorians in work, stimulating the economy and allowing for new homes to be delivered quickly.

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.

Outcomes we have already delivered

  • 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.

Who to contact about this project

To join the Cairnlea project mailing list, email your details to 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 more affordable housing opportunities 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 town 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 spaces, 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.   

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.  

Delivering housing diversity and affordability

Helping more people live in great locations close to employment, public transport, health services and schools will help to build stronger communities.

Affordability is important for Victorians wanting to buy a home, and for those renting. Creating affordable housing options means designing a range of housing types and sizes, including single and two-to-three storey homes for people and families looking for affordable options in a great location.

It also includes housing that is affordable for purchase or rent by moderate income earners, first home buyers, young families, those looking to downsize and key workers such as teachers, nurses and other support services. This type of housing is essential to ensure people who work within the community, live within the community.

Cairnlea is proposed to deliver a minimum of 25% affordable housing options to create a diverse neighbourhood across age groups, lifestyles and family units. 

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

Information session

We delivered a virtual community information session 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 – is being used to help inform preliminary designs for the site. 

Community engagement

We’re committed to working closely with the community to help shape the new neighbourhood. Following the Planning Scheme Amendment process, and if the site is rezoned, 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.


Phone: 1800 783 668

Updated on 21 October 2021