The Victorian Government has released the final Melbourne Industrial and Commercial Land Use Plan (MICLUP).

What is the plan and why is it important?

The MICLUP provides an overview of current and future needs for industrial and commercial land across metropolitan Melbourne and establishes a planning framework to support state and local government to plan more effectively for future employment and industry needs.

Melbourne’s population is projected to grow by around 1.6 million people. It is estimated that the total number of jobs required across Melbourne by 2051 will be 4.1 million, which equates to an additional 1.8 million jobs.

The availability of industrial and commercial land is vital to the economy. Melbourne has been losing industrial land through rezoning. Between 2000-01 and 2017-18 a total of 2,423 hectares of industrial land was rezoned to allow for other uses, approximately 50 per cent was for residential or mixed-use purposes. It is estimated that approximately 10 million square metres of additional commercial floorspace is likely to be required across metropolitan Melbourne between 2016 and 2031.

The planning framework

The plan establishes a classification/hierarchy system to assist in identifying land that should be retained or considered primarily for industrial/commercial purposes.
Industrial and commercial land is classified as being State significant, regionally significant or locally significant. Councils and other agencies will be required to give weight to the classification of land, in addition to relevant state policies when considering applications

Industrial land

The location of State-Significant Industrial Precincts (SSIPs), are set out in Plan Melbourne and are to be protected from non-Industrial the land uses.

The location of Regionally and Locally significant precincts however are not fixed, they are to be planned for by state and local governments.

The plan establishes a set of criteria to identify Regionally Significant Industrial Precincts. They are broadly defined as either established industrial areas or locations that can move towards providing a broader range of employment opportunities.

Locally significant Industrial Precincts are to be planned for by councils. Draft guidelines for the development of local industrial land use strategies have been developed as part of the plan.

Commercial Land

The hierarchy of commercial precincts is largely based around the areas they serve.

State-Significant Commercial Areas are located within Metropolitan Activity Centres and provide a diverse range of jobs and provide retail and commercial opportunities within the central city.

Regionally Significant Commercial Areas include commercial areas, major activity centres and areas identified in Growth Corridor Plans. They are also key in providing employment opportunities, including office and commercial activity.

Locally Significant Commercial Areas include neighbourhood activity centres and other small local centres that provide local goods, services and employment to the local and surrounding community.


The plan lists nine actions for implementation. These actions will involve the introduction of new and updated policies into planning schemes and a review of commercial and industrial zones. Councils are encouraged to prepare and implement industrial land use strategies and activity centre strategies or undertake similar strategic work for precincts.

The Northern Region – case study

The northern region includes the municipalities of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and the Shire of Mitchell (within the UGB).

it is projected that approximately 138,000 additional jobs will be provided within the northern region (half within Hume and Whittlesea).

The availability of vacant industrial and commercial land is as follows:

  • 1,240 hectares of vacant zoned industrial land
  • 2,867 hectares of unzoned land has been identified for industrial purposes.
  • 1,086 hectares of zoned commercial land (approximately .3.2 million square metres of floorspace used or available for commercial purposes).

Demand for industrial land has steadily increased. Between 2000-01 and land 2017-18 a total of 669 hectares of industrial land was ‘lost’ through rezoning. Based on projected growth, it is anticipated that approximately 1.4 million square metres of additional commercial floorspace will be required by 2031.

Relevantly, for development within the northern region, the plan identifies the need to additional commercial floor space and the need to identify future industrial land. It is anticipated that a large percentage of commercial floor space and employments opportunities are to be delivered within the City of Hume.

What does this mean?

Councils and other agencies will be required to give weight to the classification of land, in addition to relevant State policies when considering applications. Accordingly, this plan will impact upon future development applications within activity centres and industrial precincts.

Local governments have the opportunity to identify regionally and locally significant centres and the state government is working with local councils to develop land use framework plans. Further strategic work will be required moving forward and there will be opportunities or landowners/developers to participate and provide feedback and submissions through the planning scheme amendment process.

It is important to note however that the plan seeks to plan more effectively plan for future employment and industry needs, it does not prescribe land use outcomes. The plan is based on the policy aspirations of Plan Melbourne and does indicate if land should be retained for the current industrial or commercial land use or for alternative uses. Given that the location of regionally and locally significant precincts are not explicitly defined there is uncertainty as to how local governments will plan for these areas at this stage.