News & Media Releases

Calls for design brief to be made public

16 January 2013

Yarra Councillors have voted unanimously to call on the Premier and Minister for Housing to immediately release to the public the draft Master Plan Design Brief (MPDB) for the Richmond and Fitzroy public housing estates that between them are home to more than 4,000 Yarra residents.

The motion, moved during a Special Council Meeting at Richmond Town Hall last night, came after elements of the proposed design brief were published in the media on Monday and addressed by the Premier and Minister in the media.

Council resolved to re-iterate its long-held position of no net loss of green open space surrounding the high rise buildings.

Mayor Jackie Fristacky said Council is requesting that the January 21 timeframe for the Minister’s “signoff” of the draft design brief to be extended to allow Council to give it serious consideration on behalf of the community.

“Council seeks to be able to make a genuine contribution to the master planning process on behalf of the community and that the process be open and transparent,” she said. This is in the interests of achieving the best outcome for the estates and community.

“It’s fair to say Council was disappointed that the master plan draft design brief for the estates came to us as a confidential document  just three days after Christmas without an invitation or adequate time to respond,” she said.

Cr Fristacky said Council was developing its own vision for the estates drawing upon Council’s adopted strategies and plans. This will help inform Council’s position and input into the master planning process.

“As part of this process, Councillors and senior officers will be participating in a Council initiated workshop specifically looking at design aspects of the estate that can be improved,” she said.

“What’s very clear to me is that we need to have an alternative informed position that we can put forward as part of the consultation process.”

Council’s ongoing role and experience in providing vital services and support to residents of the public housing estates will inform this vision and our advocacy on behalf of public housing tenants.

Cr Fristacky referred to a letter from the Department of Housing to Yarra’s CEO on 11 December which stated there would be “broad opportunities for input”. A recent Departmental newsletter on the Fitzroy Estate Renewal also referred to working closely with the City of Yarra as a “major partner in the development of the Fitzroy Estate masterplan.”

“We would like the Minister to give meaning to these statements and genuinely engage Council as such a partner in deciding on the future of these estates. To enable this to happen, the timeframe for the Minister to make a decision on the design brief must be extended by at least a month to allow Council to have meaningful input.”  

The following motions were adopted last night:


1.      That:

(a) notwithstanding the Minister’s request that Yarra Council maintain confidentiality over the Master Plan Design Brief (MPDB) for Fitzroy and Richmond Public Housing Estates Council (the Brief), Council notes:

(i) that the contents of the Brief have been made available to the media; and

(ii) that the Minister for Housing and Premier have both publicly commented on the contents of the Brief; and

(b)   in this context, Council calls on the Minister for Housing to immediately release the draft MPDB and enable an open and transparent conversation to be held around it.

2.       That:

(a)        Council note that the designated confidential information on this matter was received by the CEO on 28 December 2012 and that the proposed date for ministerial sign off is 21 January 2013; and

(b)        having regard to this being a major holiday period, Council request an extension of at least one month to the proposed sign off, to allow Council to give serious consideration to the brief.

3.       That:

(a)        Council note that in the departmental letter of 11 December 2011 sent to the CEO, references made to “broad opportunities for input” by Council; and

(b)        Council request the Minister to define what this reference means and further, to request again that Council be considered a partner in deciding on the future of these estates.

4.       That Council reiterate its position of no net loss of green open space surrounding the high rise buildings.


5.       That Council:

(a)     note the receipt of correspondence and draft technical Master Plan Development Briefs for the North Richmond and Fitzroy housing estates from the Director Property & Assets of the Department of Human Services;

(b)     note the facilitated Councillor workshop planned for the 21 January 2013 and defer further consideration and deliberation on the Master Plan Design Brief to this confidential workshop;

(c)     authorise the Mayor to immediately contact and write to the Minister for Housing:

(i)      expressing serious concern and disappointment that the Master Plan Design Brief for such significant development projects within the municipality will be endorsed without the opportunity for considered Council and community input;

(ii)     asking that any Ministerial endorsement or determination be deferred pending informed Council feedback; and

(iii)     seeking an immediate meeting with the Minister to discuss the master planning process;

(d)     consider a further report in February 2013 regarding the outcomes of the facilitated workshop and planned actions in response to the master planning process; and

(e)     request that the Mayor explore the opportunities to liaise with Stonnington Council on the design brief.

6.       That Council agrees to make public this motion and attachment 1. pdf format Attachment 1 - Timeline for Fitzroy and North Richmond Public Housing Estate Masterplan.pdf (570.87 KB)


Further information
Jessica Chappell
Communications Coordinator
9205 5177



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