Call for rethink on Officer South precinct plan

Published: 22 November 2023

Cardinia Shire Council has expressed concerns with plans to delay the development of industrial land and critical infrastructure in Officer South.

The Victorian Government’s planning strategy Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 promises to deliver jobs closer to where people live, however the Victorian Planning Authority’s (VPA) proposed staging plan for the Officer South employment precinct prioritises housing over jobs and infrastructure. 

Cardinia Shire already has an established pipeline of housing supply, however industrial land is at an all-time low.  Unless industrial land and enabling infrastructure are delivered first, the creation of up to 22,000 new jobs in the Officer South employment precinct are at risk, entrenching disadvantage and congestion by forcing residents to travel outside the region for work. 

A motion moved at the November 20 Council meeting stated that jobs should be the first priority of the Officer South employment precinct, and that the development of industrial land and new transport infrastructure such as the upgrade and extension of Thompsons Road should be prioritised.

Stronger links to the Princes Freeway, Thompsons Road and to the surrounding arterial road network will open key gateways to the Dandenong National Employment and Innovation Cluster (NEIC), a potential future south-east airport and the Port of Hastings.  According to REMPLAN, upgrading and extending Thompsons Road would facilitate the creation of 140,000 jobs and increase economic output by more than $58 billion for the South East Region. 

Cardinia Shire Council Mayor Councillor Jack Kowarzik said that while Council is not opposed to the concept of staging the development, it believes local jobs should be the priority of the employment precinct plan. 

“The Officer South employment precinct is vital to the future economic development of our community, creating thousands of jobs closer to home”, Mayor Kowarzik said.

“As it stands, the proposed staging plan may delay the deployment of industrial land, putting thousands of new jobs and investment at risk”.  

“Almost 70 per cent of residents travel outside Cardinia Shire for work and experience traffic congestion each day, so it’s imperative that local jobs are at the heart of planning for our community”.  

The precinct structure plan for the Officer South Employment Precinct is expected to be finalised in late 2024.

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