Australia's tallest building fast-tracked at Melbourne's Southbank

Posted: 25th Apr

Plans for Australia's tallest building have been approved by the Victorian Government in a bid to keep the state's development industry operating during the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed 101-storey Green Spine building at 118 City Road – currently occupied by a BMW dealership - will tower more than 356 metres above Melbourne's CBD at Southbank.

The project is one of four, worth a total of $1.5 billion, that the Victorian Government has fast tracked in response to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact.

"We know that the building and construction industry is absolutely critical to the health of the Victorian economy — both direct jobs and the supply chain as well," Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said.

Designed by UNStudio and Cox Architecture, the Southbank tower was approved alongside three other major construction projects including a 35-floor office tower at 555 Collins Street, and a 26-storey building, also for upmarket offices at 52-60 Collins Street.

The Green Spine will stand approximately 30m taller than the Gold Coast's Q1 building, which currently holds the Australian record, and 35m taller than Melbourne's yet-to-be completed Australia 108 tower.

Malaysian-backed developers, Beulah International, describe the skyscraper as a mixed-use "lifestyle" complex that will include a 56-story tower with a matching helix design.

"It will be a place-making development holding luxury residential units, high-tech commercial offices, five-star hotel, a progressive entertainment centre, experiential technological display centres, a curated retail and cultural precinct, and public green spaces in a strategic location of Melbourne," Beulah's website says.

The Southbank tower is so tall that it will require approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, will take about seven years to build and is expected to create 4700 jobs.

Large-scale building projects to be fast-tracked

The Victorian Government predicts a "catastrophic" impact on the states' economic output of up to 14 per cent and says up to 270,000 jobs to be lost in the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr Wynne said the building sector, responsible for more than 8 per cent of the economy and nearly 320,000 jobs, cannot be allowed to fail.

"We've put together an expert taskforce to identify projects that can be fast-tracked through my department, so we have a steady stream of work going forward," he said.

Mr Wynne and Treasurer Tim Pallas will oversee the Building Victoria's Recovery Taskforce, which will look at projects and "boost Victoria's building and development industry over the short, medium and long term".

Mr Wynne says the taskforce will advise him on how to remove barriers caused by COVID-19 and its economic fall-out, as well as fast tracking planning approvals to keep the building industry active.

"This taskforce will help ensure the building and development industry is a driving force for Victoria's economy through this pandemic and beyond," he said.

"It will help deliver existing projects more efficiently and assist new projects to get off the ground faster."

The taskforce will be co-chaired by Victorian Planning Authority chair Jude Munro, senior LendLease executive Roger Teale, and Victorian Public Service chief executive Stan Krpan.

A steering committee will include representatives from industry peak bodies and unions, with advice from three industry working groups.

The taskforce will operate for an initial period of three months and report back to the Government with recommendations.

Source: 9News -