East Werribee ‘fire sale’ fears

Former plans for the East Werribee Education City. 107735_01

By Alesha Capone

Wyndham council and a state MP fears land earmarked for the East Werribee National Employment and Innovation Cluster will be developed for housing.

Wyndham mayor Adele Hegedich last week called on the state government to provide certainty on its plans for the 775-hectare Princes Highway site, which she labelled a “missed opportunity”.

“We need the state government to work with council and prioritise decisions around the future of the site,” Cr Hegedich said.

About six years ago, a consortium seeking to build a $31 billion education city on more than 400 hectares of the East Werribee precinct was selected by the state government as the preferred bidder for the site.

It was estimated that 58,300 jobs could be created at the education city.

However, in 2019 the state government decided not to proceed with the Expressions of Interest process for East Werribee and has since refused to reveal why.

Cr Mia Shaw said she was concerned the East Werribee site could be used predominantly for housing, rather than job creation.

“We don’t need housing in this precinct area,” Cr Shaw said.

“It must be retained as a National Employment and Innovation Cluster as set out in Plan Melbourne and must be prioritised as recommended by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

“No funding was allocated to East Werribee in the state government budget and nearly 10 years since the structure plan was completed, it predominantly remains undeveloped and isn’t a priority site for the current state government.”

Speaking in Parliament last month, Western region metropolitan MP Bernie Finn called on the state government not to sell the land set aside for the East Werribee National Employment and Innovation Cluster.

“There is very real concern by senior people in the Wyndham area that the government is preparing to sell the land — a fire sale, if you will — for housing and to consign the Werribee East precinct as a piece of history that never will be,” Mr Finn said.

The state government did not respond to a request for comment.