Why have we prepared this Strategy?

    Darebin is experiencing a marked shift in the nature of businesses and employment, including the same exodus of traditional industry that inner suburbs saw a decade ago. Changes  are also occurring in our retail landscape. Northcote’s café culture is moving steadily northward and lifestyle based retail activity and services are growing ever more prominent. Smaller retail pockets—some with as few as 5–10 shops—are also coming back to life. 

    Planning for how our limited land will be used simply can’t be ‘business as usual’. Our challenge is to prepare astutely for the structural changes ahead, and guide your city proactively toward:

    • A vibrant, adaptive economy that can capitalise on emerging trends
    • A broader economic base and more diverse employment opportunities
    • Optimal use of our finite land resources
    • Sustainable practices and quality urban design

    The strategy we are framing now will set the direction for industrial, retail and commercial land use in Darebin—and for the economic health and resilience of our community—for the next 20 years.

    How have we prepared the Darebin Economic Land Use Strategy?

    Early work for the Economic Land Use Strategy (DELUS) began in 2011 with research and an extensive review of national, regional and local data, trends and practices.  This was supplemented by a review of existing related policies and strategies such as Council's Business Development and Employment Strategy.  This was documented in the background paper available under 'key documents' here.  

    Following this, targeted consultation took place with key industries, businesses and land owners in Darebin.  Urban economists Spade Consultants completed the draft Darebin Economic Land Use Strategy (DELUS) under Council guidance in mid-2013 which is now proposed to be implemented into the Darebin Planning Scheme through Planning Scheme Amendment C138.

    How does DELUS respond to the changes in the local economy?

    The Darebin Economic Land Use Strategy (DELUS) sets out how we will protect our City’s existing industrial base - while capitalising on our location and opening up more opportunity for growing and emerging employment sectors.

    In doing so, DELUS establishes a vision for future economic land uses in Darebin, as follows:

    Darebin’s economy will be vibrant, diverse and adaptive to the structural changes occurring at a national and local level.

    Economic activity will be based on the industrial, retail, commercial office and service sectors. Each will provide a diversity of employment opportunities and be based on ensuring optimal use of finite land resources.

    Darebin’s economic base will continue to transition and broaden to accommodate more concentrated wholesale and retail trade; light service industries; advanced manufacturing; retail and commercial; and government, health and educational service activities.

    Sustainable practices and quality urban design will be features of the City’s economic activity. Economic activity will be supported by a proactive approach to ensuring sustainable practices are a central theme in the economic activity of the municipality.

    Specific recommendations to achieve the vision and respond to changes in the local economy include:

    • Designation of three core industrial employment areas (Reservoir, East Preston and Fairfield) and one secondary one (Anderson Road);
    • Areas targeted for wholesale trade, service industries and new types of manufacturing; 
    • Retail activity areas of varying sizes providing for a mix of retail, commercial, services and residential uses;
    • Key mixed-use redevelopment areas for the emerging commercial office market; and
    • Providing land for the tertiary and health service sector, to better connect these services with the larger community.

    The Strategy includes extensive detail on the factors and forces leading to our recommendations - the principles underlying them - and the specifics of how they will be executed in each area.

    What are Darebin's emerging employment sectors?

    The nature of industry in Darebin has been evolving away from traditional manufacturing enterprises and towards wholesale trade, retail trade and light service industry. Some recent emerging employment sectors and land use needs include:

    • Increased demands for commercial uses and ‘softer’ industry;
    • Increased trend to 'lifestyle' retail and 'lisfestyle' services;
    • Increased retail floor space demand from growing population;
    • Improved commercial office market opportunities; and 
    • Increased accommodation, cafes and restaurants needs.

    The education sector is a major employer in them municipality. In this context, the presence of La Trobe University cannot be understated with the area in and around the university employing more than 2,350 persons of which over 2,000 are employed in the education sector. Similarly, the Preston campus of the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE on St Georges Road, Preston is another significant employer in the education sector with over 400 employees.

    Similarly, health related facilities are significant employers with the various health related facilities in the extreme north-east of the municipality alone employing around 430 persons in the health related sector. 

    The public sector also has an important role to play in terms of economic activity and employment in Darebin with over 950 employees recorded as engaged in Government Administration in the Preston Central area. This represents a significant proportion of total municipal employment in the government administration sector. The concentration can be explained by the fact Darebin Council offices are located in the Preston Central area.

    Will my property be rezoned?


    Amendment C138 will introduce new policies in to the Municipal Strategic Statement of the Darebin Planning Scheme to reflect key components of recent strategic work such as the Reservoir Structure Plan, Darebin Housing Strategy Housing and Darebin Economic Land Use Strategy.  

    Whilst there will be no re-zonings as part of Amendment C138, these policy changes will form the strategic basis for the consideration of future re-zonings of commercial and industrial land.   

    Where can I get more information?

    This website contains comprehensive information about the Darebin Economic Land Use Strategy as well as Amendment C138, which proposes to implement directions from the Strategy into a new Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS). 

    Have a Question?

    Phone: 8470 8768

    Send an email to: planningservices@darebin.vic.gov.au

    Use the 'Ask a Question' Form on this website