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Help Shape The Future of South Melbourne Market

Published 7 May 2024
How we engaged, who we heard from and what we heard.

Community Engagement Summary

In 2023, the City of Port Phillip and South Melbourne Market hosted a community and trader engagement program which ran from 3 November to 3 December.

We talked to Market traders and the local community to assist us in planning for a safe, accessible and enjoyable market experience for years to come.
We wanted to find out from our community the importance they place on the issues we are trying to address, such as congestion, public space and safety. We also wanted to find out if we were to improve and increase public space, what our community would like to see more of.

We asked about your preferences around when the Market is open, how you use the Market, how the proposed changes will impact you, and how you think we can improve public space around the Market.

Click here to read the summary report of the Help Shape the Future of South Melbourne Market community engagement.


About the project

South Melbourne Market was established in 1867 and is the oldest continuing market in Melbourne. Over time, the Market has undergone regular improvement and expansion to accommodate the growing needs of its traders and the local community, as well as to ensure it meets changing regulations. 

The Market continues to thrive in the local community, despite ageing infrastructure, growing competition and a limited footprint. As it moves into the future, planning and investment will ensure it continues to deliver a sustainable, safe and inclusive market experience for years to come.  

A range of capital improvement projects have been identified as being required to address building compliance at the Market. These projects are major infrastructure improvements including, but not limited to: 

  • an increase in amenities (i.e. more bathroom facilities) 
  • improved pedestrian gradients via aisle and footpath regrading works 
  • compliant access to the rooftop carpark with two new lift and stair combinations (York and Coventry Streets) 
  • a review of vehicle access to the rooftop carpark to address vehicle and pedestrian conflict. 

Council has approved additional funding in their 10-year budget commencing 2023-24, alongside these major compliance works, to achieve greater community experience improvements (Project Connect). This includes additional external public space for seating and pedestrian movement and additional back-of-house improvements beyond what is deemed compliance requirements to continue to support our traders in what are aged, and very constrained spaces.

Given the need to address these compliance requirements to ensure the Market is safe and accessible for all, we will also review and address major pinch points such as congestion and lack of public space to improve customer experience.

While these improvements take place, the Market will be focused on protecting and retaining what makes it great – the authentic market experience, its rich history and cultural significance, the eclectic offer and our valued traders.

Next Steps

  • Present the engagement findings and project scope to Council (May 2024).
  • Development of a draft Concept Design for the Market (2024).
  • Request community feedback on the concept design (late 2024 or early 2025).



  • What changes will be made to the South Melbourne Market?

Some changes are required to address building compliance at the Market, to make sure the Market is safe and accessible for our community and traders. These changes include:

  • more (and improved) bathroom facilities
  • better footpaths and aisle surfaces
  • making the rooftop carpark more accessible
  • easing the flow of traffic for vehicles and pedestrians
  • a review of the public space on all three sides of the Market.

When making these changes we will look to improve public space and the connection to the local area, through improving seating and pedestrian movement outside the Market. We will also look to make improvements to the back-of-house area of the Market. These changes will be shaped by feedback received from our community and traders.

  • Why do the changes need to occur?

The South Melbourne Market’s ageing infrastructure and limited size means that changes are required to ensure the Market continues to deliver a safe and accessible market experience for years to come.

Some of the improvements are required to address building compliance, DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliance and safety and access requirements.

Other improvements will help our community to have a better experience of the Market, such as additional public space for seating and pedestrian movement outside the Market, and additional back-of-house improvements for our traders.

  • Will I get to provide feedback on the draft concept design for the Market?

A draft concept design will be developed in 2024. This concept design will be informed by a range of information, including the feedback received from our community and our traders through the engagement project.


Find out more

  • Click here to visit the City of Port Phillip Have Your Say website.
  • Click here to sign up to the South Melbourne Market monthly e-newsletter. We'll be keeping our community up to date on project news through this newsletter and our website.

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