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'Greens' support Madden's Bad Law VC 71 in black week for Victoria, Australia

The following article takes the Victorian Greens severely to task . We at candobetter.org are very willing to publish a reply from the Greens explaining their failure to move a motion to replace or to vote against VC71.

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Labor and Green MPs' condemned on VC 71

This week Protectors of Public Land Victoria and Planning Backlash both condemned Labor and Green members of Parliament for failing to act to remove the infamous Clause 16 of Planning Amendment VC 71.

VC71 clause 16 was to be challenged by the Liberals on 6 October. Greens were approached to support it and many people expected that support to be automatic. The Greens had voted against clause 16 in an earlier form[1] and it had now reappeared without significant changes. Many conservationists and planning activists throughout Melbourne have seen in the Greens some hope of an alternative to population growth and development uber al. They were aghast to realise that the Greens had finished up supporting the Brumby Government's ecologically unsustainable population growth and this crowning horror of Justin Madden's bad development laws.

But there were signs of this earlier. See "Are the Greens a real alternative?".

Mary Drost, of Planning Backlash, wrote that she was "devastated" to have to tell people that, when the partial debate took place on Wednesday night (the 6th):

Greg Barber, Planning Spokesperson for the Greens, talked so long that the time was up and there was no time for a vote, due to Standing Orders of Parliament. Reading his words in Hansard I am still not sure what he was saying. Some are calling it a "Filibuster" (to avoid a vote being taken). Hence it means that VC71 clause 16 was not challenged and remains in force."

"Even worse," Mary continued,

"On Thursday (the 7th) there was a motion that the Upper House return to Parliament next week to vote on deleting the clause from VC71 motion. The Greens voted with Labor against returning to Parliament, saving the Greens the decision whether to vote for deleting Clause 16 of VC71 and upsetting Labor or voting against the motion and upsetting the community. Well we are upset, we feel badly let down. We condemn those members of Parliament - Labor and Green – for allowing Clause 16 of VC71 to remain in force.

So VC71 stays in and is already being used in VCAT to help developers. It is pie in the sky for Greg Barber to say in his lengthy speech that it can still be got rid of in the new parliament.

Of Clause 16, Julianne Bell, of Protectors of Public Land wrote,

"PPL VIC has long campaigned against such high rise urban development along transport routes and also against the extension of the urban growth boundary. The community has not been consulted over VC 71 but it has been imposed on Melburnians by the Brumby Government despite the extraordinary community opposition demonstrated through Melbourne, including several rallies at Parliament. This plan to line public transport routes with multi storey apartments to accommodate the anticipated increase of one and a half million population had its genesis in the blueprint "Transforming Australian Cities" commissioned by the City of Melbourne and the State Government in May 2009. (This plan was said to have been derived from a South American architect who sought to house former shanty town dwellers in high rise/multi storey apartment units along bus routes.)

Atkinson's opening speech to the motion 6 October 2010

Liberal, Bruce Atkinson, despite the party's formal opposition to Clause 16,
summed up his party's spineless endorsement of Labor's laws to mandate land-speculation and profit at the expense of democracy through high density development, in this piffling piece of hairsplitting:

Mr. Bruce Atkinson (Liberal) speaking to the motion in the Upper House on Wednesday last 6 October : "What concerns us about the government's approach in planning amendment VC 71 is not higher density development per se but the fact that this particular provision is indiscriminate. This provision would suggest that higher density development could run along every major railway, every major bus route, every major tramline throughout the metropolitan area and could quite conceivably involve development along these major transport corridors to a level of five, six, eight or nine storeys and for a significant depth, some 400 metres in, from those transport corridors - those bus routes, tramlines or train lines. That is a very significant change to the character of Melbourne and its suburbs."

(...)

"We are not opposed to some of the objectives the government had in arriving initially at its Melbourne 2030 policy — a policy that became discredited in the community and needed to be re-badged as Melbourne @ 5 Million. "

Victorian Greens Greg Barber's hollow words

What did Greg Barber talk about for so long that everyone else ran out of time?

Barber canned both Labor and Liberal for their failure to care for the environment or to provide better policies. All very well, but completely hollow words, for the Greens simply failed to supply an alternative to clause 16. And they all went right along and voted against any further review of Clause 16.

Read the full text at the end of this article, [2] but here is a stirring and clever excerpt which unfortunately led from nowhere to nowhere and round and round and round until all the allocated time was gone:

[Ed. Excerpt reparagraphed for clarity.]


"Ms Mikakos described this proposal by the government as policy neutral, which is a very post-modern Labor way of saying, ‘The document actually does nothing’ — and I
agree.

This document, which appears to update and make changes to the highest level decisions and aims of our planning scheme, does nothing.

We all know with the sorts of environmental, social and economic pressures on our city that doing nothing right now is not really an option. In a way, doing nothing is making a decision.

It allows the invisible hand of the market to have its way, and when you intervene it is usually at the ministerial level, site by site, favour by favour.

Let us have a look at this policy-neutral document in front of us.

If we take Ms Mikakos at her word, it is policy neutral in relation to the supply of urban land, but in fact having just voted on an expansion to the urban growth boundary (UGB), which the Greens opposed, this material anticipates the next extension of the urban growth boundary. It is policy neutral in the sense that we will continue to have the oxymoron known as a growth boundary, which really means sprawl-for-ever.

It is policy neutral in relation to planning for growth areas.

When we debated the UGB and the growth areas infrastructure charge the Greens knew the major issue then was the failure of planning for growth areas, not just in the sense of structure planning but in all the matters that go along with a livable community on a greenfield site.

It is policy neutral — that is to say it does nothing in relation to structure planning, a phrase that first popped up when Melbourne 2030 landed on our city like a group of lost aliens and said, ‘Take us to your leader’, or more importantly, ‘We are in charge now’.

Structure planning was meant to indicate that councils would take control of how development was to occur in activity centres. The amendment is policy neutral in relation to open space, which is to say that the government will continue to chip away at it where it is most needed, where it is already underprovided.

Nothing in this will protect open space, particularly when even what we think of as open space turns out not to be zoned for public purposes. Nothing in this suggests that land used as open space and essential to the community must have an appropriate zoning, let alone the kind of zoning that can just be wiped away in an instant at the stroke of a pen by the minister. That is exactly what happened in relation to the Abbotsford convent until we fought the government back.

The document is policy neutral in relation to activity centre hierarchy because we just do not have one. Sure, we have different forms of activity centres listed in a document, but it does not tell us what will then be the fate of each of those activity centres.

The amendment is policy neutral in relation to employment corridors.

When I asked the minister in hearings with the Growth Areas Authority what the idea of the employment corridors was he could not really explain it to me. Mr Guy is not here and I do not want to verbal him, but I had the same conversation with him. What does it mean?

It says: Develop the following employment corridors: Avalon Airport to Werribee, Melton, Melbourne Airport and Donnybrook (Hume-Mitchell). Who will work there and what will they do? Who said that that will be a great place for a set of industries?

Under this same section transport networks are being provided that will allow circumferential in addition to radial movements. That means that you can be a metalworker living in Werribee and working in Warrandyte and every day on the Western Ring Road you can pass another metalworker who does the opposite and you can wave to each other on the freeway.

The amendment is policy neutral in the sense that the government will just keep on building roads and people will just keep on driving on them. The government will not ask us about how we want the city to develop. We will just follow the cars that have an asphalt truck in front of them.

The document is reasonably policy neutral in relation to central Melbourne because there does not seem to be a vision for central Melbourne. Between the two census periods central Melbourne added 25 000 jobs. Some of the CADs (central activities districts) have only about 25 000 jobs each. If in one census period central Melbourne added the equivalent number of jobs of a CAD, why did that happen? Is that what was intended? What will the government do about it?

Why did the government not buy enough trains to get those people to work?

If the government could not make provision for even those sorts of things, what chance does it have with other CADs in other locations across the landscape?

We absolutely know that the amendment is policy neutral in relation to green wedges because the government has done nothing for green wedges, to protect them and their values, since it has been in power. The green wedges have been there forever. As Mr Atkinson said, the city has always been there and the green wedges have always been there. The government has recognised them in policy occasionally. As with the CADs, the test is what the government did and what this document does to protect and enhance the values of the green wedges. The fact is that they are chipped away every year. "

Such reasonable observations. All talk apparently. The Greens offered up no new motion or recommendation. Perhaps they have some explanation - in which case, we want to hear it and publish it.

Three political parties or one big land-corporation?

All three parties seem to have become completely subservient to the developers and their agenda of growing Victoria (and Australia's) population just in order to promote inflation of their assets and demand for their products. There is much evidence to suggest that the ALP is no longer a real political party but more of a land-development corporation (see articles here), but the absolute lack of real opposition from Greens or Liberals to the way that the Labor government promotes its party's own financial agenda makes observers wonder what the pay-offs are.

The "Greens"

Most activists realise now that they cannot expect any kind of democratic reform from the Liberal or the Labor party. But many still had illusions about the Greens.

Maybe Victorians need to realise that branding - as in calling a party "Green" doesn't make it green. I mean, do you buy a dishwashing detergent just because it comes in a green bottle and calls itself 'environmental'? or do you look at the ingredients? Do you vote for a politician because they are a member of the "Greens" or do you look at the politician's record on ecological fundamentals - population, development and democracy?

Parties and politicians need to be judged by their actions and inactions. All the parties have politicians who are only ever seen or heard around election time, often in a photograph with the party leader, endorsing some motherhood cliche.

Others, more sophisticated, have developed a technique of trailing enticing isolated soundbites on issues of significance - population, development and democracy - but if you look more closely, you see that their parties have policies not unlike those of the State Labor government. For instance, check out the Greens' policies on Land-use planning. Not a word about avoiding population growth. Tim Murray's comments here about 'The Green Contradiction' are very apt, even though he is talking about Canadian Greens.

Truly, we are in dire need of new independent candidates. More activists should step forward and give it a go - outside the parties. Consider forming alliances of community independents.

Victorians urgently need someone else to vote for besides the Greens, Labor and the Liberals, or we are doomed. Let us hope for an outcome at the very least similar to the Federal election outcome, which gave the public for the first time in many decades, the possibility of real choice over policy directions.

Julianne Bell of Protectors of Public Lands writes:

"We consider that candidates standing in the forthcoming elections should be questioned on this issue and asked if they would consider acting to rescind Planning Amendment Clause 16, VC 71. We understand that the Liberal Party has recently advertised in a local paper that "a Coalition Government is committed to scrapping John Brumby's planning law changes." PPL VIC will circulate details of candidates election forums. Please send me details of any in your area for which you would like publicity."

REFERENCES

[1]
On Wednesday October 6th, the Coalition moved a motion to remove clause 16 from Amendment VC71 which Madden had signed 2 weeks earlier. This was a rewrite of the old clause 12 that had been sliced off VC67 earlier in the year, and resurrected in VC71 in the form of clause 16:

Link to the current clause 16 in VC71.

This will give developers an easy road to high density high rise development along tram train and bus routes and in and around all hundreds of Activity Centres. (see below quote from VC71 clause 16) This will allow indiscriminate development all over Melbourne. This will enable developers to win easily in VCAT, residents and councils would be rendered powerless in opposing high rise on transport routes and around Activity Centres, including even Neighbourhood Centres.

[2] Speech by Mr Barber

Hansard: Wednesday, 6 October 2010 COUNCIL PROOF 109 (pp.105-112 includes other speakers)

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) — It is amazing. It has taken four years and I never thought it would happen, but Ms Mikakos and I agree on something in relation to planning. Ms Mikakos described this proposal by the government as policy neutral, which is a very post-modern Labor way of saying, ‘The document actually does nothing’ — and I
agree. This document, which appears to update and make changes to the highest level decisions and aims of our planning scheme, does nothing. We all know with the sorts of environmental, social and economic pressures on our city that doing nothing right now is not really an option. In a way, doing nothing is making a decision. It allows the invisible hand of the market to have its way, and when you intervene it is usually at the
ministerial level, site by site, favour by favour. Let us have a look at this policy-neutral document in front of us. If we take Ms Mikakos at her word, it is policy neutral in relation to the supply of urban land, but in fact having just voted on an expansion to the urban growth boundary (UGB), which the Greens opposed, this material anticipates the next extension of the urban growth boundary. It is policy neutral in the sense that we will continue to have the oxymoron known as a growth boundary, which really means
sprawl-for-ever. It is policy neutral in relation to planning for growth areas. When we debated the UGB and the growth areas infrastructure charge the Greens knew the
major issue then was the failure of planning for growth areas, not just in the sense of structure planning but in all the matters that go along with a livable community on a greenfield site. It is policy neutral — that is to say it does nothing in relation to structure planning, a phrase that first popped up when Melbourne 2030 landed on our city like a group of lost aliens and said, ‘Take us to your leader’, or more importantly, ‘We are in charge now’. Structure planning was meant to indicate that councils would take control of how development was to occur in activity centres. The amendment is policy neutral in relation to open space, which is to say that the government will continue to chip away at it where it is most needed, where it is already underprovided. Nothing in this will protect open space, particularly when even what we think of as open space turns out not to be zoned for public purposes. Nothing in this suggests that land used as open space and essential to the community must have an appropriate zoning, let alone the kind of zoning that can just be wiped away in an instant at the stroke of a pen by the minister. That is exactly what happened in relation to the Abbotsford convent until we fought the government back. The document is policy neutral in relation to activity centre hierarchy because we just do not have one. Sure, we have different forms of activity centres listed in a document, but it does not tell us what will then be the fate of each of those activity centres. The amendment is policy neutral in relation to employment corridors. When I asked the minister in hearings with the Growth Areas Authority what the idea of the employment corridors was he could not really explain it to me. Mr Guy is not here and I do not want to verbal him, but I had the same conversation with him. What does it mean? It says: Develop the following employment corridors: Avalon Airport to Werribee, Melton, Melbourne Airport and Donnybrook (Hume-Mitchell). Who will work there and what will they do? Who said that that will be a great place for a set of industries? Under this same section transport networks are being provided that will allow circumferential in addition to radial movements. That means that you can be a metalworker living in Werribee and working in Warrandyte and every day on the Western Ring Road you can pass another metalworker who does the opposite and you can wave to each other on the freeway. The amendment is policy neutral in the sense that the government will just keep on building roads and people will just keep on driving on them. The government will not ask us about how we want the city to develop. We will just follow the cars that have an asphalt truck in front of them. The document is reasonably policy neutral in relation to central Melbourne because there does not seem to be a vision for central Melbourne. Between the two census periods central Melbourne added 25 000 jobs. Some of the CADs (central activities districts) have only about 25 000 jobs each. If in one census period central Melbourne added the equivalent number of jobs of a CAD, why did that happen? Is that what was intended? What will the government do about it? Why did the government not buy enough trains to get those people to work? If the government could not make provision for even those sorts of things, what chance does it have with other CADs in other locations across the landscape? We absolutely know that the amendment is policy neutral in relation to green wedges because the government has done nothing for green wedges, to protect them and their values, since it has been in power. The green wedges have been there forever. As Mr Atkinson said, the city has always been there and the green wedges have always been there. The government has recognised them in policy occasionally. As with the CADs, the test is what the government did and what this document does to protect and enhance the values of the green wedges. The fact is that they are chipped away every year. Land values, in farming, the landscape and biodiversity, are in decline in the green wedges. The document is certainly policy neutral in relation to wildfire. That in itself is a minor scandal given that members of this place have spent an awfully long time talking about wildfire and the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and its recommendations. I go back to what the recommendations in relation to planning are so that we can remind ourselves that they are not being implemented, at least not through this exercise. The bushfires royal commission wanted a number of tasks done. In terms of actual strategic planning, these were the specific recommendations: The state amend the Victoria planning provisions relating to bushfire to ensure that the provisions give priority to the protection of human life, adopt a clear objective of substantially restricting development in the areas of highest bushfire risk — giving due consideration to biodiversity conservation — and provide clear guidance for decision-makers. The amendments should take account of the conclusions reached by the commission and do the following: outline the state’s objectives for managing bushfire risk through land use planning in an amended state planning policy for bushfire, as set out in clause 15.07 of the Victoria planning provisions — It is not there in this effort — allow municipal councils to include a minimum lot size for use of land for a dwelling, both with and without a permit, in a schedule to each of the rural living zone, green wedge zone, green wedge A zone, rural conservation zone, farming zone and rural activity zone amend clause 44.06 of the Victoria planning provisions to provide a comprehensive bushfire-prone overlay provision. The commission then goes on to talk about a number of other changing rules for various decision-makers and referral authorities, including the Country Fire Authority. It suggests some considerable changes being made to those, changes that cannot be seen in the document that is being considered here. It is possible that the government is working on this and it will bring forward another document, but there is no alacrity. There must have been some kind of momentum behind this particular document, which is a complete review, if you like, of the overarching state planning policy framework, but it seems to have overtaken the efforts that we are making in relation to bushfire, which I would have thought were urgent. I spoke about that at length in various responses to the bushfires royal commission, and I have spoken about it in relation to particular planning decisions that have been made since February 2009. I do not really need to speak to it much more but simply point out that the government has failed at that particular hurdle. In relation to the continuing chipping away of productive agricultural land, which is a problem at the urban fringe but also in those leapfrog growth areas such as the Macedon Ranges, again there is nothing in the amendment from the point of view of protecting productive agricultural land, which we can expect to shrink over time under the climate change scenario. Members of the coalition are looking very worried. On a matter of procedure I just want to tell people not to despair because there are two possibilities when we come back here in February. One is that the coalition parties are in government and Mr Guy is the planning minister, in which case they can rewrite this amendment however they want. The second possibility is that we are back here and where we started, at which point this amendment is still a disallowable instrument. The capacity to disallow this or any part of it, including the small part that Mr Guy is going after today, will still be disallowable when we get back here in February, and no doubt in our first sitting week in March, because the clock will not have run out on it. There is plenty of time; there is no shortage of time. I know that some members are looking at the clock. There is no shortage of time, firstly, for the coalition to put out an alternative vision to what is here and, secondly, for Mr Guy to become planning minister, if the planets line up. The worst-case scenario is that if the opposition is fair dinkum about what it is saying tonight, it can come back and make the same motion in February, and it will not have run out of time. It is policy neutral in relation to Aboriginal cultural heritage, but of most concern, I would have thought, to people thinking years down the track is the impact on our rural landscape, which has been under pressure ever since this new form of planning scheme has been in place. Having addressed Ms Mikakos’s issues I now want to pick up on what Mr Atkinson, the mover of the motion, said. He said he is worried that this provision is indiscriminate. Everything in the planning scheme is indiscriminate. ‘Nothing’ means ‘nothing’ under this planning scheme, and that is the way the Liberals, when last in government, designed it. That is the way that Labor, for 11 years, has kept it. It loves it. What we are really debating here is a by-law. There is the Planning and Environment Act, and then there is a by-law to the act, which this thing is. However, what we are told is that it is a wonderful form of law because it is performance-based; it is objective-based. The very things that Mr Atkinson is objecting to today, on behalf of Mr Guy, are in fact objectives; that is all they are. They are objectives to be achieved. We would never vote for an objective-based traffic law. Would we come in here and say, ‘We’re passing this new law and there will be some by-laws worked out later by the minister, but effectively what they will say is that the objective of the traffic law is “Don’t kill people”, and here is a table of preferred maximum speeds’. It would be like these preferred maximum heights that the Liberal-Labor coalition is so keen on when it comes to every other aspect, including the Windsor Hotel, which we could have had a crack at if we had had our chance. Preferred maximum speeds are designed to achieve more objectives. As a driver you can consider the different factors at play. There will be a list. There will be decision guidelines underneath that you have to check off. If someone says you are doing the wrong thing, you go to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, spin the wheel of fortune and argue about whether or not you were speeding. At VCAT you can bring in various kind of road consultants, perhaps physicists, mechanical engineers and so forth to prove that on balance — not as a matter of law, but on balance, when all the different parts of the decision-making guidelines are considered — that you were generally compliant with the preferred maximum speed on the Geelong Road. That is an extremely contrasting example, I have to say, but this is an extremely important issue. We are trying to do some really important things here — maybe not as immediately important as road safety, but important for the entire fate of all the people who live in Melbourne. It is sometimes their physical wellbeing, sometimes their access to buildings, if the question is accessibility and sometimes their ability to afford a house, if the question is affordability, which we can come back to when we debate this motion a bit further. It is very much their direct and daily welfare, but it is also our shared welfare. It is our social, economic and environmental future. It includes things such as biodiversity, which we want to pass on to generations to come and which in a way are not really ours to mess with. We might think we are the Parliament, that we are elected and that people gave us the job to make a lot of decisions, but there are certain decisions that I think should be virtually out of bounds because they are for future generations. We might pride ourselves on being in a liberal democracy, but it was a reasonably democratic liberal democracy that sat down and made the very considered decision to kill all the Tasmanian tigers. Unfortunately today’s Tasmanian Parliament does not get to vote them back into existence. When it comes to matters of biodiversity, environment and the future legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren for many generations to come we have to be extraordinarily careful in the way we exercise that power. Mr Atkinson said he was worried about consultation in relation to the way planning schemes were amended, if I understood him correctly. The mechanisms for consultation and having your say under amendments to the planning scheme I would say are fundamentally the same as they always were under the Kennett government that created this architecture. The bigger question, though — and there is no doubt that Mr Atkinson thinks very deeply about these things — is the proper planning of the city. He said it is the major issue. He said the opposition is not opposed to high density. He said it is not opposed to a number of other things as well. Unfortunately over the four years I have been here I have discovered to my cost that the opposition is not opposed to development assessment committees. It was opposed to them for a while. Then it got scared and decided they were all right. The opposition is not opposed to urban sprawl. It is not opposed to the growth areas infrastructure charge. It is not opposed to raking in the same sorts of donations from developers that the government of the day does, but the opposition thinks the donations are a bit cleaner in its hands simply because it is not the government writing these planning schemes at the moment. However, the opposition is writing them because ever since the Greens have been here we have been bringing these matters up for debate, and the opposition was never opposed to Mr Madden’s intervention on the Yarra River down there at Richmond or down there on the bay — — Mr P. Davis — Yes, we were, actually; some of us were opposed to that. Mr BARBER — No, you may have been opposed, but you did not vote that way, Mr Davis. And you were not opposed to Mr Madden’s intervention down there in Williamstown, despite the fact that the entire community, Joan Kirner, Steve Bracks and the local council were all opposed to that intervention.

The Greens were opposed to it too. The coalition and the Labor Party were not. There is a certain point when you need to be opposed to a few things. It is a good start to say what you are against, what you are not for. If you can go on from that, you can start talking about what you are in favour of. I am in favour of all the things the government lists in its table here. That is what planning is for — it is to allow for changing things we want to change and protecting things we want to protect. Unfortunately Ms Mikakos’s policy-neutral document does not give those sorts of things the protection they need, and therefore I am against it. I am against the lack of protection in Ms Mikakos’s planning scheme, inherited from those guys. Mr Atkinson quite rightly pointed out that in established areas we need infrastructure. He was talking about drains and sewers, but there is a lot more to that when you are running an inner city or even middle suburban municipality. It is very important. That is why the Greens support enhanced developer contribution plans, not just out in the greenfield areas where you have the growth areas infrastructure contribution now but also in established areas where the question of infrastructure provision is a lot harder. The densification builds up very quickly. You cannot simply create new open space. You cannot always shoehorn in community infrastructure such as child-care centres; it is very expensive to do so. What you are really doing is site-by-site development. You are supposed to be giving the money to councils so they can provide something for all of the residents, both established and new, but the trigger is new. If you have ever tried to deal with one of these developer contribution plans, you know it is an absolute nightmare. The way it is structured under the planning scheme and under the Planning and Environment Act makes it not worth doing. It is hopeless. Some councils have looked at doing them. I know the City of Darebin did one and it has barely collected any money from it so far. It probably has not even paid back the cost of going through the exercise, which the government forced it to do.

Business interrupted pursuant to standing orders.

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Comments

Downloading the full document for the Land Use Planning Policy states that one of their key priorities is:

The Australian Greens Victoria will work towards (not promise):
"Increasing state budget rural and regional allocations in percentage terms to stimulate jobs, investment and population in these areas".

Also,
"Mixed use medium density residential, commercial, office and (where appropriate) industrial development being increased in regional centres, small towns and suburban centres, with convenient access to frequent public transport".

They will allow increased urban areas where there is infrastructure in place:
"Greenfield/brownfield land being converted to urban uses only after public transport (electrified rail, tram or bus) construction has been factored into the land development pricing along with local/state government partnerships".

They will also work towards (not promise):
"Creating a permanent green belt around Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary".

They condemn our urban sprawl overtaking fertile lands and threatening the amenities of coastal areas, so will distribute people more to rural and regional areas, not actually stop land subdivision or population growth.
This makes our growth rate more "sustainable"?

Hi Vivienne,

Kennett brought in the policy of rural density with wider definitions of family reunions in country areas and ultimately to cbds as places 'in need of immigration'. Bracks continued this. Brumby continues it. The developers have been stuffing up places like Ballarat and Bendigo, stretching their water supplies beyond their limits in drought periods etc.

Sounds like the Greens are just planning to continue to facilitate the developers in the same bad old tradition as Menzies and all the other land-speculating governments.

The point is, I think, that just because you call yourself 'Green' doesn't mean that you really are.

The use of political brands seems to have been abused in the case of the Victorian Greens.

Why are activists looking to the Greens.

Wake up!

Sheila Newman, population sociologist

Voting 'Greens' has become a protest vote against conservative Lib/Labs - which being so policy-identical ought to consider merging in order to boost their party numbers.

Greens have become leftist Labor.
Greens are about upper middle class idealists. They are not about socio-ecological conservation.

The Greens leave a conservation power vacuum. But should the grassroots campaign hardy Wilderness Society form a political party, it would stand a strong chance of at least a Senate seat in the next round of Federal elections.

Given the indisputable rottenness of both major parties, the Greens should have years ago become a potent third political force with a much larger vote and a much greater represention in all state parliaments and the Federal parliament. That they have not suggests to me that those in control of the Greens actually prefer that they remain ineffective.

This is most convenient for the ruling elites as the energies and talents of those, who would otherwise be far more effective, is diverted into supporting an organisation which seems to have been deliberately crippled as a vehicle for positive change by those in control of it.

The Australian Greens have not even kept the Lib/Lab bastards honest - a default role vacated by the Australian Democrats.

Those controlling the Greens must prefer that the Greens remain ineffective - as if Labor faceless factionalism has infected the Greens as well. It seems all Left-leaning malcontents have gravitated to the Greens, causing it to become a contradictory salad of bohemian tossers.

Indeed, the Greens are reliably ineffective. Ask any community grassroots activist group who has sought the support of The Greens with a campaign. A 'Green Agenda' is an exercise in pontification; a phenomenon to behold! Milly's comment 'Vague answers from Greens' demonstrates this quite poetically.

The Greens are so reliably ineffective that their deceptive lure is more 'effective' than if grassroots activist groups dare approach Nationals for support. At least with the Nationals, a spade is a flamin' shovel and such groups have no doubts where they stand.

Why are Greens so reluctant to admit what the real problem is with the planet is not just anthropogenic "climate change" but overpopulation.?

People are being pushed to live in areas such as below sea level, sensitive coastal areas, on mountainsides or close to native forests. Then they blame the resulting disasters on global warming! Why don't they "draw the dots" and speak out about overpopulation?

With the population expected to increase by a whopping 30% in the next 30 to 50 years, there'll be plenty of new 'global warming disasters' created. Where are all the refugees going to go? We can't welcome them all!

The government is working on carbon pricing, but where is their population control policy? They are under tremendous pressure to increase our economy through population growth. Already we have hit the limits of the environment with Murray Darling food bowl, despite "sustainable" being used in every context.

Immigration is a socially engineered 'population re-distribution policy'. But with 9 billion projected humans on the globe in the next decades, there's only so much space and resources for re-distributing. We all know what causes humans to be born, how about governments invest some money in teaching people about limiting their offspring?

Dr, Martin Luther King said, "Unlike the plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases, which we do not understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution, but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and the education of billions of people who are its victims."

to milly;good question!!!

maybe this quote may help you

" It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of it's powers to repress
dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie and thus by extension, the Truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

Josef Goebbels
Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Nazi Germany 1933-1945

Editorial comment: Whilst there can no little doubt that propagandists, including Josef Goebbels of a past era of history, and today's most influential journalists from this era, implement this philosophy in practice, it is disputed that Josef Goebbels ever actually spoke these words. As put in the article "False Nazi Quotations":

[Josef Goebbels] always maintained that propaganda had to be truthful. That doesn't mean he didn’t lie, but it would be a pretty poor propagandist who publicly proclaimed that he was going to lie. I know of no evidence that he actually said it.

Whilst it is possible that Goebbels never actually publicly uttered these words, it is clear that many of today's opinion moulders are just as much guided by the principle formulated by these words as was Goebbels in his time.

A group of scientists are conducting a survey of microbats in the Melbourne area- see 7.30 Report interview http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2010/s2846593.htm. These tiny bats about the size of a mouse live on insects including mosquitoes and according to a scientist interviewed yesterday on ABC radio there are few backyards where they are not to be found. They are however disappearing through loss of backyard habitat. This will to be our disadvantage not only because of their intrinsic value as unique creatures and fellow mammals but because they take care of many of the mosquitoes who would otherwise bite humans. It is a shame that The Greens (nor the other parties needless to say) do not seem to place a great value on the suburban environment as habitat. Whatever we do with regard to accommodating rising population, we are losing. Although this survey has been going for a few months they are still asking for volunteers to help in this via the Earthwatch website. Dr Lindy Lumsden, an authority on these creatures said in the 7.30 report interview that there are 16 different species and that she has some in captivity that have lived 20 years and still going. I hate to think what other species we will lose in the suburbs of Melbourne in the inexorable and pointless destruction and re building of our suburbs in dense format.

The Green party are a complete and utter waste of space. They are actors in partnership with the current government to make it seem as though they have some opposition concerned about the environment, when really the Greens are part of this government. It always amazes me when people get excited about upcoming elections and who they are going to vote for. It makes no difference who they vote for...as they are all in it together and it has already been decided before the election is over who will run this country...I shouldnt really say run as they are all totally incompetant....but this is the way it has been designed.

Forgot to add this..This is the so called green party that wants to flood our beautiful country with que jumping economic migrants, and the odd one or two genuine asylum seekers.. How long will it be before Australian economic migrants are queing to migrate to other countries for a better life as life for some here is becoming unbearable due to soaring costs. Why should Australians have to pay taxes to provide housing and all other living costs for these economic migrants...That money would be better spent on preserving our vanishing native wildlife.