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MP Clifford Hayes introduces bill to make VCAT listen to councils

"People have a right to a say in the character of their street, and their neighbourhood. The principle of subsidiarity, of devolving power to the lowest practical level, is important. It is indeed good for people’s mental health if they have a say, and bad for their mental health if they feel powerless. My Bill does two key things – it requires VCAT to follow properly made Council decisions, and it gives Councils, rather than Ministers, the last word on height controls. Hayes says, "At present VCAT is out of control. Its proper role is to ensure that Councils don’t act in an arbitrary or capricious fashion [...]. But VCAT behaves as a Planning Authority in its own right, telling Councils that although the Council wants a height limit of, say, 4 storeys, they think that 6 storeys would be better! Councils should be able to put in place mandatory height controls at a height acceptable to the community. The high rise buildings being approved by Planning Ministers are not in the best interests of residents, overshadowing them and turning Melbourne into a soulless concrete jungle. Communities should have a say in relation to height limits." (MP Clifford Hayes in speech to Protectors of Public Lands Vic. reproduced here.) (Photos by Jill Quirk)

Authorities removing legal protection from nature reserves: study

An https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6443/881international study has revealed extensive removal of legal protection for conservation reserves, at a time when the preservation of these areas is more important than ever to biodiversity. The study, published today in Science, involving a global consortium of researchers led by Conservation International, documents how governments from 73 countries, including Australia, have removed more than 500,000 km2 from protected areas and downgraded protection for an additional 1.65 million km2 to allow greater human impacts.

Kelvin Thomson on defending public land (Speech to PPLVic AGM 11 Nov 2017)

The driving force behind the Protectors of Public Lands, Julianne Bell, passed away on Friday January 27 this year. Julianne was an indefatigable and tireless campaigner for the protection of Melbourne’s public open spaces. She was most well-known as the defender of Royal Park against any and all who would seek to diminish it for their own purposes, and she told me that she was most proud of her role in stopping the East-West Link, a Freeway which would carve up Royal Park in an outrageous act of environmental vandalism. She was the driving force behind this organisation and used it to defend public open spaces far and wide from all manner of threats – the Carlton Gardens, the Catani Gardens, the Exhibition Gardens, the Rogers Memorial Reserve and many others too numerous to mention – no public open space was too far away or too small to merit her attention.

Julianne worked closely with me on the problems caused by Rapid Population growth for the world in general and for Melbourne in particular. She understood that it is people, it is us, who are responsible for environmental damage, and was prepared to cut through the vanity that prevents many of us from acknowledging this. She had worked in the Immigration Department, and told me a number of times about the propensity for migration agents to tell fibs on applications, and the trouble an understaffed Department had in verifying claims and uncovering rorts.

Snap protest at Carlton EW Link Drill Site Tomorrow

Despite the fact there are no publicly available plans for this project, Stage One of construction of the East West Link has already commenced with "geological investigation" (i.e. drilling for soil and rock samples and testing for underground water) along the proposed alignment of the above/under/on ground road way. As spelt out in the Eddington Review of 2008 the freeway/tollway is likely to be open cut through Royal Park. It seems that there has been a total failure to responsibly and democratically consult the Victorian Public on their wishes in this matter as it affects public lands. LOCATION: Meet near the reserve with the drilling rig at the corner of Neill and Canning Streets Carlton outside the Dan O’Connell Hotel starting at 12:30 pm. (Melways Map Reference 2BK4).

BP have Destroyed the Gulf and Now They are Destroying the Desert!

Governments have an extermination program for native fauna in Australia and the U.S. Wild mustangs in Nevada and kangaroos in Australia are both being denied their basic needs for land, grass and water so that they won't be in the way of vested interests such as livestock, gas, oil, mining. No wonder we are in the midst of the 6th Mass Extinction of all species. At the rate we are going there won't be any species left including humans. Ignorant and arrogant governments think that we can survive without biodiversity and the only purpose in being alive is to plunder everything to death. The last thing they care about is the suffering to the animals and the people who love them.

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