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Melbourne's population problem

Critique of Environment Victoria's 'Six Steps to Water Leadership' workshop

Thanks for the invitation to be involved in your recent Water leadership workshop. I enjoyed the experience.

Regarding my point about population in the notes you took and have reproduced below, I think your notes play down the problem and don’t reflect the entirely of what I said.

On the current trajectory Melbourne would be 8+ million by 2050- just 34 years away. And it is irresponsible to represent the issue as having any chance of stopping there.

Video: Kennett's 'Commonsense Revolution' and the Melbourne Growth Machine - Speech by Dr Angela Munro

Video inside: The Kennett era in Victoria represented a neoliberal makeover of government, state and local. Swept to power during a global property collapse in 1992, the Liberal premier imposed radical and rapid transformation without electoral platform or forewarning. It was a classic case of the international phenomenon documented by Naomi Klein in Shock Doctrine. This talk focuses on the transformation of the core municipality of greater Melbourne – the Melbourne City Council in its historic context. It was disempowered and its citizens disenfranchised between 1992-9 to give the Growth Machine of property interests and state government free rein. That Machine emerged from the mid 1970s, being reinforced under the previous Labor government, 1982-92, as the manufacturing sector was phased out federally; cranes on the skyline was Premier Cain’s catchcry. Kennett capitalized on a political and institutional tradition in which property interests (entrenched in the Victorian Legislative Council) dominated from inception. Other Australian colonies were founded by government rather than land seekers.

Sheila Newman: Kennett population policy, numbers and flow-ons: Regional migration and industrial law under Kennett

Video inside: This article is the text of a speech by Sheila Newman about how Kennett Government policies pushed up population growth in Victoria and Australia. Whilst many people remained for a long time under the impression that immigration numbers were a Federal domain, he began the practise of using regional migration definitions to attract people to urban Melbourne. He also de-toothed Victorian industrial law, affecting wages, condition and enforcement. The new interpretation of regional migration was adapted by other States and territories. Kennett's attack on Victorian industrial laws would ultimately pave the way for Workchoices and a much less effective system for ensuring that imported workers were not paid less than Australians, creating a new pull-factor in Australia.

SPAVicTas AGM: Dr Angela Munro: "Kennett's 'commonsense revolution' and the Melbourne 'growth machine'" - Sept 5, 2015

UPDATE 29 September 2015, Click here for video of speech.SPAVicTas AGM, 5 September 2015, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, 4th Floor Conference Room: 1.45 for 2pm. Speaker: Dr Angela Munro, Public Policy expert: "Kennett's 'commonsense revolution' and the Melbourne 'growth machine'. "The unilateral substitution of an appointed commission for the elected Melbourne City Council in October, 1993 by the incoming, neoliberal Victorian Government, was followed by its disempowerment as a democratic institution before reinstatement in emasculated form in 1996. The resounding defeat of the Labor government, in 1992, coincided with an unprecedented global property collapse whose cataclysmic economic and political consequences in Melbourne were conducive to this marginalisation of the City Council and citizenry. A historic dual conflict over the governance and development of central Melbourne between the Victorian Government and the City Council on the one hand, and between central city property interests and citizenry on the other, was immediately resolved. Whereas efficiencies justified council amalgamations statewide, the Melbourne City Council was subject to separate and extreme centralisation of state government power, deregulation of urban planning and de-democratisation as a micro CBD council."

Second Victorian Government Brought Down by Rapid Population Growth - Article by Kelvin Thomson

Rapid population growth is political poison, and has brought down a second Victorian Government in four years. In the past decade Australia's migration rate more than doubled. The greatest consequences of this dramatic increase have been in Melbourne, which started growing by more than 200 people a day, 1500 each week, 75,000 each year.

As I pointed out at the time, the adverse consequences of this growth for planning, transport, the environment and the cost of living were crucial in bringing down the former Labor Government. Article originally published on Kelvin Thomson MP's site.

Victorian Candidates who support wider public debate on stable population - per SOS survey

Save our Suburb's Planning Survey exposes some fascinating trends among independents and small parties on population policy. I have put together some data on Victorian candidates for this coming election with regard to the population question on the poll plus any remarks. This was a late night operation and some candidates' remarks were partly obscured in the copy I made. Some Greens said they were in favour of such a policy, but I note that their own policy has for years avoided mentioning immigration and places the issue at a vague global level. It is well-known that this is a contentious issue with the Greens and that members and candidates tend to get punished for mentioning it and every attempt at workable local policy is suffocated from the top. Two Labor candidates - amazingly - said they were in favour of the policy. Note that the responses to the whole questionnaire are available here: http://sos.asn.au/vic/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/141117-Planning-Survey-of-Candidates-RO.xlsx UPDATE: As the survey is updated every 48 hours to include candidate responses, It might be best to use these links: Trend results and Individual candidate responses

Video: Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle supports Referendum on Population Growth

I must start by extending a vote of appreciation to the Mayor for agreeing to debate population growth with Kelvin Thomson. Both debaters and the Moderator respectfully acknowledged the original owners of the land upon which the debate took place, the Wurundjeri.

Mayor Doyle took the position that would guarantee that the ongoing dispossession of the Wurundjeri should continue at an ever escalating rate because it was "inevitable". Kelvin Thomson's position was more respectful of the Wurundjeri and took the opposite view.

Update 14-10-2014: Doyle vs Thomson: Big debate on Victoria's population increase - 13 Oct 2014

UPDATE: For the film of debate click here. The debate was attended by a 200 plus audience. The Lord Mayor showed courage under fire as he went down in the debate with only a pea-shooter of light-weight fashion statements like how many coffee shops Melbourne has vs a steady stream of deadly facts from Mr Thomson. The editors of candobetter.net are working to bring you a film of the debate, plus commentary and interviews with people who attended, ASAP. Mary Drost is to be resounding congratulated for achieving this important democratic event and also for calling for a referendum on population increase, which both Kelvin Thomson and Lord Mayor Doyle agreed would be desirable.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Kelvin Thomson MP will debate the topic of Victoria's rapid and increasing population growth at Deakin Edge in Federation Square from 5.30-7pm on 13 October 2014. A few months ago Planning Backlash leader, Mary Drost, challenged Melbourne Mayor, Robert Doyle, to debate much loved Federal Member of Parliament, Kelvin Thomson, who retained his federal seat by a huge margin in an election where most other members of his party lost their seats. In 2014 Mr Thomson established Victoria First, a not-for-profit NGO to safeguard and enhance Victoria’s way of life against overpopulation. He is the only politician in Victoria to represent the people against the big business drive for rapid population growth.

Flyer attached as PDF, Word.

Yarra Council will join Moreland Council in Supreme Court challenge to East West Link

21 July 2014. Yarra City Council has voted unanimously to join Moreland Council in seeking a judicial review of the Minister for Planning’s approvals for the East West Link and the assessments committee’s recommendation to the Minister.

June 28 East West link tunnel protest brought Melbourne out in force

Congratulations to all who organised, prepared, worked for and took part in the rally yesterday Saturday 28 June . It was a monumental task and a great celebration of community spirit. What was so impressive was the amazing diversity of groups and spread of ages of marchers and participants.

Video: Kelvin Thomson MP for Wills in "Must Melbourne keep growing" forum

Update, 18 June 2014 : Transcript of Kelvin Thomson's speech added.


Find inside the video and transcript of Kelvin Thomson's highly informative speech at the "Must Melbourne keep growing" forum of 14 June 2014.

Taking back the talking stick: Video & Speech by Sheila Newman to 'Must Melbourne keep Growing forum'

Embedded video of speech and transcript inside.
Why is Melbourne's population projected to skyrocket, all of a sudden? What is driving this? Why are people confused between refugees and economic immigration. Why can't we communicate and organise in order to bring the government into line? Why do our governments ignore the people?

Melbourne must stop growing - Packed hall in Hawthorn votes for plebiscite

Videos of KELVIN THOMSON and all panel speakers have been added to this article. Open mic part now published here too. Today, June 14, 2014, a packed hall with people standing at the back in the Hawthorn Arts Centre voted for a national plebiscite to ask the people what size population they wanted. The forum interacted with a panel of four speakers: Kelvin Thomson, MP for Wills; Sheila Newman, Evolutionary Sociologist and Candobetter.net editor and writer; Clifford Hayes, former Bayside Council Mayor and planning activist; and William Bourke, Leader of the Sustainable Population Party. There was a queue for the open microphone and the meeting closed later than expected. All motions passed with an overwhelming show of hands.

Comments on “Greening Our Future” Frankston City’s Draft Environment Strategy 2014-2024

The following article by wildlife biologist Hans Brunner comments on an unrealistic environmental policy statement from Frankston Council. Yet again, an Australian local council behaves as if it believes it can have its environmental cake and eat it. Surely the councilors and staff at Frankston are not really this naive. But if this isn't naivety, what is it? Some think that most people who have responsibility for environment in government mistakenly believe it is about a marketing exercise to develop 'customer' satisfaction; they really don't have a clue about thermodynamics or by what the environment is, that it includes nature, and that our impacts are enormous. - (Candobetter.net editor)

Must Melbourne keep growing? Open Mike Public forum, Hawthorne June 14th

Saturday June 14th at 2.00pm
Hawthorn Arts Centre,
360 Burwood Rd Hawthorn,
Chandelier Room (Melways 45 D10)

Public forum with Kelvin Thomson, William Burke, Sheila Newman, Clifford Hayes and numerous community groups. Sustainable Population Australia & Victoria First are hosting a panel discussion and open mike on Melbourne's population future. The event will be filmed to use as a document to show how Melbourne people feel about overpopulation. "Melbourne's population growth is treated by the media, by governments and by planners as though it is inevitable, giving the impression that the fate of Melbourne is to be a city of 7 to 8 million by mid-century. What the public seldom hears is that Melbourne's huge growth rate is not inevitable, nor that growth of the population does not magically stop at mid-century unless changes to existing trends are made. If present growth rates continued, Melbourne would be a city of about 20 million by the end of the century. The truth is that Melbourne's future could be largely in our own hands. This meeting is a chance for the people of Melbourne to question the ideology that "Melbourne must keep growing"" (Jill Quirk, President SPA Vic & Tas). "Melbourne has been growing by 200 people a day, 1,500 a week and 75,000 each year for some time now. The latest projections are that this rapid growth will escalate still further. But Melbournians are not asked whether this is what we really want for our city." (Kelvin Thomson, President, Victoria First)

Community against EastWest Tunnel head to ALP conference this weekend

The Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel will be setting up tables to lobby those attending the ALP State Conference this weekend at the Moonee Valley Racecourse to reject any contract(s) signed before the State election to build the East West Link. MCAT members will distribute and discuss the attached flyer that argues: The absence of a mandate for the project, the lack of transparency surrounding it and the serious flaws being identified at the hearings before the Assessment Panel lend support to the view that the responsible course of action is to publicly state that any contracts entered into will not be upheld by Labor.

10 May 2014 - Kenneth Davidson "Kleptomania and the Contract State" - Protectors of Public Lands AGM


Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2.15PM Saturday 10 May 2014, Flemington Community Centre: This is an important AGM as the election looms plus the climax of the great East West Link Toll Road battle in which the future of Melbourne is at stake. A question now on everyone's lips is, 'Will the ALP - the State Opposition - listen to the public and renege on the East West Link contracts should they win the election?' (Inside: download speech: "Can Governments break contracts" by Nick Seddon.)

Videos of Professor Buxton's speech at Victoria First in Ringwood, plus questions and comments

Videos inside. Professor Buxton's speech and comments were hair-raising because he acknowledged our dire circumstances. He also confirmed a lot about how little government listens to citizens. Much of this comes out in the speech itself, but more comes out in the comments in the second film. We hope to find time to do a better commentary, with quotes, to whet your appetite and help you distill the information in the films. We would appreciate any help in transcribing the films and possibly subtitling the second because it is at times indistinct due to failure to remember to bring an extension cord for the camcorder. For the moment, however, we are mainly bringing these films to people who will find what Dr Buxton has to say most instructive.

Melbourne's Rapid Population Growth has "Developing World" Status

Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle has called for an end to “dumb growth”, saying the Victorian capital needs to “stop spreading at the edges like some sort of stain”. The former Victorian opposition leader told a seminar on future visions for Melbourne that he was alarmed by new communities springing up in the outer suburbs, marooned from jobs and public transport.

Cr Doyle said the only “smart” way to achieve a “big Melbourne” was to inject new homes into established suburbs and the city's extensive urban renewal areas, such as E-Gate and Fisherman's Bend. He said the City of Melbourne believed an extra 3 million people could comfortably be housed within the current boundaries of the city.

Snap No Tunnels East-West Link protest held Melbourne Parliament House steps today 12 Dec 2013

Chair of the Plan Melbourne Committee, Professor Roz Hansen, has been quoted saying that the government is spending $6 billion to $8 billion on a road solution that belongs in the 1960s or 1970s and that ‘it is not smart, innovative or progressive thinking’. She is thus now in step with majority opinion among Melbourne's community groups. Attendance at the protest today was representitive of the broader community, comprising many members of important community groups, plus the Greens, Opposition politicians, and local government figures. Julianne Bell of Protectors of Public Lands Vic, has been battling to protect one of Melbourne's most important public parks, Royal Park, since 1996, in particuar from the regularly recurring attempts of successive Victorian governments to build the East West Link which would destroy what remains of Royal Park. This is an affront to democracy and would be the theft of one of Mebourne's greatest assets.

If Plan Melbourne were really seeking your opinion then it would not go ahead


Jill Quirk of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), Victorian and Tasmanian Branch, writes about the many problems of Plan Melbourne. Indeed there are so many problems that it is crazy to go ahead. But most of us realize that the Planners and Ministers behind Plan Melbourne intend to just go on driving bulldozers until something bigger stops them or they run out of oil. There is no plan B and so no room to listen to comment. This is a real problem for the rest of us because we live here.

Kelvin Thomson: Melbourne Planning Debacle

A report released by the Federal Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics underlines just how inadequate and incompetent Melbourne’s recent planning has been.

The report analysed population growth, jobs growth and commuter flows in Australia’s four largest cities. It found:

1) Melbourne was the only city in which jobs growth in the outer suburbs had failed to keep pace with the population boom. Parts of outer Melbourne now have less than one job for every three working people, forcing residents to commute further for employment.

2) Eighty-four per cent of outer Melbournians drive to work, the highest level among Australia’s biggest cities, and just 9% use public transport.

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