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Mary Drost

Mary Drost reports on Meeting with President of VCAT 18 April 2017

Mary Drost, (Convenor of Planning Backlash Inc), Joanna Stanley (Brunswick Residents Group), and Ann Reid (Convenor of Malvern East Group) met VCAT President Justice Greg Garde on Wednesday April 18. One of our objectives in having this meeting was to persuade him to arrange a forum for residents such as the ones previously arranged by Justice Kevin Bell and Iain Ross some years ago. Both of those men had actually listened to residents and had approached the then Attorney General to have some changes made to procedure so the "natural justice" would get more attention in the Planning and Environment section of VCAT than had previously been the case. Alas, apart from two minor changes no actual reform was permitted.

Justice Garde's reaction to our request was interesting. He said he would speak at a meeting but did not seem interested in following the previous Presidents and arranging a meeting to hear residents' opinions. He explained that VCAT was run by handpicked professionals who followed the rules to the letter.

2 Storeys, not tall stories! Ferntree Gully; lots of weekend reading it pays to be informed; Stop Press

Stop Press - Just received this minute. It seems that Josh Frydenberg, Federal member for Boroondara and Minister of Environment, has put an interim protection order on St Kilda Road, as it has been sponsored for National Heritage Protection. I knew this has been proposed by a leader of the Liberals and a leader of Labor. A number of us wrote to Josh urging him to do it. Great news!

Alert! Melbourne Subway plans threaten St Kilda Rd trees, the Domain, the gardens

(Submission inside) Plans for the proposed underground railway from north west to south east of the city are not yet finalised. On Friday the 13th the Minister of Planning said the location of the proposed Domain station may be moved and yet the Age announces 14th Jan that work would begin on Monday the 16th. This is clearly vandalism. They are going to start destroying trees and moving gas and sewer lines at the Domain. Remember that St Kilda Road is heritage listed and Heritage Victoria have received thousands of objections and Heritage Vic have not yet made a determination. One has to wonder how much pressure they are under by this State Government in their determination to start digging. We are sick to death of hearing them say they are 'shovel-ready'. How dare the government say that the damage to St Kilda road will be worth it for the advantage the rail will give. The necessity for this rail is being questioned by respected planners in Melbourne. There are far more important road and rail projects that are needed first.

Hard to believe that they are intent on wrecking one of the most beautiful boulevards in the world. One of the most picturesque parts of Melbourne. Compare this to what London are doing right now - putting in 42 kms of underground from west to east called Crossrail, without disrupting anything up on top. This took years in the planning before one shovel was put in the ground so that they got it perfectly done. Please Minister ask for their help. (Mary Drost, Convenor, Planning Backlash.) [Candobetter.net Editor: Illustrations inserted by candobetter.net editor. See also Submission from the National Trust of Australia. and this Port Phillip Council information about its trees which include the historic St Kilda Road historic boulevard.]

Mary Drost (Planning Backlash) complains to VCAT about the terrible job they are doing

Mary Drost is the convenor of Planning Backlash, a group with a network of 250 residents' groups, which last year held the biggest ever population awareness function in Australia. Recently VCAT issued a very limited survey for users to fill out. Many of the 250 residents' groups in Planning Backlash were formed through bitter experience of appealing to the law via VCAT. Here is what Mary Drost has to say, in her frank and concise manner.

Planning reform (Backlash) candidates in Local Government Elections, Victoria - list

UPDATED Oct 18 Inside is list of names of people running for local councils in Victoria who are members of groups affiliated with Planning Backlash. The list was compiled by Mary Drost, convenor of Planning Backlash, who says it represents 14 councils and it the total she has so far.

Resident planning rights should be strengthened, not watered down - Kelvin Thomson MP, Australia

Federal Labor Member for Wills, Kelvin Thomson, has condemned reports (The Age 29/11/11 ‘Push to cut planning appeals’) that the Victorian Liberal Government is seriously considering proposals to further reduce the rights of residents to object to inappropriate developments in their neighbourhoods. Wills is an electorate in Victoria, Australia, with very high population density.

Should Jeannie Pratt and Elisabeth Murdoch downsize to high rises in Activity Centers to give young people more room?

Committee for Melbourne growthers are scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for new ways to get people to move to the hated high-rises the property development lobby has planned all over Melbourne. Mary Drost says, "Both Andrew McLeod and Bernard Salt are obsessed with growth. It is exactly this growth that is making Melbourne less liveable as everything is overstretched." Jill Quirk asks, "I wonder if Salt and MacLeod think widows Jeannie Pratt or Elisabeth Murdoch should vacate their premises for a flat in an "activity centre" or is just people who inhabit more modest post war triple fronted accommodation who are being asked to move over ?"

More on the Melbourne protest against Bill to Gag local councilors - video

(Photo of Mary Drost)
The Brumby Government tried to undermine this crucial Melbourne Rally and to avoid criticism by announcing they were modifying their offensive Bill, so the mainstream journalists stayed away. But the alternative press is growing and we will not fall for such simple ploys.

Activists co-operate and stop councillor-gag laws (Victoria, Australia)

Today Victorian activist groups working together stopped legislation which could have defined any local councillor who may have previously actively opposed a particular development proposal as an 'interested party' and hence ineligible to vote. Demonstrators wore tape over their mouths on the steps of Victoria's Parliament.

See also: "Backdown on activist councillors", in The Age of 27 Oct 08, "Govt backflip on council conflict of interest legislation" on ABC on 29 Oct 08.

VCAT Community Forum highlights problems fixes none

"VCAT unelected, unaccountable and system has lost all respect from community." VCAT is Victoria's Civil and Administrative Tribunal. (Australia)

Quantock in just released "Planning Backlash" - the movie

Rod Quantock is currently appearing in First Man Standing at Trades Hall in Carlton, 03 9659 5699, but here he is in a stand up role for democracy (which does seem very funny in Victoria) at the Mary Drost-led rally in July.

Melbourne protests mass population growth and its profiteers

For his political courage in speaking out against undemocratic, but mainstream media and government endorsed, growth, actor, Geoffrey Rush deserves particular historic recognition from Australians. He launched a new website: Marvellous Melbourne.

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