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Melbourne's overdevelopment problem

3 Groups censor the rest on population numbers at Planning Backlash Rally 8 June 2017

The Minister for Planning has publicly insisted [1] that Victoria has to fit 10 million people in Victoria with four more million in Melbourne and that that is the reason for the planning dictatorship he is trying to force on Victorians. If we did not 'have' to fit in millions more, no new plan would be 'needed'. Population numbers as a topic dominate the mainstream press,[2] but three residents' action groups in Planning Backlash - possibly trading on their marginal electorate status - reportedly held the rest to ransom for their presence at the Planning Backlash rally on the steps of parliament 8 June 2017. Their ransom was censorship of their fellow groups in a promise that no rally speakers would mention the role that population growth has in driving Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and all the destruction it promises. Even though the Victorian Government has openly published several written policies for massive population growth, [3] the Yarra Residents' Coalition, Brunswick and Moreland groups of Planning Backlash have been identified as censoring debate about this on the very steps of Victoria's parliament.

What next after the 8 June protest? Residents groups on front line of democracy

Victorians and Australians need to initiate a new democratic process and hold to it. Residents' action groups now find themselves at the coal-face of democracy. They are the front line representing the future of our cities, states and this country. Their task is to identify, defend, and establish new property, community and natural environment rights and the implied citizens' rights that accompany these rights. We can no longer rely on the traditional environment NGOs or alternative political parties to represent us on these fundamental problems. They have been silenced by one means or another. Twenty years ago no-one would have contemplated making Planning Minister Mr Wynn's statements on drive-time ABC radio that we have to fit in 10 million more people in Victoria with four more million in Melbourne. This insane proposition is not the end of it by any means, either. Not only would Melbourne keep on growing, but most state governments are trying to force similar changes on their residents and the property development lobby has in the past admitted to the desire for something like 50 new mega cities around Australia, with eight new ones currently on the drawing board. The scale of these commercial projects will demand authoritarian regimes similar to China's. The looming privatisation of the planning system carries a danger of law suits from commercial developers against government, resident groups and private individuals if they try to object to any and all constructions. This paper proposes starting the new democratic process using the Planning Backlash Residents' Bill of Rights document and building on this. Victoria lacks any effective democratic process except state and council elections, but these elections give almost no rights to citizens and residents, renters or owners. This has to change or we will live in a property-developer-led dictatorship with our population completely replaced and displaced by constant massive construction and infrastructure projects, like those in China.

Michael Bayliss talks on Planning Backlash and the Development Crisis in Melbourne

3CR talkS to Michael Bayliss from Planning Backlash about the development woes facing Melbourne and how this issue will only become more serious in light of plans to further deregulate the planning system. Whether it is increasing densities in the inner suburbs or developing the urban fringe, we are not getting the standard of development that Melbourne requires as we proceed to a low carbon economy. (Article adapted from one published on 3CR at https://www.3cr.org.au/citylimits/episode-201705310900/planning-backlash-and-development-crisis-melbourne. Interview begins at 13.10. [Note that the links to 3CR probably won't work unless you remove the 's' in https. We have added the 's' in order not to be stigmatised by Firefox browsers as displaying 'passive mixed content'.]

Mass immigration grinds big cities to a halt - by Leith van Onselen

Anyone that lives in Sydney or Melbourne will have experienced the crippling rise in congestion on our transport networks first hand. Morning and evening peaks now run for hours, traffic is forever thick on the weekends, and the time taken to travel from point A to point B now takes longer than ever. Article originally published at https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2017/05/mass-immigration-grinds-big-cities-to-halt/

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.]

AWPC: No proper fauna surveys before rezoning land for housing

This week Craig Thomson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, is working on a submission to oppose the rezoning of Melbourne Water land in Rosebud South. Unfortunately he has run into problems getting appropriate ecological information about the site. He wonders if the State Government and Melbourne water have deliberately made the ecological report unavailable. The fauna report relies solely on a habitat assessment and a desktop study for threatened species.

Greens Councillors Vote to Destroy Rushall Reserve - Unique Parkland in North Fitzroy - for Commuter Cycle Path

Greens Councillors Amanda Stone, Sam Gaylard and Misha Coleman voted together with Councillors Stephen Jolly and Jackie Fristacky to give the go ahead to run a cycle path through a natural reserve. Trees will be felled. This was not a foregone result, since the decision was carried only by one in a 5:4 vote. The Greens obviously had a choice, but seem to have chosen to put transport ahead of nature in a very overcrowded area with little access to natural surroundings. This lack of interest in protecting the natural world and our access to it from overdevelopment seems to be an increasing feature of the Greens, particularly to the North of the Yarra.

100s of trees in Whitehorse face the axe despite agreement - please help

This bad news is from Whitehorse where some areas are famous for their bush areas and trees and now the government plans destroying a lot of it and people are angry - do add your voice in support. We are supposed to grow more trees not destroy them like vandals.

Things are no longer quiet around Highett

Here cdb poet, Brolga-Brolga, tells a moral tale of how a number of neighbours clubbed together to speculate on their adjacent land, but when they tried to buy again, they were already priced out of the market. With homage to Barry Humpreys who wrote The Highett Waltz, sung by Dame Edna, and linked to here.

Residents' Bill of Rights (RBR) - Support this brilliant initiative

At the Planning Backlash and Boroondara Residents Action Group "Mad as Hell event" in Camberwell on Sunday 29th May, 2016, BRAG introduced the following draft Resident's Rights Bill. To indicate your support please email drostmary[AT]gmail.com. Among other things it calls for the setting of population growth targets within OECD averages. It thus nails a continuing problem of the moving target in previous population policy claims. Australia lacks a civil rights code, unlike Europe. Our civil rights used to be implicit in our publicly owned resources and services, like water, Telecom, and power. This draft Residents' Bill of Rights is truly impressive in its ability to identify gaps in Australian residents' rights.

Residents seek reclaim crownland church wants to sell as appartments

See inside for a fascinating video account of the history of the law on church land grants in Victoria. A North West Melbourne group is asking for support in their battle to reclaim land for a public park land given by the crown to a Baptist church which no longer wants if for a church. The land now has a value of about $15m and the Baptist organisation wants to sell it off for a dense appartment block. The residents feel that if there is no longer need for a church, the land should revert back to the Crown and citizens and the law seems to clearly support this (see the video). People in North Melbourne are desperately short of open space and need a public park. The church never paid for the land and broke the law many times since the 19th century grant in changing its use.

May 29, 2016 'Mad as hell about planning' public forum, Camberwell

Since 2002 when Melbourne 2030 was quietly introduced by the Bracks’ government (which was intended to be a 30 year plan for Melbourne to make it a more compact city) there have been another 1 million people in Melbourne and 16 new plans introduced in 14 years. The latest is “Plan Melbourne Refresh,” very quickly followed by “Managing Residential Development,” which is a review of the Reformed Residential Zones. You would think that our planners could come up with a long term plan but obviously they are responding to different agendas set by developers. Planning Backlash invites you and your members to a public forum to voice your concerns about the way development is happening in Melbourne. To be held in the Parkview Room, Camberwell Civic Centre, 340 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Sunday 29th May 2016, 2.30 PM.

A West Brunswick Resident’s account of Moreland Council ‘Neighbourhood Centres Strategy’ public meeting for West Brunswick residents

Estonian House, West Brunswick, 24th February
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The crux of this meeting, as presented by Moreland planning staff, is that the previous agreement was voided root-and-branch by the State Government, and in the newly planned Neighbourhood Centres, the allocated zones have been changed somewhat (no-one seemed to recall being given prior notice) and also the previously agreed 3-storey limits (all achieved by quite verbally violent public activity!) have morphed into 4-storey. In the course of the meeting it turned out that 4-storey was not 4-storey mandatory but 4-storey discretionary! The council "hoped" they could make them mandatory. It was impossible despite direct and explicit questioning to find out what was the actual upper height limit is right now, or even if there is an upper height limit.

Pascoe Vale Resident’s account of Moreland Council ‘Neighbourhood Centres Strategy’ public consultation meeting for Pascoe Vale and Oak Park residents, February 2016

I went to the one [meeting] at Pascoe Vale neighbourhood Community Hall. People were hostile. They [Council staff] said they were seeking community input for their submission. One resident said;

'Is it going to be like last time when you had the Moreland Rezoning Community consultations. You didn't give an accurate account of our opinions in your submission. No mention how residents opposed increased density, wanted greater protection etc. Instead you said things like, residents wanted better quality apartments etc. What a load of bullshit, you lot are going to do what you want?'

The residential rezoning merry-go-round continues; First the Coalition; now Labor Screws Moreland Residents

Moreland residents are presently being treated to a new round of ‘consultations’ throughout the municipality, and being indoctrinated by Council staff on the assumed benefits of residential rezoning (radically increased residential densities) and of neighbourhood activity centres as a central feature of the ’20-minute city’. Under this new feudalism, it is expected that residents will access all of their basic material needs and services within a 20 minute walk, bicycle trip, or by public transport. Superficially this may seem a nice idea. On closer scrutiny it is fanciful, so expensive that the necessary additional infrastructure will never be provided, and little more than a pretext for an atrophied Australian business culture dependent upon population growth and capital widening; incapable of building a genuinely modern economy.

Melbourne's daily dose on Talkback Radio

AD Good morning listeners, time to think about getting up. (I already have). Just a few news items before we move into the program and here’s GH with the traffic report.

Mark Allen of Population, Permaculture and Planning vs Peter Newman on Urban Consolidation

Mark Allen from Population Permaculture and Planning locks horns so to speak with West Australian Planning Professor, Professor Newman, over Melbourne's apartment proliferation, in discussion on the Conversation website relating traffic congestion to GDP rather than to population growth, and where the professor has suggested that increasing low cost, low quality, high density appartments would solve housing unaffordability. (If you wish to contribute on The Conversation site, please hit 'newest' on the 'Comments' section to read the latest dialogue at: https://theconversation.com/dont-panic-traffic-congestion-is-not-coming-for-our-cities-45154)

Fairfax sinks to a new low on population growth

The Fairfax media sank to a new low recently in pushing its in-house pro-population bias (in The Age) by publishing commentary on this crucial issue from the Australian Population Institute.

Unfortunately, the article, ‘We should look to the west as our population swells’, by Jane Nathan, 16 July 2015, highlights the way in which the left-liberal establishment in Australia, including Fairfax, now sings from the same song sheet as free-market growth maniacs. While it may be claimed that the population-boosting rant presented in this article is the opinion of the Australian Population Institute and not Fairfax, Fairfax, of course, can exercise considerable bias in its selection of opinion piece commentary. It has a broad menu of pro-population vested interests to choose from. It is worth mentioning that material presented as commentary or opinion does not have to stand up to any serious standard of factual accuracy or rationality in the eyes of the Australian Press Council. Commentary, therefore, provides an opportunity to push an in-house view to extremes without being very accountable about it. Fairfax may respond that ‘balance’ will be struck over the longer-term with the subsequent publication of opposing views. Just when this may occur or whether subsequent opinion would directly address the inaccuracies and bias of commentary like this within a reasonable time frame remains unclear.

Big assault mounted on Queen Victoria Markets - Take note

"The redevelopment and remodelling of the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) plus changes in its functions proposed by the City of Melbourne, led by the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, should be ringing alarm bells amongst Melburnians. This is one of the biggest assaults ever mounted on the QVM in the history of Melbourne." (Julianne Bell, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.)

Julianne Bell report on Transurban & Western Distributor and Defending our parks from commercial development

This is a report on Transurban and the Western Distributor and the Defence of Our Parks from Commercial Development and Takeover by Park Furniture. It also contains details of upcoming Transurban: Western Distributor - Information sessions through the inner west in May and June.

Should all Australians condemn the "No Room for Racism" movement?

On April 4, 2015 the ABC and other new services reported on fierce 'clashes' as a newly formed organisation turned up in large numbers to oppose rallies in several states by a political group called Reclaim Australia.

"Organiser Mel Gregson [1] said No Room for Racism was formed with the express purpose of shutting down the 16 rallies across Australia planned by Reclaim Australia. The Reclaim Australia members, on their facebook page, describe their mission as "We as patriotic Australians need to stand together to stop halal tax, sharia law & islamisation.""

Gregson also campaigned against the Melbourne Tunnel Project.

Reclaim Australia.

So is Gregson, and all who support her, denying people the right to demonstrate peacefully about something they believe in, thereby displaying intolerance and bigotry? If she was at an anti-nuclear demonstration, would she cry "evil capitalism" if thugs hired by the nuclear power lobby turned up for a hostile confrontation against her?

Remarkable: Compulsory acquisition of homes, loss of Victory Square - Orrong Road, Armadale

As if the development and construction of 590 Orrong Road isn't enough, residents at 'ground zero' are now facing compulsory acquisition of their homes. They need your help today. You will also be dismayed to learn that Victory Square is at risk of being yet another sports oval in an area so devoid of passive recreation space. When is enough enough?
Read all about it and take action. Originally published at https://orronggroup.wordpress.com/ as an article posted by Hootville, "Urgent: Council’s plan for parkland next to 590 Orrong Rd".

PPLV news: Authority behind East West link disbanded and other news

It is believed that up until two weeks post election 457 visa workers from Spain and their families were still arriving to work on East West Link. However the latest news is that the Authority behind the East West Link is being disbanded by the Andrews Government. There are, however, still many issues left over from the Napthine Government and East West Link that need to be carefully monitored in the area of environment, democracy and heritage.

Report on Celebration Today at the Zoo re End to East West Link

This article thanks all who attended the celebration today (7 December 2014) to give thanks to the incoming Labor Government and to all who have campaigned for years to save Royal Park and the Zoo from certain destruction should the East West Link be constructed. The article also contains a photo of a concerning note left by East West Connect for a resident, requesting some kind of ongoing involvement in the link.

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

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