You are here

VCAT

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.

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.

Save Our Suburbs sends Vic politicians pre-election planning survey

Save our Suburbs (S.O.S.) have developed the attached survey on planning issues for candidates at the coming State Election. They are writing to ask planning groups to sign on to the survey. They will be listing all groups supporting the survey. The more groups that are signatories, the more influence the Survey will have, both on candidates and political parties, and also in the media.

Moreland City Council - Density at all Costs: Report by Ernest Healy, Moreland Planning Action Group

In this report, Ernest Healy, spokesperson for the Moreland Planning Action Group, concludes that VCAT, together with the MCC, have created a precedent which overrides the intended meaning of government policy. He argues that the meaning of the Victorian government’s Policy on Commercial 1 zone can be interpreted to mean that, if the commercial potential of a commercial 1 site is poor, then its suitability for medium density residential development should also be deemed poor.

A VCAT First: Whitehorse council backs resident group and wins for democracy

Whitehorse Council and WERA joined forces to refuse to agree to amended plans going to VCAT and Deputy President Helen Gibson agreed. So the application has gone back to council. "This is what we have been asking for for years," says Mary Drost of Planning Backlash. "Bring this to the attention of your council and urge them to do the same. The precedent has now been set."

V C A T again - and a resident's disgust with Victoria's injustice system


Another activist writes:

In my voluntary role with WERA [West of Elgar Residents' Association Inc], I have attended hearings on more occasions than I care to remember. Whilst all my experiences were associated with the City of Whitehorse, on ALL those occasions the Council had refused the application. Often the original proposal failed so many of the local planning scheme objectives that it was refused under delegation.

VCAT charges signal return to medieval legal system barring citizen participation

The onerous charges inflicted on citizens attempting to access rights to control over their local environment and government are increasingly medieval. With the Judiciary now almost uniquely serving the corporate sector, one gets the sense that developers truly think they are Lords and that the state government thinks it is a King, and that both see the suburbs as their frontiers and their inhabitants as some insignificant race of beings. It seems clear that capitalism, as practised in Australia, is antithetical to democracy. It is clear that VCAT supports government policy of growth at all costs and that citizens are paying most of those costs, but not getting justice in return.

VCAT - "Responsible to no one and answerable to no one..."

Read this letter sent to the principle registrar of VCAT by a resident from Knoxfield:

Dear VCAT,
I won’t be attending this hearing as I have already wasted too many days off work at previous VCAT hearings.

There is no point in putting in a written submission based on my own objections to this development as VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) have publically stated that concerns/objections by members of the public do not count and won’t be taken into consideration.

Supreme Court today for the Orrong Towers and the Relevance of Residents' Objections in VCAT


"An amazing start to the supreme court case. It was a packed courtroom with standing room only, more than 100 of you came to show resident opposition to VCAT saying that our objections don't count. The outcome of this hearing will affect us all. Barrister Stuart Morris presented the case for the council. It has been suggested that if this case goes against the people that people should write to the Attorney General demanding that VCAT be abolished and they set up a proper simple appeal body for planning issues. The hearing continues tomorrow, Wednesday, and the barrister Chris Canavan will be speaking for the developer. If you have time do go to hear what he has to say for the developer. " (Mary Drost of Planning Backlash).

Stop Press! Tomorrow! [Venue Change] Supreme court challenge to VCAT's say-so that resident opposition irrelevant to planning

NOTE! Venue changed to Court 2, Ground Floor, Old High Court, 450 Little Bourke Street. LAST MINUTE REMINDER ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT APPEAL - TUESDAY 16 AND 17 APRIL 2013. This is about your fundamental property and citizenship rights - the very basis of democracy. Come and sit in the gallery.This involves the Orrong Group. The fact that this case has arisen is a consequence of commercially driven population growth in Victoria and Australia. The Supreme Court has changed the venue for the Hearing tomorrow, commencing at 10.30am.

MEG Submission re VCAT Fee Increases

As a residents’ group which deals with planning procedures, Malvern East Group (MEG) finds that VCAT fails its own mission statements of being a low cost, accessible, efficient and independent tribunal delivering high quality dispute resolution. The institution of draconian fees now dramatically highlights this disconnect.

Kelvin Thomson to Vic Attorney Gen against VCAT proposed fee increases

"I am writing to express my serious concerns regarding the proposed VCAT fee increases. I believe these fee increases will unfairly hurt everyday Victorian residents, by undermining access to, in the words of VCAT’s motto, ‘Fair, Efficient Justice for all Victorians’" (Kelvin Thomson MP to the Victorian Attorney General.)

Proposed VCAT objection fees would paralyse democracy

VCAT is proposing draconian fees on citizens who wish to protect their property and environment from undemocratic corporate backed development and overpopulation. Fees for a citizen lodging an objection to any development in 2012 were $38.80. For 2013 fees are proposed to rise to $731.80 (for developments costed at less than $1.0m) and to $1,462.30 for developments estimated at $1.0m or more. These fees would increase even more in 2014 respectively to: $869.60 and $1,737.90, and, in 2015, respectively, to $1,007.40 and $2,014.80. Add to this the cost of hiring barristers and this will make a complete mockery of democracy, which is already a laughing stock in Victoria anyway. Submission deadline is 5pm Friday 15 February 2013.

Stonnington to Challenge VCAT Decision at Supreme Court

“It is considered that VCAT failed to give due regard to significant community input and has made a decision that is not supported by the local community or Council." (Councillor Chandler).

No justice for citizens from VCAT: Surrey Hills residents and Council ignored

Another case showing just how out of touch VCAT is. Information from the West of Elgar Group (WERA) shows what could happen in your street. So keep alert just in case. The developer is an overseas company and the development is being advertised overseas. The size of some of the units indicates they may only be of interest to the overseas student market. In Surrey Hills, close to Wattle Park tram terminus, and far from shops, developers are buying cheaper land in our local streets. VCAT has just approved an application by an overseas consortium for 32 apartments in such a street. Three development applications for this site have been knocked back. This one breaks rules set for the others. Where is the sense or the justice in this?

VCAT on Westerfield - report by Gillian Collins

Freeway proponents' argument for clearing push prior to provision of net gain offsets:
"Their main argument was that granting this injunction would cost them millions of dollars. They did not challenge that the Incorporated Document said the offsets should be in place prior to construction. They did not produce a list of offsets that are being considered." (Gillian Collins)

Community Concerns over Minister Gate-Crashing Inquiry (Melbourne Parliament)

When the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration hearing convened to hear from Peta Duke on 12 March 2010, she did not attend in answer to the summons. She had written the notorious Media Plan proposing a sham public consultation process to earn favour with the electorate. Mr Madden, who had not been summoned, sat in the chair reserved for the witness – his former Ministerial adviser - and said that he would answer questions. This was a blatant attempt to take over the inquiry being carried out by Parliament into his office’s conduct. - Protectors of Public Lands (Victoria)

What can happen to community groups when they brave VCAT


This interesting letter about the experience of a citizen representing a group's appeal at VCAT vindicates the citizen, educates others about the VCAT attitude, and shows VCAT up.

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)

Subscribe to RSS - VCAT