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Victoria

A "State of Cities" for Victoria


Premier Denis Napthine and Planning Minister Matthew Guy, on Wednesday 9th October, launched the much anticipated planning and transport blueprint, Plan Melbourne, which according to the press release, will shape how Melbournians live and work over the next 40 years.

Despite many worthy motherhood statements of intent in the document, the blueprint will largely be determined by the development industry and property interests, rather than residents. It ignores the fact that hospitals, schools, public transport, roads are already stretched to the limit. The "jobs" is about ramping up opportunities for property developers, and the mortgage industries.

Puppy factories in Victoria - abhorrent conditions could be legalized


Back in 2010, the Victorian Government made a pre-election promise to increase penalties for breeders found committing acts of cruelty and to eliminate illegal and/or poorly run puppy farms. Considering this, it is appalling that the Government is recommended "revisions" to its Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses. This code sets out the minimum standards of accommodation, management and care required by breeding and rearing establishments. This revision would legalise some of the abhorrent conditions and practices regularly seen by RSPCA Inspectors at puppy factories.

(images are the property of Oscar's Law)

VicForests - Lemmings programmed for destruction

Measures are now in front of parliament to allow logging contracts to be signed up to 20 years and give the state-owned timber company VicForests more control over when and where to log.

The Leadbeater's Possum is a nationally threatened species.  II has been estimated that as few as 1,500 of these possums are left in the world. 

Like Lemmings jumping off the cliff towards deliberate mass suicide when their populations explode, VicForests are programmed for destruction.

SPA Stall at Sustainable Living Festival

Once again members of the Victorian and Tasmanian Branch of Sustainable Population Australia braved the usual dreadful hot conditions at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, which has just come to an end.

Abusive state environmental powers must be quelled

As we understand it, individual States are free to “manage” their own (protected) wildlife. However, the "management" of wildlife ends up evolving into a business of exponential commercial proportions, with momentum to keep supplying the meat and skins for domestic use and international export markets. (Photographs by Brett Clifton)

Flying Foxes: DSE and Council should do appropriate research before taking action

Update, 27 June 2014: Added links to other stories, including more recent stories, about the Mitchell River Flying Foxes, in response to more comments: Flying Foxes hounded from their habitat (July 2013(?), Environment East Gippsland), Council keen to remove bat-attracting trees (23/1/14, ABC), Chester backs push for Bairnsdale bats removal (21/5/14, ABC), Flying foxes torment Bairnsdale community like bats out of hell (14/6/14, Herald Sun).

Update, 27 June 2014: Other stories, including more recent stories, about the Mitchell River Flying Foxes: Chester backs push for Bairnsdale bats removal (21/5/14, ABC), Flying foxes torment Bairnsdale community like bats out of hell (14/6/14, Herald Sun), Council keen to remove bat-attracting trees (23/1/14, ABC), Flying Foxes hounded from their habitat (July 2013(?), Environment East Gippsland).

There is a breeding colony of grey headed flying foxes at Bairnsdale in poplar trees along the bank of the Mitchell River in Bairnsdale. It is now threatened by the East Gippsland Shire. This article, by Bob McDonald, contains a fascinating history of flying fox colonies in early Victoria, as well as some keen scientific observations. (Photos also by Bob McDonald.)

Damning DSE and DPI Reports from Victoria Auditor-General


In a report released 24th October, Auditor General Des Pearson said DSE's compliance standards were worse than DPI but neither were adequate. He said neither department could be sure its compliance activities contributed to protecting natural resources, primary industries and the environment as the legislation intended.

AWPC on Flora and fauna negligence

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council has taken unprecedented steps towards preparing a case for negligence against the Victorian Government and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) for failing to protect Victorian Wildlife and failing to assign official 'Threatened Status' to species under threat. The Victorian Auditor General in 2009 warned that the Victorian government had failed to uphold their charter to fully implement the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 but the Government has since done nothing about this. There is at present no effective protection for wildlife in Victoria. The Department of Sustainability has declined into a kind of rubber stamp office-front for shooting licenses with an agenda mostly outsourced to corporate interests for massive urbanisation of the state.

DON'T ALLOW VICTORIA TO BECOME A KILLING FIELD FOR KANGAROOS


The commercial slaughter of Kangaroos was banned in 1982 by the Cain Government but it's reintroduction was raised again in 2002 when the Bracks Government presided and was fully investigated by the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament (ENRC). It was considered unsustainable then due to inadequate numbers of kangaroos, and it's unsustainable now.
Not only is this industry unsustainable and un-Australian but it would bring danger into our bushland where recreational visitors should be safe.
The industry is known for its inhumane treatment of Kangaroos from misfired shots, orphaned young, stress on family mobs through lights and noise, cruel disposal of Joeys and the compromisation of the genetic integrity of the gene pool.

Julianne Bell: Protectors of Public Lands act to save Victoria's environment and heritage

In her submission to the Victorian State Department of Planning and Community Services, Julianne Bell, Secretary of Protectors of Public Lands, quoting Professor Michael Buxton of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) shows how the proposed changes to Victoria's urban planning laws will destroy the quality of life and sustainability of Melbourne.

Victoria: Flinders and Peninsula under attack

MEETING IN FLINDERS COMMUNITY HALL 4 PM SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 15th 2012 The Government and opposition's population engineering continues to wreck havoc on democracy and land-tenure, affecting both private property and public lands, and impacting on established low-key local commerce. New proposed uses for the Green Wedge actually include saw-mills and display homes. The Flinders Community Association have begun issuing an information-packed alert for distribution to the local community detailing the damage that State Government changes to our Green Wedges can do to peoples' local natural, social and commercial environment, whilst removing their ability to defend what is theirs. Other communities may wish to take a similar democratic initiative before all our rights to self-government are swept away by unjust legislation to benefit developers. Note that these moves were begun by the previous Labor Government - which is hardly fighting them now. The incumbent government should be rolling back what Bracks and Brumby did, but instead, they are making things worse.

Private brown coal, public liability? Doesn't sound right.

On the ABC News radio this morning (9 Sept 2012) we heard that private coal companies are demanding compensation for carbon trading costs from the Victorian Government and apparently this is being taken seriously!

Urban sprawl -biodiversity wrecking-ball

The Growling Grass Frog, one of the largest frog species in Australia, was previously widespread across Victoria. They are now endangered. Southern Brown Bandicoots once occurred commonly in the wider Frankston area (pre-1970s). They have rapidly declined and are now restricted to isolated remnant habitat patches. They have little chance of long term survival against the economic benefits of population growth. Without robust ecosystems, with each natural species contributing its part to the web of life, we end in a barren, artificial and sterile, wastelands. (First posted
Posted July 13th, 2012; Reposted July 15, 2012.)

Urgent - Last days to save rare wildlife - stop Baylieu Gov

Please, please follow the recommendations of Jill Redwood and Environment East Gippsland. All of the incredible battles won, rare animals and precious forests will be trashed unless we prevent this new legislation.
Please act ASAP.

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.

Tootgarook Swamp needs you to help it achieve RAMSAR status

Have you spent a lot of time on the Mornington Peninsula, but never heard of Tootgarook Swamp or its values? If your answer is yes, well you aren't the only ones. We were in that position a few months ago too and here is what we've learned since then.

SPA: World population soars to 7 billion but Victoria could keep the lid on it

"Despite this grim picture, unlike global population growth, our own population future is very much under our control and we need not be overwhelmed. Stability of population numbers is within our reach this century. We owe it to Victorians who will be born 50 years from now to take control so that those who come after us can enjoy what we have enjoyed – clean air and water and reliable food and housing supplies. To do nothing is the real crime against humanity." Jill Quirk, President, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) Victoria.

The Triangle Wars - New film about locals successfully stopping undemocratic development in Australia

Trailer-link inside. In May 2007 the Port Phillip City Council unveiled plans for a large-scale commercial development on the St Kilda foreshore - a $400 million mega mall that would comprise 180 shops, a hotel, a supermarket, eight cinemas, a gallery and five bars. Local residents were outraged ...A compelling story of democracy in action in a country where this commodity is increasingly rare and precious, for we are being attacked by growth lobby developer Nazis in every local government and state. Support democracy by seeing the film. Watch the trailer... JUST WON BEST OZ DOCUMENTARY!

Screening details Nova, Carlton Daily: 11:25AM, 3:20PM, 7:05PM
The Classic, Elsternwick Mon, Tue, Wed: 12:30PM, 4:30PM, 8:30PM
The Cameo, Belgrave Mon, Tue, Wed: 2:30PM, 6:40PM


Peninsula Cinema, Sorrento Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon: 9:15PM, Tue: 7:10PM, Wed 9:15PM
Theatre Royal, Castlemaine Thu 20 Oct: 7:30PM, Sat 22 Oct: 12:00PM Sun 23 Oct: 5:00PM, Thu 27 Oct: 9:15PM, Fri 28 Oct: 7:45PM, Sat 29 Oct: 5:30PM, Sun 30 Oct: 5:30PM
State Cinema, Hobart Mon, Tur, Wed: 11:15AM, 5:45PM
Narooma Cinema, Narooma

Developers now appear to have mouthpiece in planning bureaucracy

Participants were shocked recently to hear Ms Prue Digby, Deputy Secretary, Planning and Local Government, Department of Planning and Community Development include in her paper on "housing a growing population" a section on "eliminating the NIMBY culture" at the Informa Australia "Population Australia - 2050 Summit." Article by Julianne Bell.

Injunction against VicForests' logging


The Department of Sustainability and Environment predictably dismissed concerns of conservationists by saying that there was no sign of live possums in the Sylvia Creek coupe at Toolangi, and that it did not meet the legal criteria of prime possum habitat. They won't find what they don't want to!
The Supreme court extended an injunction blocking logging until next February, when it will revisit the matter.

Victoria's Wonthaggi Desal Plant - public demand for Royal Commission

Andrew Chapman is calling for a Royal Commission into the Victorian (Wonthaggi) Desalination Plant. We publish here his comments and some early discussion. We also publish some correspondence with Tim Holding, the Minister for Water under the Brumby government. There seems to be wide support for a royal commission into the matter, which is perceived widely as corrupt. The matter of desalination plants is a huge one in Australia where such plants, not necessary when we had a population of 17m only a decade ago, have been introduced in nearly every state with the excuse that our growing population requires them. The public have not been adequately consulted on the population growth induced by ill-considered government policy nor on the introduction of these plants themselves. What is for sure is that almost no-one likes these plants and governments are bitterly resented for having forced them on Australians. (More about Wonthaggi Desal plant here.)

Banyule Homestead - historical land to be sliced


Banyule Homestead is part of Melbourne's early history, our Victorian heritage, and represents a time of gracious living rarely seen today. The present owner wants to subdivide the land for 3 townhouses. It's development frenzy in Victoria, and everyone wants part of the booty.

Privatisation, Population, Oil, Food Security - Auditor-General Vic's plans 2011-12

Increasing private-public partnerships, contracting out, privatisation, creation of authorities 'outside government' etc over the past 20 years in Victoria "has led to a steady erosion of accountability to Parliament and the public, as these services and the public monies that fund them fall outside existing accountability frameworks and the mandate of this office." (Auditor General, Victoria) The forward plan also notes concerns about population growth, oil supplies and food security.

Victoria's Freeway madness


Studies have shown that the use of these major roads will continue to increase in the years to come. Do we really want our city of Marvellous Melbourne to turn into Los Angeles in a desperate attempt to "solve" our traffic problems? The North East link tunnel/freeway would not alleviate traffic congestion and destroy valuable biodiversity parklands and wetlands.

Parks Vic and DSE fail to protect marine environment: Auditor General Victoria

Victoria's Auditor-General, Des Pearson, this morning (March 2, 2011) tabled the "Environmental Management of Marine Protected Areas" report in the Victorian Parliament: This audit examined how effectively marine protected areas have been managed to protect biodiversity. It assessed the roles of Parks Victoria, and the Departments of Sustainability and Environment and Primary Industries, in the environmental management of marine protected areas. Parks Victoria cannot show that marine biodiversity is being protected or that the related management obligations of applying resources as intended are being discharged. Little environmental management activity is evident across its marine protected areas.

Link to audit summary and full report:
http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports__publications/reports_by_year/2010-11/20110302_marine_parks.aspx

Parks Victoria incompetent management of Invasive weeds and animals: Auditor General

In May, 2010, The Auditor General found that Control of Invasive Plants and Animals in Victoria's Parks was complicated, poorly coordinated, and poorly administered. Around 75 per cent of all plant data and 57 per cent of animal data is over 10 years old, while around 30 per cent of plant and animal data is over 20 years old. Data gathering on new and emerging invasive species is not given sufficient emphasis.

Say NO to a commercial kangaroo industry for Victoria


Victoria's perceived increased kangaroo numbers made headlines when they forced the cancellation of the Hanging Rock Australia Day races. KIAA executive officer John Kelly said developing a management plan was the first step toward legalizing commercial kangaroo harvesting in Victoria. They said that a ban on processing kangaroos was "robbing" farmers of $13 million per year.

Cattle grazing in a National Park - unjustified and unscientific


National parks are protected because they have unspoilt landscapes and a diverse number of native plants and animals. This means that commercial activities such as farming are prohibited, and human activity is strictly monitored.  The return of cattle to the Alpine National Park could thus be illegal.

Victoria - land sales slump but prices reach new heights


Due to greed, favouritism towards developers and population growth, it sounds like land prices may have actually peaked. The “chronic shortages of land” is being blamed, not boosted demand due to population growth. There are limits to growth, including prices. Once prices peak, they will find sales go downwards. It just becomes unaffordable for the average family to buy.

Was the Victorian State Election A Poll on Population Growth?

Julianne Bell and Jill Quirk write that planning issues dogged the Victorian ALP Government, although the ex-Planning Minister seemed remarkably unconcerned about community angst over high rise, high density development. Probably millions of dollars of the community's money and thousands of hours have been spent opposing unwanted, inappropriate developments especially in the established suburbs of Melbourne.

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