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new democratic process

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.

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