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Melbourne Future Planning shades of Judge Dredd dystopia

Community groups are making submissions on the Reformed Zones in Victoria. The government's zoning aims to increase commercial areas into residential areas in a serial manner and to intensify activity in the green wedges. The Department of Planning and Community Development has appointed a Ministerial Advisory Committee 'to review all submissions and provide advice back to the government', but the Chairman of the Committee is Geoff Underwood, who is prominent in the affairs of the Australian Population Institute (APop), which is officiated by professional developers and has the primary aim of promoting a huge population for Australia. What chances do robust submissions have with APop defining the parameters of planning in Victoria? See Planning Backlash submission inside.

The zones in question have as their stated objectives 'to better manage growth' and to 'simplify requirements' and to 'allow a broader range of activities to be considered' and 'to ensure that they still reflect the aspirations of all Victorians'.

Despite the latter objective, the zoning, if it remains as it is, will increase the intrusion of commercial areas into residential areas in a serial manner and intensify activity in the green wedges. The government has appointed the Ministerial Advisory Committee to consider all submissions, but the Chairman of the Committee has been prominent in the affairs of the Australian Population Institute from its beginning. APop is officiated by professional developers and has the aim of promoting a huge population for Australia. Along with billionaire, Richard Pratt and Steve Vizard, it played a major role in ex-Premier Steve Bracks's 2002 Melbourne Population Summit which began the current campaign to institute population growth as a norm for Australians and used sophisticated propaganda techniques to do this. See

The members of the committee are:

Geoff Underwood, Secretary to the Victorian Branch of APop

Chris Canavan, QC, represented Hotel Windsor Holdings in their bid to get an extension in time for redevelopment, which had been denied them by this [Baillieu] government.

Joanna Stanley, Communications Consultant with the particular specialty of "Advocacy and influence through media and stakeholder relations," but who is better known as the media spokesperson at Brunswick Residents Unite.

Liz Johnstone, Planner, Planning Institute of Australia and Manager, Planning Policy & Projects, Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).

Planning Backlash's submission

Below is Planning Backlash's submission to the 'Reformed zones for Victoria' Ministerial Advisory Committee. It begins by thanking the Minister for his good work, because of his apparent receptiveness to the need for democratic input, however it then requests very challenging, but absolutely necessary, real reforms.

"Suburban - Residential

We agree with the proposed changes to residential zones as finally we can have the protections against inappropriate development that we have been advocating for since Melbourne 2030 was brought in and forced onto us by the previous government, in spite of our objections. The Residential Zones are excellent and we thank the Minister of Planning for his courage bringing these in, no doubt against the wishes of the DPCD.

However there are a number of points requiring amendment and the Minister has heard us voicing our concerns and has said he is open to change and is waiting for the report of the Review Committee. Our agreement to the whole zone concept is dependent on these amendments, because if these are excluded, the advantages would be seriously compromised.

List of Amendments that we request

1. The Minister will scrap the ‘within 100 metre’ of a commercial zone to prevent commercial creep into residential zones. This can in effect double the business area and has unwanted implications.

2. The Activity Centres will be Principal and Major also central, and must have fixed boundaries, and not extending out 400 metres.

3. Neighbourhood Activity Centres will be just local shopping strips.

4. There will be no population targets.

5. There will be no reduction in residents right to object and appeal.

6. Maximum heights must apply to all buildings in the zone.

7. The only uses not requiring permits in residential zones will be those not requiring permits now. Everything else requires a permit and residents retain the right to object. Current prohibitions must be retained with no dilution of present conditions. Rather, enhance the zones to provide the tools to enable the protection of neighbourhood character.

8. The Council working with residents can say where and how big the residential zones will be and the Minister will approve and the DPCD will not interfere.

9. If the Council wants mandatory heights the Minister will give it and the DPCD will not interfere.

10. No offices and shops as of right in the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) or the General Residential Zone (GRZ).

11. No food and drink premises as of right in RGZ.

12. No medical centres as of right in RGZ, GRZ or Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

13. No place of worship as of right in any residential zones.

14. No changes in size of land where houses can be built without a permit.

15. No to nine metre building heights in NRZ areas as these areas are predominantly one and two storey houses, or in GRZ where it conflicts with the Neighbourhood Character.

16. Neighbourhood character must be considered and this could mean in areas of predominantly single story detached housing that ResCode is varied to suit neighbourhood character, allowing prohibition of boundary to boundary dwellings

17. Height limits must apply to all buildings and not just residential. "

NEW POPULATION BOOK HOLDS SOLUTIONS TO OVERPOPULATION & HABITAT DEPLETION: Sheila Newman has just published new theory in a new book, Demography, Territory & Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations (see link). Two chapters are on multi-species demography, the rest apply the theory to non-industrial societies and the author comes up with a completely new test for the collapse model of Easter Island, which will stun those who thought they knew all about it. Forensic biologist, Hans Brunner writes of it: "This book takes us to a completely new paradigm in multiple species population science. It shows how little we understand, and how much we need to know, of the sexual reactions when closed colonies with an orderly reproduction system are destroyed, be it people or animals."


He didn't seem to like it when Labor was in power.

"Bigger may not be better for Melbourne, says key minister" - Herald Sun, 15/02/2011

MELBOURNE should not become bigger at the expense of its liveability, says a key State Government minister. Planning Minister Matthew Guy blamed the former Labor government for seeking unchecked population growth.

"I think the days of focusing on being the biggest for the sake of being the biggest are over," he told the Herald Sun. "It's no use being the biggest if you're going to sacrifice liveability."

In 2005, then Premier Steve Bracks welcomed Melbourne's rampant growth, saying "we could become the largest capital city in the country, it's a possibility".

Melbourne's population has grown from 3.6 million in 2003-04 to more than four million today and is tipped to pass five million by 2026 given high migrant intakes…

Environment Protection Authority chief executive John Merritt said that population intensity was a threat to the quality of the environment.

Mary Drost, from residents' action group Planning Backlash, said that huge population growth was making Melbourne more and more unliveable. "We are all suffering in the trains, on the roads and in the schools," she said. "We are gradually strangling our city to death."

Julie T -
Nice thought but you are naive if you think that Guy won't rationalize what he said there.
I predict: Guy will say that he only meant with poor planning. He will say that population growth is just fine if it is planned well. And no-one will be able to chase him round the table saying, "That's what the developers and planners ALWAYS say."

The Brumby Government planned and planned and planned. They planned for population growth in the knowledge that it would destroy everyone's quality of life. They do not care about the consequences or they just don't know of them because nothing they care about (money, money and, um... money) is affected by overpopulation if you are on the receiving end. They don't have to live in high rises unless they want to. The rest of us do.

Making sense of what politicians say is like reading tea-leaves. They can read anything into their comments.

Unfortunately for most Melbourne activists and concerned citizens,we have been talking about Melbourne ad nauseum for the last 10 years. It used to be just the place where we lived and was sufficiently easy to live in that we could just get on with our lives. Since population growth was ramped up, Melbourne has become some sort of monster work in progress with no end to its dimensions and mass for which we feel compelled to spend our time examining because if we don't we will have no say in what it could turn into.

The title of the Victorian government document "Melbourne, let's talk about the future" seems innocuous enough. It invites the public to join in the conversation about our city's future. Seems democratic enough? The document covers preliminary thoughts the way Melbourne will grow over the next 40 years. By mid century , Melbourne could well be a city of over 7 million people, possibly 8 going on recent growth rates.

The document is all about managing growth. Successive state government ministers and premiers have claimed they have no control over population growth in Victoria as they have no say in immigration levels. They are simply left to "manage growth. Well how many signals do they send to their federal colleagues that high population growth is causing stress? Instead, they try to attract a greater population to the state. For example, they do this through their website liveinvictoria ( No, the state government is complicit in this process of unending, imposed high population growth which the time of activists and concerned citizens as they try to put out spot fires and mitigate the damage of each new oversized or unwanted housing or infrastructure development. These are unwanted because they steal from the current residents. They steal park land, natural areas and suburban amenity such as light, space and quiet.

The document says "Growth is often seen in a negative light but well managed growth provides the opportunity for Melbourne to address the challenges it faces and for communities and for communities and individuals to achieve their aspirations." Que? Could we not do this without a huge influx of people?

I suppose if it were really true that we must have unending population growth and if our available resources and climate were going to remain favourable to us as they have been all our lives (none of which is the case) the document would not be as annoying as it is. It is available at,-lets-talk-about-the-future. You can make comments on it until March 2013.