Vic State Planning thumbs nose at Victorians as it condemns Macedon Ranges to 50 yrs of developer rule
This disgraceful rebadged “Statement of Planning Policy” for Macedon Ranges (home of Hanging Rock) sets a damaging growth plan in concrete as State policy for Macedon Ranges for the next 50 years, perpetuating the direction of our previous council (and apparently the State government), not the new direction taken by the new councillors.
The fatally flawed “Statement of Planning Policy” for Macedon Ranges is now available as Attachment 5 to the Special Council meeting agenda for Thursday 13th September, available from Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s website. http://www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/About-Council/Our-Council/Meeting-Dates-Agendas-Minutes/Council-Meeting-Agendas-Minutes/Minutes-Agendas
The officer’s recommendation is that council receive (not endorse) the document; makes it clear the document is a creature of the State government; and makes suggestions for some changes. These include requesting Ministerial Guidelines to give direction on how the Statement is to be implemented, because despite recommendations and requirements that the document itself include this fundamental component, it doesn’t.
Minor changes since January simply reshuffle the deckchairs. The gross deficiencies of the original Localised Planning Statement (now re-badged as a Statement of Planning Policy) remain. It’s still a growth plan, it still doesn’t implement the recommendations of the Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee, and – unbelievably – still doesn’t connect with or implement the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes legislation.
So, other than temporarily moving the settlement boundary back to the existing town boundary at Woodend, nothing you or apparently councillors or officers have said has made any difference.
The new (so-called) “Statement of Planning Policy”:
· Doesn’t make policy statements about how things will be done but a series of weak objectives and strategies about how it is hoped things might be done.
· Instead of being based on Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, condemns SPP8 to oblivion. With it goes justification for current planning controls, including protection of township character (which isn’t a “must” in the new Statement), and no further subdivision at Macedon and Mount Macedon.
Still ignores Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee’s recommendations both for preparation of a statement, and policy e.g. “Landscape, biodiversity, cultural heritage and township protection must be a cornerstone of policy protection for the Macedon Ranges. The conservation of the Shire’s landscapes is of critical importance.” Not there.
· Where absolute clarity is demanded it nails nothing down, increasing uncertainty with “encourage”, “discourage”, “aim to”, “voluntary”, “should”, “consider”, “manage”, while “must” is confined to protection of extractive industries.
· Maintains separate policy domains, without saying how all of these work together.
· Is still not binding on public entities (including council), and only requires these bodies to have regard to the Statement, where relevant.
· Still singles out only “significant”, “State” “National” “high value” and “features” as important.
· Promotes extractive industries (making Macedon Ranges a target for them), and still promotes equine and intensive agriculture.
· Forgets to include almost half of the Shire’s drinking water catchments, and still makes biodiversity dependent on a website address.
Provides absolutely no guidance about dwellings or other development in rural areas, or in towns.
· Is still a growth plan that ignores the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes legislation and sets expanded settlement boundaries without parliament’s approval.
· Only provides Woodend with a temporary reprieve by excluding its investigation areas but continues to give a ‘free kick’ to development interests in other towns by including their investigation areas.
· Still doesn’t include settlement boundaries for Gisborne and Romsey.
· Elevates Kyneton to a “Regional Centre” (10,000+ population) and falsely attributes this to the Macedon Ranges Settlement Strategy when the State government is making it so.
Is based on the Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan, current incomplete Macedon Ranges planning scheme and the appalling draft Visitor Economy document.
Includes the previous council’s deplorable In The Rural Living Zone document (the one based on advice from real estate interests) as a reference document AND requires its on-going implementation, including converting high quality agi soils at Romsey and Farming zone at Kyneton into 2ha blocks.
This disgraceful rebadged “Statement of Planning Policy” sets these weak, vague aspirations and a damaging growth plan in concrete as State policy for Macedon Ranges for the next 50 years, perpetuating the direction of our previous council (and apparently the State government), not the new direction taken by the new councillors.
It’s NOT protection in any guise. It takes Macedon Ranges in the opposite direction to protection and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (our existing Statement of Planning Policy), and will have a catastrophic effect on the Shire and its values. It could only be considered an “improvement” over the January Localised Planning Statement if going from bottom of the class to equal bottom is considered an improvement.
Please email your support and encouragement to Macedon Ranges Councillors to not endorse this Statement, and/or attend the special council meeting at Gisborne Shire Offices next Thursday, 7.00pm.
[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected];
And let this be a lesson and warning to any other areas in Victoria that want to become ‘declared areas’.
NEW Minister for Planning says State Government will not protect Macedon Ranges before the state election
Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 Is out-of-date, old-fashioned
First published 30 Oct 2014 by the Macedon Ranges Residents' Association (MRRA) on www.mrra.asn.au.
(30/10/14 - SP) MRRA: If the government now thinks SPP8 – the policy it promised to retain – is so out-of-date, so old-fashioned, it's the fault of the government which has had 4 years to fix it, and honour its election promise to put it in place as State policy. Red Alerts Say No To Suburbia Noticeboard
When elected in 2010, the State government promised to protect Macedon Ranges by reconfirming the 40 year policy – Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, Macedon Ranges and Surrounds – as State planning policy.
Before, and many times since that election, the Minister for Planning has repeatedly publicly stated the government would deliver its promise and protect Macedon Ranges.
Last Tuesday (28/10/14), on ABC Radio 774 (Jon Faine show), the Minister for Planning revealed the State government will not keep its promise to protect Macedon Ranges with State policy unless it is re-elected at the State election, now four weeks away.
Listen to the Minister's response to a caller's questions by clicking on the link (starts at 21.57 minutes into the discussion):
https://soundcloud.com/774-abc-melbourne/matthew-guy-on-mornings-with-jon-faine-1 (right click and open in new tab)
The Minister additionally said (mirroring Macedon Ranges Council's argument) that Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 – Macedon Ranges and Surrounds (introduced by the the Hamer government in 1975) is out-of-date and old-fashioned. He said references obsolete planning schemes and policies, and it needs to be 'contemporised' – it couldn't be used in its current form as State policy.
Although Macedon Ranges Shire Council has produced a draft Localised Planning Statement which is not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and introduces different policy settings for the Shire, the Minister said Council had produced a document which fulfilled the government's commitment. He attributed the delay in introducing State policy to an "on-going blue" between the local community (i.e. MRRA) and Council, and pledged the State government would act as mediator in the next round of consultation, if re-elected, ensuring neither party took the lead.
When challenged that failure to deliver State policy and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is a broken promise, he told the caller "you need to have a conversation with your Council instead of blaming others for your own fights".
At this late stage, for a government that vowed it would protect Macedon Ranges with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 as State policy, to now say that policy isn't right, and blame the community for the government's failure to deliver, is a cowardly act, and deplorable.
The government has had four (4) years to get this right. Before the 2010 election, the government didn't say it would protect Macedon Ranges if re-elected for a second term. It didn't have issues with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 when it promised to reinstate it as State policy, and only identifies these now, four weeks from the next election.
To anyone who has attended recent Council meetings, discussion of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in terms of "old" and "old-fashioned" will sound familiar, as will the need to "contemporise" its language. Modern policy uses "encourage" and "limit" but Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is strong policy that says what it means using old-fashioned "shall" and "must" language. This policy, which fits on 2 double-sided A4 pages, has safeguarded Macedon Ranges for 40 years. It's the policy we were promised as State policy and, with such endorsement, can stand alone without reliance on other documents.
The Minister says Council's Localised Planning Statement delivers the government's commitment. But it doesn't. It only "retains" about half of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8's policy, and then only applies that to an area not much more than a quarter of the existing Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 policy area, leaving Woodend, Gisborne, Riddells Creek, Romsey and Lancefield unprotected. SPP8 protects these towns and other areas, Council's LPS doesn't.
It is quite wrong for the government to shift responsibility for its failure to provide the protection it promised to a "blue" between Macedon Ranges Council and a single community group. Doing so fails to recognise that protecting Macedon Ranges and keeping it a rural Shire is a whole-of-community concern. It also overlooks the 3,000 signature petition calling for Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to be reinstated as State policy handed to the (now) Minister in 2010; the recent 6,000 signature petition calling for Hanging Rock to be protected; and the +80% of 1,100 respondents to a recent survey who said the most important issue is protecting Macedon Ranges' environment and rural character. Any "blue" in this case should have been between a State government committed to Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and a Council committed to getting rid of it. The State government instead appears to be favouring Council's position over the community's position.
Since Council adopted its deficient Localised Planning Statement on September 24, MRRA has made numerous requests to the Minister and local politicians for meetings and information about where the government stood on protection, the most recent on 27/10/14 to the Minister for Planning; Donna Petrovich (Liberal candidate for Macedon); and Amanda Millar, Wendy Lovell and Damian Drum (Liberal Upper House representatives for Northern Victoria Region).
From 24 September, Amanda Millar alone responded to MRRA but the information we sought was finally obtained, not by responses to our requests, but from ABC's radio call-in discussion. Two emails to Donna Petrovich requesting a meeting with her went unanswered. In contrast, Mary Anne Thomas (Labor candidate for Macedon) recently met with MRRA.
By breaking its promise, the government has failed the Macedon Ranges' and Victorian community, and opened the door for an already out-of-control Macedon Ranges Council to approve all manner of new development that permanently damages Macedon Ranges' environment and landscape. Council's confidence in having such endorsement is already evident in its latest proposal to carve up the south of this Shire into 4ha and 2ha lots and, without the State policy protection the government pledged, it won't stop there.
Macedon Ranges really needs your help
We are asking (pleading) for everyone’s help to convince the State government to give Macedon Ranges the protection it promised in 2010: State policy in the form of a Localised Planning Statement [LPS] that retains Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 [SPP8].
Macedon Ranges Council has hijacked the ‘protection’ process by producing its very own LPS that isn’t SPP8 but a blueprint for growth and development that damages what everyone values about Macedon Ranges. It won’t keep Macedon Ranges rural; it won’t stop suburbia; and it’s definitely NOT protection. It’s less than we have now.
IF YOU WANT MACEDON RANGES TO STAY RURAL AND BEAUTIFUL, please, please send a short message to the Minister for Planning, and politicians and candidates for this area, telling them the Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement must be Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (not Council’s LPS).
Your message could be something as simple as telling politicians you value Macedon Ranges. It’s a place too beautiful to lose, and you want all of it protected by Statement of Planning Policy No 8 as the Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement (State policy).
You might send your message to just Matthew Guy, Minister for Planning matthe[email protected], or you might send it to them all:
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] wendy[email protected] [email protected]
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] jaala[email protected] [email protected]
The top of the MRRA Home Page links to the “Macedon Ranges Needs You” page which has more information, as well as social media and other contact details for politicians and candidates.
Please use your social media and group networks, and ask family, friends and members of your community groups to send a message (numbers count!). Let’s get this done once and for all. Macedon Ranges has been promised protection for 15 years. We aren’t going to survive without it. With a Council like ours, Macedon Ranges is indeed endangered.
You can also have your say on MRRA’s Twitter (@rangesresidents or https://twitter.com/RangesResidents) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Macedon-Ranges-Residents-Association-Inc/120331464721995) pages. We are aiming for 1,000 likes (Facebook) and 1,000 followers (Twitter) and don’t have anywhere near that at the moment. Can you help us out with a simple click? Knew we could count on you!
Our motto is:
Never ever give up.
But it gets hard sometimes.
Thank you for anything you can do…
Localised Planning Statement - Macedon Ranges loses, not gets, protection
Report about last Monday's information session on Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement, which represents a disaster for Victoria's iconic Macedon Ranges, immortalised in the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. Inside find the report plus planning attachments. This kind of thing is happening all over Victoria as the government tries to insert population growth into any and all communities, including country towns and regions, whilst continuing to cram more people into the cities in a population engineering regime.
Macedon Ranges Residents' Association (MRRA) has updated its website (www.mrra.asn.au) with a report on last Monday’s information session on Council’s Localised Planning Statement. Council’s LPS is a disaster for Macedon Ranges. It’s not what the State government promised – to protect Macedon Ranges and keep Statement of Planning Policy No. 8. Macedon Ranges Council ‘s Localised Planning Statement does neither. This means that, without your help and ministerial intervention, the Macedon Ranges will lose what little protection they have, and be worse off than today.
MRRA has produced a Background & Action Paper about Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (Clause 22.01 in the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme); and what you can do to stop Council replacing SPP8’s “must” policy, which has been in place for 40 years, with Council’s “may” policy (draft LPS) – designed to support and facilitate substantial development of a size, type and in locations not supported in Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (remember Hanging Rock?). A link to downloads, and submission and contact details, is available from the top of MRRA’s Home Page (Statement of Planning Policy No. 8).
If you love Macedon Ranges’ environment, landscapes, open spaces and rural character, thank SPP8 for them still being here. If SPP8 is lost, these values will also be lost.
What you can do:
• Read Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (Clause 22.01) – compare it with Council’s LPS “policy” (the difference will be immediately obvious).
• Make a submission to Council by August 8th (copy to all councillors): (1) rejecting Council’s LPS, (2) telling Council to replace its policy with SPP8 policy and (3) supporting application of SPP8 policy (as the LPS) to the whole Shire.
• Send a copy of your submission to the Minister for Planning Matthew Guy, and Amanda Millar MLC. Tell them we were promised State policy protection and SPP8 - if the LPS isn’t SPP8, it’s not protection.
• You can also send a copy of your submission to the Shadow Minister for Planning, Brian Tee, and Joanne Duncan MLA.
• Ask candidates in the upcoming State election where they stand on SPP8 as State policy, and protecting Macedon Ranges.
• Tell your family, friends, neighbours and social media contacts how important this is, and ask them to make a submission.
• Write letters to local and Melbourne media.
Please circulate this to your friends, family, networks and contacts. It’s important not only to Macedon Ranges but to Victoria. There’s not much point saving Hanging Rock if the rest of Macedon Ranges falls to development.
Respect the Rock! Join Miranda for Live music and political action all day at Hanging Rock Sunday!
Be there! Sunday 23 February, 11.00 am Petanque Pavilion, Hanging Rock Reserve. Live music all day from 11 am - 12pm, Anne Louise Lambert and other speakers plus Live Action Zoo. Join the original Picnicker, Miranda (Anne Louise Lambert, star of the film) for a very special picnic at Hanging Rock. Voice your concern at the lack of community consultation on Macedon Ranges shire Council's proposed large-scale development at Hanging Rock, which includes a conference centre and accommodation facility.
Speakers and Action:
Amanda Millar MP
Joanne Duncan MP
Friends of Hanging Rock.
Sarah Wilkinson, The Beat Bros, Brother Johnstone & Wild Action Zoo.
Note: Hanging Rock Reserve has $10/car entry fee
Miranda is the girl who was lost at Hanging Rock (in the movie, Picnic at Hanging Rock). She’s the character that doesn’t come back. The actress who played Miranda is the one who is coming back to Hanging Rock. Everyone knows her as Miranda.
Macedon Ranges Residents Association (MRRA) is pleased to forward this Hanging Rock Action Group (HRAG) media alert (see below) because (1) it’s exciting, and (2) we support this action.
The HRAG has attempted to convince Macedon Ranges Shire Council to consult the community on its huge and damaging development proposal to put a large hotel, conference centre, restaurant, day spa, accommodation cabins, nature adventure facility, a permanent stage area, yoga facilities, buggy track and other permanent structures at Hanging Rock. Council approved it all without community consultation, and without any justification (e.g. financial, social, or environmental) which stands up to scrutiny.
The HRAG has identified numerous misleading and incorrect statements in Council’s information and reports, which Council declines to correct. There is in fact no credible evidence of any need for the gross development Council proposes. As someone put it, Council’s Hanging Rock proposal is a ‘solution’ in search of a ‘problem’.
Whether you support community consultation, or you oppose any development at Hanging Rock, you can send a message to Macedon Ranges Council about how you feel by being at this very special picnic at Hanging Rock on 23 February. It’s important – as well as lack of appropriate process, if Council’s proposal goes ahead, future generations will never be able to experience and enjoy Hanging Rock the way we all have. Please forward this to your contacts, friends and family. For more information, http://www.hrag.info/
Residents demand better from rogue Macedon Ranges Council
On Wednesday night in icy cold Woodend, it was standing room only as 200 - 250 people filled St. Ambrose's Hall for a public meeting on Settlement Strategy organised by Macedon Ranges Shire Council, where the Mayor tells public 'you can't speak, can't ask questions', but an emphatic community message gets through in the end. "This meeting supports low growth, no rezoning and no expansion of the town boundary at Woodend, and expects Council to support and respect the community’s wishes by rejecting the higher growth scenario and re-instating the exhibited low growth scenario for Woodend."
When's A Public Meeting Not A Public Meeting? When It's In Macedon Ranges Shire...
At a public meeting last Wednesday on the Settlement Strategy, Mayor tells public 'you can't speak, can't ask questions', but an emphatic community message gets through in the end. On Wednesday night in icy cold Woodend, it was standing room only as 200 - 250 people filled St. Ambrose's Hall for a public meeting, organised by Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
The meeting flowed from Cr. Neil Manning's 25th May motion, that Council report back to the community at a public meeting on July 13 after its own meeting with Planning Minister Matthew Guy on June 22.
Mayor Henry McLaughlin addressed the crowd, and announced Council's format for the meeting: people were not allowed to speak or ask questions, nor would Councillors speak or take questions. This stunning announcement was met with instant protests, but despite clear community expectations of a dialogue, the Mayor held firm.
Through the Mayor and the Director of Planning and Environment, Sophie Segafredo, Council voiced its views amidst various comments made in defiance of Council's 'cone of silence', then the Mayor announced the meeting was over and everyone could mingle.
A woman in the crowd said "nobody move!"
A woman in the crowd said "nobody move", and they didn't.
Local resident John Shaw then stood and put a motion from the floor, even though Council had apparently indicated it couldn't be
That motion was:
[MOTION:] "This meeting supports low growth, no rezoning and no expansion of the town boundary at Woodend, and expects Council to support and respect the community’s wishes by rejecting the higher growth scenario and re-instating the exhibited
low growth scenario for Woodend."
While acknowledging that responses would indicate the mood of the meeting only, Mr. Shaw's call for a show of hands saw an estimated 97% for the motion, and about 6 people against it.
People then wanted to know if Council would take notice of the 97%, and were told Council had a copy of the motion.
All nine Councillors attended. Representatives of Villawood Properties P/L were also present.
Ms. Segafredo advised that the Settlement Strategy has been revised yet again, removing the lately included recommendations that Clarkefield become a metropolitan growth centre, which she said had not been supported by the Minister for Planning.
As for Woodend, she said the lately-included higher growth figure of 5,000 within the existing town was about right [it also corresponds with the Department of Planning and Community Development's 'suggested' growth figure]. It wasn't explained why
someone thinks Woodend will grow twice as fast over the next 30 years as it has over the past 15 years.
The higher 5,000 growth figure is apparently considered appropriate because it responds to about 9 submissions Council received supporting higher growth (3) or Villawood (6). On the other hand, hundreds of submissions supporting the exhibited low growth scenario (4,400 people in 2036) were received by Council.
You can now access the re-revised (110714) version of the Settlement Strategy by going to Council's website (#FF5757">www.mrsc.vic.gov.au) and clicking on Draft Settlement Strategy. This is the document Council will consider for approval at its 27 July meeting.
What a public relations disaster!
MRRA says, "What a public relations disaster! Especially for a Council that has already taken a tumble on Community Engagement in the recent 2011 Community Satisfaction Survey.
The meeting was referred to as a public meeting or worse, a community meeting (we note Council calls it a 'public' meeting on its updated draft Settlement Strategy website page). That raises expectations, as someone pointed out, that there would actually be a
conversation between Council and community. The meeting instead had the characteristics of a lecture, with Council taking no prisoners in telling people what they would have. Arrogance came across, as if Council is interpreting the Minister's advice - that Council (and community) would make the decisions on the Settlement Strategy - as 'Council can do whatever it likes'. It can't.
Council's attitude was offensive and disenfranchising, and many left saying Council didn't want to hear, wasn't listening. Others asked when the next election was due.
The day before the meeting, MRRA met (at Council's invitation) with the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Planning and Environment and was advised the meeting would consist of tables with a Councillor at each where people could express their views individually to the individual councillors. This was seen as allowing people to 'have their say'.
Not buying it
Eyebrows aloft, we said we didn't think people would go for it, that there was an obvious expectation of a public meeting, public questions and answers, and interaction with Council. Although the originally-proposed tables were dispensed with on the night, Council ploughed on with a meeting format that was always doomed to fail. As for the latest Settlement Strategy iteration for Woodend, if democracy and hard evidence counts there is surely something wrong when Council says there are 'mixed' views
in the town. All the vast majority of residents want is for Woodend to continue to grow as it has for the past 15 years within its existing boundaries.
There are some 520 - 1,230 potential lots available in existing residential zones, and no-one except those who appear to have a vested interest wants any more created, particularly not the despised 'Villawood' proposal. The Woodend community is not saying no growth, it's saying protect the character and community feel of the town we love and let us hand that on to future generations. Not rocket science by any stretch. Why does Council seem to have so much difficulty understanding that?
Villawood Properties P/L and Davies Hill P/L continued their moronic fear and awe tactics by sending a flyer around to households immediately before the meeting misleadingly depicting landmark sites in the town as victims of infill development if their 550 acres of rural land outside the town boundary isn't transformed into suburban utopia. We hear the companies see Wednesday's
meeting as Council missing the opportunity to put aside everyone's fears about 'Villawood', as if 'Villawood' is the centre of the universe. They patently don't understand Woodend.
Two events after the motion from the floor was put and staunchly supported left an impression.
- Russell Yardley's attempt to address the meeting about growth figures was greeted with groans, and cut short. It seems his earlier attempts to bring 'both sides' together, by trying to convince people they should talk with 'Villawood', have made him an unpopular figure.
A resident who drove 10 hours from Sydney to get to the meeting "because that's how important having a low growth scenario for the town is to him and his family." He won strong applause when he disagreed with Mr. Yardley's view that more consultation on numbers was needed, and said the 97% support for the motion meant something, the people of Woodend were intelligent enough to understand the Settlement Strategy, and Council needed to recognise and respect all of this.
Time to get back on the same bus as the community, Council!
Some Councillors have referred to the Settlement Strategy as a 'document of excellence'. It should be, but isn't near that yet. A
document of excellence is owned by the broad community, (has strong community support), and never responds to - or
even appears to respond to - unjustified agendas and vested interests. A Settlement Strategy is about a collective, agreed, long-term vision, and excellence is when people look back in 25 years and still applaud the objectivity, wisdom and far-sightedness of decision-makers of the day.
If Council thinks being in step with the community it represents is as important as the community thinks it is, there is no doubt that Council now has some huge bridges to mend.
First, have the courage to eat some humble pie: acknowledge the major short-comings of Wednesday's meeting, and pledge to not go there again. Even a large mea culpa may not be enough wash away the anger, cynicism and loss of confidence, but it would signal that Council recognizes the offence, and may recoup some respect for being big enough to admit the mistake. Second, take the 'unjustifieds' that are making so many people unhappy out of the Settlement Strategy - for example, the out-of-the-blue doubling of population at Riddells Creek; the surreptitious and inappropriate support for increased Rural Living zone opportunities* in advance of undertaking a Rural Living Strategy; the extra 1,300 people in Rural Living zones slid into Gisborne on top of the
Gisborne Outline Development Plan's thumping population increase; higher growth in Woodend and anything that can be interpreted as doing Villawood Properties P/L a favour; and rezoning Rural Conservation to commercial at Mt. Macedon.
And be mindful that with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 about to become State policy again, the Settlement Strategy - and growth levels - must be compatible with that policy's objectives of protecting this place from over-development.
Click here to see MRRA's list of problems in the Settlement Strategy.
There is still an opportunity for Council to make amends and get back on track with the community and the Settlement strategy. Will Council take up the challenge?
MRRA has been told these opportunities are justified by the Gisborne and Romsey Outline Development Plans. All we can say is they weren't in the ODPs we read."
National Recognition For Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association Inc
"Keep it rural. Say 'No' to suburbia" is their motto."
Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association Inc [MRRA] - www.mrra.asn.au - established in 1995, has been recognised at National level as part of Australia’s social history.
The National Library of Australia [NLA] and State Library of Victoria [SLV] are currently archiving online publications they consider are of National significance. Last week MRRA received a request from the State Library of Victoria for permission to add the Association and its website to the National Library of Australia’s online archives, in perpetuity. This means the Association’s website will be preserved and maintained permanently, including software and hardware updates as these change over time, to allow continued long-term access.
The National Library will catalogue MRRA’s website and add the record to the National Bibliographic Database (shared by over 1,100 libraries nationwide). The record will also be added to the State Library’s own online catalogue.
President Brian Whitefield said MRRA is absolutely delighted at receiving national recognition. “The Association has worked hard at State and local issues in recent years, and we are really proud of receiving this honour. Our little “home-grown” community website began in March, 2005 as a way of communicating with our members. It has grown ever since, with an amazing number of hits.”
Secretary Christine Pruneau said the request for permission to add MRRA to the National Library archives in Canberra came as a complete surprise. “It seems our website was considered a ‘perfect example’ of a community website dealing with topical and controversial issues. It also provides something of a local history of events in Macedon Ranges. MRRA is a very active organisation, and has a heavy workload, including keeping the website up to date. Somehow you forget the slog and the long hours when something as stunning as this comes along. Suddenly it is all worthwhile, and it’s a great incentive to keep going and try harder.”
Brian and Christine don’t just see it as recognition of MRRA. “We get a lot of help and feedback from the local community, so pat yourselves on the back too. True ‘community’ groups are an integral part of Australia’s social fabric, and we feel the recognition given to us also recognises the role played by other community groups like ours who are out there tackling important issues. Our message to them is, never give up.”
Mt Macedon Ranges under attack by Victorian government
(Photo:Justin Madden, Victorian Planning Minister)
Victorian Planning dictators aim at iconic Macedon Ranges (Hanging Rock region). Where will it end? Call to Victorians and the world ....
We need your help - to help Macedon Ranges.
Revisionist Brumby Planning Dept airbrushes major Planning policy statement
At last Wednesday’s Macedon Ranges Shire Council meeting, Council announced it had received an email from the Department of Planning and Community Development instructing it to remove all references to Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 – Macedon Ranges and Surrounds [SPP8] from the planning scheme. This decision has been made without public consultation.
Significance of SPP8
SPP8 - the ‘Macedon Ranges policy’ – was introduced as State policy underpinned by legislation in 1975. The policy recognises how special, significant and sensitive this area is, and its purpose is to protect Macedon Ranges from overdevelopment and development that damages environmental and landscape qualities.
(Hanging Rock, iconic site of famous schoolgirl disappearance subject of film, Picnic at Hanging Rock)
Since 2000, SPP8 has been downgraded to Local Policy (Clause 22.01). As SPP8 says limit development and maintain rural character, it gets in the way of the current ‘generic’ Victoria Planning Provisions [VPPs] which the government is trying to impose undemocratically on Victorians and their landscape.
Since 2004, MRRA has campaigned to have SPP8 reinstated as State policy so it can again take precedence over other policies and sections in our planning scheme. We’ve had promises to ‘protect’ from Planning Ministers, but it still hasn’t happened.
Soviet style revisionism used for capitalist over-development
Now the Department dictates the removal of this critical policy. References to SPP8 have, without consultation, already been removed from the 2007 Gisborne Outline Development Plan. MRRA wrote to the Minister for Planning, Justin Madden, on August 24 2008 asking to discuss this, but has not yet received a response.
Residents disempowered, democracy gutted, environment unprotected
Despite difficulties implementing it, loss of SPP8 will be a mortal blow for Macedon Ranges. There will be nothing left that recognises the environmental sensitivity of this iconic and historic landscape and sets the mysterious and beautiful, geologically remarkable Macedon Ranges apart from other semi-rural places.
Australians and the world must not accept this. Don't let being outside Australia stop you from showing your support to MRRA. Democracy is a concern for responsible citizens everywhere.
SPP8 needs to become Victorian State policy again. It has to take precedence over the ‘one size fits all’ zones and controls in the VPPs, such as the Residential 1 zone and ResCode, which presently prevail. Development under these policies overwhelms local and regional diversity and human rights to self-government.
The concern of Mt Macedon Residents' Association (MRRA) is so strong that they have started a “Keep Macedon Ranges Rural” petition, to the Victorian Legislative Assembly (lower house).
You can leave a brief comment on this site as well.
Hard copies are also available from secretary[AT]mrra.asn.au. Send signed petition sheets back to MRRA: PO Box 359, Woodend, 3442.
The aim is to get an MP to present the petition to Parliament in early December.
The petition sheets have spaces for signatures on the back of them, so twice the signatures can go on one piece of paper (NOTE: the petition text MUST appear on every petition sheet or the sheet will be rejected). If you print double-sided for signatures on the front and the back, make really sure the petition text appears on the front.
Victorians who would like to do more are urged to network, to link to the MRRA petition site; to send this article on to email contacts; to distribute copies of the petition form to local shops, asking them to put it on their counters; to letterbox their street; to tell friends and family and everyone – Macedon Ranges is of State level significance, (and world-famous) and what happens here is of interest to all. Consider passing the petition around and getting people at work to sign up, or even take a petition form to their friends, family or groups.
And let key politicians know what you think of this planning despotism and vandalism. Your local pollie/s is a good place to start but don’t forget some of the other key players as well, such as Premier Brumby, the Minister for Planning, the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Water. Opposition Shadow ministers and the leaders of all political parties and independents would surely appreciate hearing from you as well. Contact details for the main players are at the MRRA website
What type of Macedon Ranges do we want Victorian and Australian children to inherit: An industrial precinct? A high density, metropolitan landscape? Units or high rise on Mt. Macedon? Housing estates up to Hanging Rock?
This will be the last chance for the public to turn things around for Macedon Ranges. Once SPP8 is gone, it’s gone forever. The time to act is now. It is also a good time to act because the global melt-down has exposed for a scam the develop-and-be-damned policy of Australian state Governments.
Make as much noise as possible.
Tell as many people as possible.
Get as many signatures as possible – thousands!
Let Parliament know that the world is watching and that Victoria means it when it says “Keep Macedon Ranges Rural”.
If you need help or have questions or comments: 03 5427 1481, +61 3 5427 1481 (from overseas), secretary[AT]mrra.asn.au