Rally to “Stop the Great Wall of Frankston,” Saturday 13th May at 10.30 AM, Corner Wells St. and Kananook Creek Frankston. Planning Applications are at Frankston City Council for 14, 15 and 16 storey apartment blocks of up to 60 metres height on the beachside of Nepean Hwy, and only 200 metres from Frankston’s scenic beach. The towers would overshadow Kananook Creek, the beach, nearby homes, exacerbate wind tunnel effects and change the face of Frankston forever.
planning and environment
Contents: Page 1 – Heritage Amendment Bill 2023; Victorian Departmental Restructure; Australian Architecture President Bells the Cat; Legislative Council Planning and Heritage Inquiry; Page 2 – Submissions Closing on World Heritage Management Plan for Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens; Speech to CROWAG, and April Forum; Level Crossing Removal FOI; War on Plastic – Clean Up Australia Day; Page 3 – South Australia’s Planning Minister Flags Change
Presentation by The Hon. Kelvin Thomson, Convenor of Planning Democracy, to Combined Residents of Whitehorse Action Groups, (CROWAG) Wednesday 15 February, Blackburn Lake Visitor Centre.
In this issue: 1.WELCOME TO 2023; 2.VCAT DELAYS; 3.STOP THE GREAT WALL OF FRANKSTON; 4.SUNBURY HIGH RISE TO GO TO VCAT; 5.KILMORE BUSHFIRE EVACUATION ISSUE; 6.BAD NEWS ON THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA; 7. KINGSWOOD GOLF COURSE; 8.477 SYDNEY RD. COBURG – BIKE SPACES, BUT NO CARS PLEASE; 9. PLANNING DEMOCRACY FACEBOOK PAGE; 10. WORLD HERITAGE MANAGEMENT PLAN OVERVIEW; 11.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL COMMITTEE INQUIRY SUBMISSION
The Planning and Heritage Inquiry submissions are up and running and we are hoping you will be able to add something to this, and/or share with other residents. Submissions are due by 31 Jan 22. Anyone who wants to contribute to the adequacy on the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Victorian planning framework in relation to planning and heritage protection is welcome to make a contribution. Areas covered include population policy, state and local; housing costs, vegetation protection, height limits, Green Wedges, concerns about VCAT, protecting heritage.
Incredibly, Heritage Victoria's second formal Permit refusal to allow a developer's plans to build within the tree lined avenue approach to the former Willsmere Hospital is set to be reviewed by Heritage Council Victoria. (See Herald Sun / Progress Leader 31 Oct 2017.) The Heritage Council will hold a Public Hearing commencing on the 18th June 2018 to review Heritage Victoria's rejection of Walker's application to build private apartments on the parkland.
Renewed threat to Kew Cottages Parkland
Sydney billionaire developer, Lang Walker, has lodged an appeal against Heritage Victoria's insistence that the whole of the avenue approach to Willsmere must be properly restored as parkland.
Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition, said today that, "Walker Corporation now appears to have spent over a decade trying to find ways to legally encroach upon this fabulous piece of public parkland."
This is the Sydney developer's fourth attempt to overcome the long standing Heritage permit conditions imposed on the Main Drive Kew housing estate development.
"It's now gone beyond a joke," Brian Walsh commented. "Nothing surprises me any more."
He added, "It appears to me that if developers have enough money, and access to Government bodies, then they can go on appealing against the umpire for ever ! One problem appears to be that although all of the land in question is still public land, Walker has been permitted to use a temporary site office on part of it."
"Now Walker appears to be acting as though that temporary site office gives them 'squatters rights' !"
"This is very strange, because I understand both the developer and the Government gave an undertaking to Heritage Victoria over a decade ago that they would remove the site office, and fully restore the parkland by 2012."
"Perhaps Walker are hoping that the Andrew's Government has quietly forgotten all about that promise made to the people of Victoria way back in 2005 ?"
Commenting further, Mr Walsh said, “This application is also frustrating because it directly stops the creation of the new Kew Arboretum that has been proposed by the Kew Cottages Coalition and mirrors the initial vision of Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller who designed this area (and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria).”
The Heritage Council will hold a Public Hearing commencing on the 18th June 2018 to review Heritage Victoria's rejection of Walker's application to build private apartments on the parkland.
For more information:
Kew Cottages Coalition
M. 0414 979 300
The other day I retrieved a brochure with an illustration like this from my letter box. It was imploring me to take up residence in newly built apartments quite close to where I live. I guess that decor was supposed to sell the sterile looking place to me.
I wouldn't mind if it were a matter of some people choosing to live in this utter beige-ness but my problem is that the whole of Melbourne seems to be in the process of transformation into multiplications of this with a total lack of soul inside and out. They are replacing Edwardain wonders, 20s charm, 30s homeliness, 40s clinker (although not many were built in that decade) and 50s and 60s fun and funkiness.
Barry Humphries used to laugh at the floral axminster and the duck egg blue bedroom walls, the pink baths with matching basins or "vanities", the sandblasted glass double doors and the ducks on the wall.
That's all gone now. No-one would dare! Well no-one of ordinary means would dare venture into any strong colours because you always have to think of the re-sale value of the house, the possible taste of the unknown people who might one day buy your house. Another reason to stay conservative is that you could well be renting and I'm sure those landlords would prefer you to remain in the neutral colour range.
To me this brochure with above photo was sad. They were trying to sell me something with no personality. These promotions frequently spill out of my letter box and if not completely eaten by snails before I retrieve them a shudder goes through me with the thought that I too might be an inhabitant of such a mausoleum. Of course if someone else's personality shone through too strongly in a house I was contemplating I would probably want to subdue it and assert my own taste.
This photo of which we have all seen similar seems to characterize the style of the day, the acceptable digestible purchasable, constipated, safe, respectable human filing cabinet I loathe it . It’s as though it has been run through a machine to determine the colour scheme that won’t offend anyone and then it has been put together by a robot.
Give me the bad taste, the spontaneous joy and love of colour of the home makers of decades past that we enjoyed laughing about. The constrained neutral interior makes me feel more like crying. All it needs is to hang a Howard Arkley print on the wall and the irony of the situation would be complete.
There is his huge gap between what the people want and what politicians and their masters want.
(Cartoon by Jill Quirk.)
I attended a Population Task Force meeting yesterday inMacLeod (for region Ivanhoe and Eltham). There were about 30 in attendance, all but one ‘oldies’, mainly from Ivanhoe/Eaglemont, a couple (myself included) from Eltham.
The convenor was Richard Della Riva who just sat there and looked bored. His electoral office is in Vermont, so he would not know too many people in MacLeod.
The moderator and keynote speaker was a youngish Tim Smith. The presentation lasted less than 15 mins, then it was over to Q&A. I kick-started Q&A by stating that I got the impression this was not about stabilisation of population growth but rather accept growth as a given and then see how it can be managed. I wanted to know what environmental impact study had been done (approving murmurs from the floor ) and was asked to make a submission (which I will asap).
Many objected to population growth
Tim Smith was then hammered by the rest who all complained each in their own way about the population growth, some gave mini-speeches from their seats. He used the excuse – not convincingly - that many of these questions were of a federal nature, again and again he asked people to make a written submission. You can make one at http://vicpopulation.com.au/.
At the end Tim Smith asked by show of hands who thought immigration was too high. Up shot the arms. He re-phrased it: Who thought it was right or not enough? 2 arms out of 30 went up – one woman who spruiked for hemp growing and the one next to me, sent by a church group, who was just interested in getting more refugees. (She stormed out of meeting after closure).
Surely, 30 is not a representative sample, but I thought it very interesting that 28 out of 30 wanted less immigration, and they were all Third Agers plus one young woman in her mid 20s who was very anti-immigration. I gave her a copy of Peter North’s book Growing for Broke, which she very much appreciated.
"As Sustainable Population Australia is an environmentally focused organization, we advocate policies that encourage human activity that is sustainable within finite natural limits and question the ongoing growth paradigm. Growth in the capital cities is reaching limits, whilst coastline development impacts fragile ecosystems. However, inland Australia is more subject to temperature extremes, water shortages and a lack of locational comparative advantage to sustain livelihoods. Within the context of an increasing climate emergency and peak fossil fuel energy, investment will be better spent on resilient communities and foreign aid rather than growth for growth's sake."
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities
SPAVicTas Submission to the Inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is an Australian, member-driven environmental charity which advocates to establish an ecologically sustainable human population. It works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population.
SPA advocates for a generous humanitarian program for refugees whilst addressing the causes of displacement abroad. SPA questions policies that encourage high population growth rates, particularly when motivated by narrow economic goals (e.g. we advocate for lower non-humanitarian immigration). We work with international colleagues to promote rights-based voluntary family planning programs in high fertility countries, and to elevate the rights of women and girls everywhere.
Our main response to the inquiry is for an amendment to Australia’s population policy. Currently, Australia has one of the highest population growth rate in the OECD. According to Australian demographic statistics, Australia grew by 1.6% pa. to the end of 2016, or by 373 000 people:
(1). This is high by world standards. Some states are growing disproportionately faster, e.g. Victoria grows at 2.4%. Most of this growth occurs in the capital cities which absorb around 80% of total growth. Melbourne expands by 92 000 thousand per annum and is Australia’s fastest growing city
(2). This rapid population growth contributes significantly to the difficulty in town planning systems to maintain or improve the functionality of our capital cities.
However, this population growth is not inevitable. Australia could maintain a broadly stable population and maintain humanitarian obligations without any changes to the current birth rate or the humanitarian program. Non-humanitarian (including skilled) migration is the largest driving force behind Australia’s growing population, which is motivated by economic ideology. SPA argues that it is difficult to meet town planning objectives with this rate of population growth, and that an amendment to population policies, in accordance with former MP Kelvin Thomson’s’ 14 point plan would assist in many of the town planning issues impacting our major cities (3).
As Sustainable Population Australia is an environmentally focused organization, we advocate policies that encourage human activity that is sustainable within finite natural limits and question the ongoing growth paradigm. Growth in the capital cities is reaching limits, whilst coastline development impacts fragile ecosystems. However, inland Australia is more subject to temperature extremes, water shortages and a lack of locational comparative advantage to sustain livelihoods. Within the context of an increasing climate emergency and peak fossil fuel energy, investment will be better spent on resilient communities and foreign aid rather than growth for growth's sake.
The submission shall now address the below criteria directly:
1) Sustainability transitions in existing cities2>
• Identifying how the trajectories of existing cities can be directed towards a more sustainable urban form that enhances urban liveability and quality of life and reduces energy, water, and resource consumption;
By virtue of our increasing infrastructure deficit and indicators that our capital cities are struggling to keep up with growth (4), we are becoming increasingly limited in our ability to reduce our per-capita footprint. This is because suburban sprawl requires longer commutes, increased biodiversity loss, loss of agricultural land and all round higher carbon living. Higher density increases the urban heat island effect, and is requiring increasingly costly and high-environmental-impact infrastructure, particularly for transport tunnels. This is where the dichotomy of population versus consumption starts to break down when discussing sustainability. The two are interconnected.
Melbourne and Sydney are both expected to double their population to over 8 million by 2050 by current trajectories. Therefore the impact of energy, water and resource consumption will also double unless drastic measures are implemented quickly to mitigate per capita consumption of these resources. Without amending our current population policy, this means reducing our per capita consumption of energy, water and resources by 50% in 35 years to maintain current levels of total consumption. Furthermore, there is no plan to stop at 8 million – following this path would lock in further subsequent growth. There is a limit to how far per person demand for water and energy can be diminished. Therefore, vast changes to the way we live, requiring sacrifices of amenity, will have little benefit for sustainability in the long run if population growth remains high.
The State of the Environment report in Victoria 2008 (5) refers to population growth and settlement patterns as contributors to degenerating environmental factors in the state. Academic Rachel Carey in Footprint from Melbourne (6) warns of the impacts of urban sprawl on Melbourne’s food bowl. Continued urban sprawl will reduce the city’s food bowl capacity significantly, from 40% currently to around 18% by 2050. The suburban sprawl model is increasingly viewed as an unsustainable way of living. In the documentary ‘The End Of Suburbia’, James Howard Kunstler refers to suburbia as the ‘greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world’ whereas Richard Heinberg states that ‘suburbs wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for cheap oil’.
The current town planning response to suburban sprawl is to (a) develop on brownfield sites and (b) increase density in the inner and middle suburbs. There is however a limit to which brownfield sites can address rapid population growth. To provide an example in Melbourne, the Fishermans Bend urban renewal project in Melbourne will take decades from inception to completion, yet it will only absorb 10 months worth of Melbourne’s population growth. Meanwhile, town planning academics such as Bob Birrell and Michael Buxton criticise the current high rise paradigm. Reasons include that most new apartments are being built to accommodate specific demographic groups (e.g. too small to house families) and that they are geared towards investors. A downside of this is that new apartments are rarely built to last. Melbourne City Council planner Leanne Hodyl released a 2015 report that said high-rise developments were being built at a rate four times higher than that of some of the world’s highest density cities, and the current Victoria state Planning Minister has admitted that many Melbourne apartments are too small, too dark and badly ventilated. The business model driving their construction is clearly not one intended to enhance urban liveability and quality of life. It is one which aims to force residents to accept the style of housing most profitable to developers.
Regardless of the method in which we continue to grow cities, the costs on infrastructure must be considered. A higher population growth rate means a greater proportion of total economic activity has to be dedicated to expanding infrastructure. The public cost (across all levels of government) per extra person for Gross Fixed Capital Formation (largely infrastructure) is at least $100 000 with some estimates much higher. Dr Jane O’Sullivan has explored the correlation of infrastructure costs and population growth in depth:
“These analyses show that acquiring the durable assets to support population growth has historically cost around 6.5-7% of GDP per one percent population growth rate. Thus, if Australia’s growth is 1.5% p.a., around 11-12% of GDP is diverted to the task of acquiring infrastructure and other durable assets, merely to extend to the additional people the level of service already available to the existing population.” (6)
This long-term average cost has been compounded in the last decade by the much higher cost of retrofitting already built-up areas, and the dis-economies of scale of high rise construction. For example, the East west link tunnel was costed at $1 billion per kilometre, around twenty times higher than above-ground roads and rail.
In its 2013 report “An Ageing Australia: preparing for the future”, the Productivity Commission warned that, due to elevated population growth, total private and public investment requirements over the next 50 years are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century. They noted that failure to finance this infrastructure would reduce total factor productivity.
Infrastructure has a considerable financial cost but also an environmental impact as all infrastructure requires the use of scarce resources and energy to make and operate. We are not making our cities more environmentally resilient by concreting over them.
• Considering what regulation and barriers exist that the Commonwealth could influence, and opportunities to cut red tape; and
We advise that many of the issues listed above could be mitigated if the Commonwealth government modified its policy on economically driven population growth so that population growth occurs at a slower rate, and tapers off at an anticipatable level. This will make town planning outcomes such as urban form and environmental objectives much easier to manage. National tax reforms such as negative gearing and capital gains concessions, selling the right to develop rezoned land (to capture the windfall gain in property values from rezoning) and reforms to political donations, may assist in mitigating the lobbying power of property developers and private interests over state and local council town planning decisions.
We reject the claim that housing and infrastructure stress is merely a supply problem and attributable to “regulation, barriers and red tape”. It is mostly a demand “problem”, where demand has been deliberately elevated to the advantage of developers, against the interests of existing residents.
• Examining the national benefits of being a global 'best practice' leader in sustainable urban development.
This would enable our conurbations to be in the best position to adapt to a low carbon economy with the knock-on effect of having far reaching economic benefits. However, if population growth continues at the current rate, we will lose the small window of opportunity we currently have to adapt our conurbations to a low carbon way of living. We must preserve the food bowls around our cities and it is imperative that infrastructure and affordable housing is in sync with population growth. (The lack of public transport infrastructure delivery on the urban fringes for example is very disheartening.) Otherwise we will continue to see an acceleration of car dependent sprawl on the urban fringe as well as a poor standard of urban intensification in the inner and middle suburbs (which instead of helping to reduce sprawl is contributing to it due to the spatial inequality that is apparent when there is a severe lack of social housing in new developments). This will also have huge implications for incoming migrants who will be forced further into non-walkable communities on the urban fringe.
Population growth rate itself diminishes prospects for good urban design. It is impossible to design for perpetual growth. All designs have a carrying capacity, beyond which they become congested and inefficient. If our population growth were slowing toward a predictable stable population level, urban design could optimise the functionality and amenity for that population. A perpetually growing population makes all designs ephemeral fixes. Our major infrastructure must spend half its life inefficiently under-utilised and the other half inefficiently congested. Australians who visit Japan or continental Europe often remark on the quality and efficiency of infrastructure. This has been achieved because their populations have been near stable.
Some growth advocates such as Bernard Salt and Lucy Turnbull advocate modular cities, composed of multiple adjoining “20-minute communities” around their own business centre. This is a fantasy which no real city has achieved. Attempts generally resort to secondary centres remaining dormitories with long commutes. The same can largely be said of regionalisation. The only centres to achieve growth at or above the rate of growth of the capital city are those which have become, through improvement in transport and diminishing expectations of commuters, viable for commuting to the capital.
2) Growing new and transitioning existing sustainable regional cities and towns
• Promoting the development of regional centres, including promoting master planning of regional communities;
• Promoting private investment in regional centres and regional infrastructure;
• Promoting the competitive advantages of regional location for businesses;
• Examining ways urbanisation can be re-directed to achieve more balanced regional development; and
• Identifying the infrastructure requirements for reliable and affordable transport, clean energy, water and waste in a new settlement of reasonable size, located away from existing infrastructure.
According to the Productivity Commission (7), regional Australia is generally not attractive for skilled migrants to settle long term. However, there is sufficient intrastate movement from capital cities to regional Australia (particularly from younger urban families) to assist prosperity in regional areas, if there is indeed demand for growth in those areas. For example, According to recent market research, approximately 450,000 people are planning to move to regional Victoria from Melbourne in the next three years. Increasing Australia’ population through the skilled migration program is not therefore an effective method in increasing population in the regions if current settlement patterns persist.
In the past five years (up until August 2016) Victoria's population has grown by five hundred thousand. Twenty six thousand of this was in Victoria's three main regional cities (8). That translates to just fifteen weeks of Victoria's overall population growth in the years since 2011. The potential for increasing the population of even smaller towns (especially those that are not in commutable distance from Melbourne) is considerably less and in the long term you would only be looking at perhaps a few thousand here and there (which is negligible in face of our current rate of population growth).
Previous attempts to decentralise people and jobs from the cities to the regions in Australia have largely been unsuccessful, though politicians still like to cite this as something that we should do. Most of the growth in regional areas currently occur in the peri-urban areas of capital cities (e.g. Newcastle and Wollongong in NSW, Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria). Many of these town are becoming effectively dormitory suburbs for the capital cities, and people are still dependent on capital cities for work and services. There is a limit however to how large these urban centres can grow before they start to have infrastructure and urban sprawl problems of their own. For example, if most of Victoria's population increase of 100,000 a year were to be directed away from Melbourne, the question remains how large regional Victoria could grow before we need to return to growing Melbourne? (Large regional cities in Victoria such as Geelong are already starting to be impacted with urban sprawl issues of their own.) Within a couple of decades we would be back to where we are now.
In terms of establishing new, self-sufficient urban centres, it is very hard to create a critical mass of economic activity, if there isn't a natural "attractant", and if there is one, you don't need to intervene - a centre will create itself. The problem is not caused by a shortage of people in that location and can't be solved by adding more. It can be argued that we don't have a shortage of people willing to live in rural areas, we have an erosion of livelihoods that rural areas can support (and this has a lot to do with the increasing share of the value of rural products that is captured up-stream in the supply chain). We don't have a skills shortage, we have a situation where employers are not willing to train and pay people enough to do the job. We don't have a shortage of working-age people to build the workforce, we have a shortage of spending, due to too much of people's income being siphoned off to "capital" (housing costs, and profits or interest payments going to overseas investors, or going to Australian investors who reinvest it in ventures that don't employ Australians, like paying ever more for the same piece of land, or gaming the stock market). It is spending that creates demand for workers, and it is lack of demand, not lack of supply, that limits the workforce.
There have been proposals for new cities, including the CLARA smart city scheme, which would include about 8 new cities along the main transport routes between Melbourne and Sydney, housing around 250,000 people each. However, the investment cost seems formidable, which would require around $200b worth of infrastructure over the next 40 years. Even then, this would still only accommodate six years’ worth of population growth.
We note that these new cities would be within the catchment of the Murray River, whose water is already over-allocated. Water could only be provided by withdrawing it from irrigated agriculture, stripping livelihoods from the rural communities throughout the system. Far from revitalising regions, they would directly undermine small communities. The livelihoods within these cities could only be generated by ongoing government intervention, to locate activities there despite lack of natural advantage. Such subsidies can only withdraw more resource away from addressing the intensifying social issues of our capital cities.
Most Australians also prefer the relatively less extreme temperature variations of living near the coast, which is one reason why we are ultimately a nation of urban-conurbations rather than boundless plains. It is hard to conceive that much of inland Australia, with higher temperature extremes, a drier climate and less access to water would be attractive places to settle for many people. To force people to accept these options, in order to mitigate a purely self-inflicted problem of major city congestion, is in no way improving liveability.
For the above reasons, Sustainable Population Australia does not see regional development as a viable solution to solving population growth issues in our capital cities without amendments to national population growth policies.
The concept of regionalisation is used to give the impression that we can enjoy the supposed benefits of population growth while directing the disbenefits elsewhere. Neither the claimed benefits, nor the proposed regionalisation, have foundations in reality. In contrast, reducing Australia’s population growth is very easily achieved, by the Federal government reducing non-humanitarian immigration quotas, just as it was doubled 13 years ago by increasing them. Instead of discussing the multifaceted benefits of reducing population growth, false “solutions” are offered. These range from regionalisation to densifying middle suburbs, massive government spending (and debt) for infrastructure such as schools, public transport and public housing, building smaller homes, and putting tolls on a range of trunk roads in peak periods (9). These options might mitigate some of the loss of liveability that unmanaged population growth would impose, but deliver no improvement on previous conditions. They provide residents with “less for more”, with severely constrained lifestyles and higher costs of living, rather than “enhancing urban liveability and quality of life”.
In conclusion, there are no solutions to the stresses of population growth, without reducing the population growth itself. Individual projects may provide improvement in the short term, but will soon be overtaken by further growth. While good planning can reduce the erosion of living standards, only ending population growth will allow environmental outcomes and liveability to be improved in a sustained manner.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Population http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/mf/3101.0
2. The Conversation - Three charts on Australia’s population shift and the big city squeeze https://theconversation.com/three-charts-on-australias-population-shift-and-the-big-city-squeeze-75544
3. Kelvin Thomson’s 14 Point Plan For Population Reform http://dicksmithpopulation.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Kelvin-Thomson-MPs-14-Point-Plan-November-2009.pdf
4. The Age. Melbourne now as clogged as Sydney, and the city's north-east has worst traffic http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-now-as-clogged-as-sydney-and-the-citys-northeast-has-worst-traffic-20170702-gx2zup.html
5. Comissioner for Environmental Sustainably Victoria: State Of The Environment Report 2008. http://www.ces.vic.gov.au/publications/state-environment-report-2008
6. O’Sullivan, J.N. 2012. The burden of durable asset acquisition in growing populations. Economic Affairs 32(1), 31-37. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0270.2011.02125.x/pdf ; O’Sullivan J.N. 2014. Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure provision and funding in Australia. http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/135517/subdr156-infrastructure.pdf
7. Productivity Commission 2016 – Inquiry Report: Migrant Intake into Australia http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/migrant-intake/report/migrant-intake-report.pdf
8. Networked Rural Councils Program: Rural Migration Trends and Drivers 2012. http://www.ruralcouncilsvictoria.org.au/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-Rural-Migration-Trends-and-Drivers_NRCP-5-2_14-December-2012.pdf
9. Millar R. and Cuthbertson M. 2017-Crammed: Ten ideas for dealing with Melbourne’s population growth. The Age, 8 July 2017. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/crammed-ideas-for-dealing-with-melbournes-booming-population-growth-20170707-gx6rw1.html
SPA Branch President, Victoria and Tasmania
On behalf of Sustainable Population Australia
Some extracts: "What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? [...] Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments! Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb! Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities! Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!" This is from "Howl" by Gregory Corso (1926-1997) was written in 1984. Full poem plus background at http://howlcriticaledition.weebly.com/howl-by-allen-ginsberg.html
Howl (Part II) by Gregory Corso.
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river!
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years’ animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!
Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!
The Minister for Planning has publicly insisted  that Victoria has to fit 10 million people in Victoria with four more million in Melbourne and that that is the reason for the planning dictatorship he is trying to force on Victorians. If we did not 'have' to fit in millions more, no new plan would be 'needed'. Population numbers as a topic dominate the mainstream press, but three residents' action groups in Planning Backlash - possibly trading on their marginal electorate status - reportedly held the rest to ransom for their presence at the Planning Backlash rally on the steps of parliament 8 June 2017. Their ransom was censorship of their fellow groups in a promise that no rally speakers would mention the role that population growth has in driving Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and all the destruction it promises. Even though the Victorian Government has openly published several written policies for massive population growth,  the Yarra Residents' Coalition, Brunswick and Moreland groups of Planning Backlash have been identified as censoring debate about this on the very steps of Victoria's parliament.
In light of this censorship and division, Brad Marsh's statement at the end of his speech, as President of Yarra Residents' Coalition, was ironic, "We have 18 months. Lets work together and see if we can restore democracy to the political decision-making and restore residents' rights."
I protested to Mr Marsh about the censorship and his reply to me was that population was 'complicated' and that the real drivers were money and foreign buyers. My informed response was that the money is to be made through population growth-caused demand and that property is marketed to foreign buyers with the guarantee of population growth pushing prices up. It is extremely difficult for me to believe that Mr Marsh is unaware of this.
Apparently Professor Buxton, together with Mr Marsh, saw it advisable to remove the subject of population growth from those covered by this public meeting.
Well, now that the rally is over and the aim of getting population-discussion-shy groups to come has been achieved, it is important for people to know why population was not mentioned at the rally. It is important because the public are truly mystified by the suppression of real population numbers debate and they don't need more confusion. They suspect that something is going on in the background but rarely does an actual incident of discussion-suppression get reported. People go home with the false idea that they are alone in strongly questioning the state population juggernaut and this makes them less sure of their ground - which is what the growth lobby want.
Several politicians spoke at this meeting, including the Shadow Minister for Planning. One of the strategies in the meeting was the idea of ousting the Labor government for a Liberal Government, in hopes of more friendly planning. There seems to be some substance in the idea that the last Liberal Government, whilst pursuing a similar program of population growth, overdevelopment and deregulation to that of the previous Labor Government, did allow some protections in the form of residential zones, now predictably overturned by Planning Minister Wynne, using the excuse of population growth. Alternating Liberal/Labor governments are like a good cop/bad cop scenario. Mr David Davis, Shadow Minister for Planning (Liberal) made many promises of more friendly planning in his speech at the rally, but the subject of the population driver was not mentioned, of course. A man who identified himself as a member of one of the three groups mentioned above was later heard saying to David Davis (Shadow Minister for Planning) that he was in favour of immigration-fed population growth and David Davis reportedly replied that he was in favour of it too.
The groups that apparently (were they really representative?) wanted population growth left out of the speeches and banners are mostly in Labor and Green electorates, heavily networked by the Socialist Alliance. These north of the Yarra suburbs are already densely packed. Why would people in such overpopulated suburbs apparently be in favour of mass immigration? One explanation is that the Greens and Socialist Alliance activists tend to push open-borders views and to confound multiculturalism with open-ended immigration. Because they lack valid arguments for their positions, they tend to unfairly attack people as 'racist' who don't want mass immigration-fed population growth. This is intimidating and probably stops many people in these suburbs from speaking openly.
Whilst the open-borders ideology is an obvious influence in the inner suburbs north of the Yarra, we should be aware that these views have been covertly nurtured by the property development lobby, which has a record of infiltrating, manipulating and financing people in groups using political activism as a front. See a discussion of this kind of tactic in a Property Council of Australia forum here: Transcript of Growth Lobby video-shocker, "Straightening out B.A.N.A.N.A.S". Unsurprisingly, the Labor Party, which is truly little more than a property speculating corporation, doesn't seem bothered by this activity. (See "Australian Labor Governments or Commercial Corporations?" Many government departments (whether under Liberal and Labor governments) are members of the Property Council of Australia and fail to criticise its overt aims of influencing government to its financial advantage in matters of property and development tax, media influence, and mass immigration.
There are two parts to the attack on our democracy that a rogue Melbourne Planning System carries. One is the way the government 'streamlines' or steamrolls developers' interests over the civil rights and democratic interests of the people living here, citizens and residents. Another is the mass economic immigration that fuels the developers' interests and which the state government invites via its website https://www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au/. Since both phenomena are interwined and mutually dependent, one unable to exist without the other, neither should be left out in a public protest. This is particularly so when you have the opportunity of instructing the passing public about the role of government-pushed mass immigration in overturning our democracy and property rights in the planning system.
Note that the Victorian Government, in its population literature, has totally misled Victorians about its major role in causing population growth and driving overdevelopment, assigning sole responsibility for immigration to the federal government. The chief way that the Victorian government misleads the public is by denying its own role in economic immigration, although its role has been major and structural since the time of Kennett. See "Sheila Newman: Kennett population policy, numbers and flow-ons: Regional migration and industrial law under Kennett". 
 Wynne expressed this imperative to 774 Drive Program host, Raphael Epstein on Friday 26 May 2017. See the following comments: http://candobetter.net/comment/214871#comment-214871, http://candobetter.net/comment/214873#comment-214873, and http://candobetter.net/comment/214882#comment-214882
The Victorian Government has published its population engineering policies for rapid population growth in multiple planning and other documents. See "Towards "Melbourne at 8 million" and beyond", which gives a history of the Victorian Governments' constantly increasing population targets. The Government's population growth policy is a moving target, ever climing upwards and the public have never been consulted, although they have many times expressed their rejection of what is happening.
 Although population growth is a constant topic on the mainstream media, expression of opposition to it is suppressed. True discussion of the pros and cons constantly suppressed in the mainstream media. See, for instance, "Yet again, ABC refuses to discuss population ponzi - by Leith van Onselen".
The gambit of mainstream media and politicians, is to pretend that the only issue in mass immigration is race. They thus racialise the 'debate' and excise the true costs of their ponzi scheme to the general public. When parliamentarians attempt to raise the population numbers issue among their fellows, they are frequently attacked.
 Victorian population growth policy document:
, "Beyond Five Million, The Victorian Government's Population Policy," December 2004.
Repeated here for regional Australia in a government funded 'independent' think-tank: http://inform.regionalaustralia.org.au/population-and-people/population-and-migration/item/beyond-five-million-the-victorian-government-s-population-policy
 Victoria in Future 2016, VIF Frequently asked questions: This Victorian Government 'population research' document pretends to educate the public about trends in Victoria's population, but obfuscates the fact that the government's population policy has greatly impacted these 'trends' in the past and plans to in the future - upwards. The chief way that the Victorian government misleads the public is by denying its role in planned immigration, although its role has been major and structural since the time of Kennett. See "Sheila Newman: Kennett population policy, numbers and flow-ons: Regional migration and industrial law under Kennett". Here is a statement by the Victorian Government which crucially misleads the public:
"Net overseas migration
Net overseas migration (NOM) is the difference between people coming to live in Australia and residents leaving to settle overseas.
In the past, natural increase has generally contributed more to Australia's annual population growth than has overseas migration. However, since 2004-05, overseas migration has overtaken natural increase as the major contributor to population growth. In 2014-15, NOM accounted for 54% of the annual population growth of Victoria (ABS cat. no. 3101.0).
[...] In discussing net overseas migration, it needs to be borne in mind that governments have much less control over migration than may be expected. State Governments have no control and can only influence Commonwealth Government through advocacy. In turn, Commonwealth Governments have chosen not to practice rigorous controls over the number of people moving in or out of the country. Numbers of permanent humanitarian and skilled migrants are capped by Commonwealth Government policy. On the other hand, Australian residents, and New Zealanders, come and go without restrictions. The numbers of long term but temporary migrants, such as students, working holiday makers and category 457 migrants, are not capped, nor are those coming under family reunion schemes."
The following article publishes an email sent by Tony Recsei, President of Save our Suburbs NSW, to SOS members and friends. Dated Thursday, 26 May 2016, it is a report on his attendance at a luncheon organised by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) in Paramatta. The GSC is a growth lobby tool. Here Recsei points out that the 30 minute city does not exist as planners describe it and suggests that the Commission should investigate low density cities where the cost of housing is also low and find out what they are doing right, instead of continuing to visit high density cities. See the SOS NSW blogspot here.
Yesterday I attended a luncheon organized by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) at their offices in Parramatta. The GSC was formed to lead metropolitan planning for the Greater Sydney Region. Twelve people attended the luncheon, half of them being members of the GSC including chairperson Lucy Turnbull and chief executive officer Sarah Hill. The rest were from various government and non-government organisations.
A pleasant atmosphere prevailed and people talked freely. GSC Social Commissioner Heather Nesbitt introduced the discussion, emphasizing the need for livability and collaboration and trust. Sarah Hill said priorities include preparing district plans, getting out of the office and talking to people. There needs to be plans for a greater Parramatta, the Western Sydney Airport, linking infrastructure with planning, providing advice to the Minister and making awards and grants. Lucy Turnbull said they will try to get a whole of government approach.
In turn we were each invited to say what we felt.
· Save Our Suburbs focusses on the underlying rationale behind planning in the state. That rationale relates to increasing density. A fundamental tension results as the community does not want increased density. This dichotomy bedevils all attempts at consultation.
· Neither high-profile high-density advocate Professor Peter Newman nor anyone else can give me an example of a high-density city that does not suffer from the ills they claim high-density will alleviate.
· A previous planning minister, Brad Hazard had led a delegation to investigate planning in North America but only visited jurisdictions with high-density policies. They did not visit the more successful cities which happen to have low density policies.
· No advantages claimed for high-density policies stand up to any scrutiny. These policies cause increased congestion, unaffordable housing and adverse health impacts (such as a 70% increase in psychosis). Forcing in high-density when most people want single-residential reduces housing choice. High-density results in excessive greenhouse gas emissions. In high-rise per person energy consumption and embodied energy is double that of single-residential. Such emissions represent 30% of people’s annual emissions while transport represents only 10%.
Lucy Turnbull referred to the “30 minute city” - that is a city divided into sections where people in 30 minutes or less can easily get to work, shops, schools etc. and walk to many destinations. I asked where is such a place. People might initially find a dwelling near their place of work but subsequently change their job without moving house; other members of the household may work or study somewhere else. I pointed such reduction in travel times does not happen in high-density cities. For example Hong Kong has average travel times to work of 47 minutes compared to 35 minutes in Sydney. Also, in Hong Kong only about 20% of people work in the area where they live. This proportion is about the same as in low density Los Angeles. A city with “30 minute” sections is a figment of the imagination.
They asked what North American cities should Brad Hazard have visited. I suggested Houston as an example where houses cost about ¼ of their equivalents in Sydney and suggested the GSC should send a delegation there to see what Houston does right and what it does wrong.
My discussion took about 30 minutes of the 2 hour luncheon time.
As we left one of the GSC members said to me “Keep on keeping us honest”!
The Labor Government in Victoria created these machinally destructive laws after the 2009 bushfires, but the Liberal Government has not questioned them. Those currently heading the Victorian animal holocaust are Dennis Napthine, Premier of Victoria (denis.napthine [ AT ] parliament.vic.gov.au),
Ryan Smith, Environment Victoria Minister (ryan.smith [ AT ] parliament.vic.gov.au) and
#10; peter.w[email protected]">Peter Walsh Minister for Agriculture (peter.walsh [ AT ] parliament.vic.gov.au).
Government burning off decisions arising from the bushfire commission seem mostly based on spin. They do not acknowledge in their methods to avert bushfires the predominant role of humans in starting them. Nature accounts for only about 6% of fires, mostly in the form of lightening. Ninety point nine per cent (90.9%) of vegetation fires are caused by humans through arson (35.2), through 'accidents' (36.2%), by 'incendiary' (? explosions etc) (13.3%), and through prescribed burns reigniting (5.4%). (3.9% are described as 'other'.)
"Bushfire, arson, what do we know now?" (the source of the above graph and figures) is a Productivity Commission report on the role of arson in creating fires. As we might expect of the economic technocracy, one of their recommendations is prescribed burn-offs to limit the arsonist's bang for his/her buck! In other words, do the job for them? Absolutely no regard or even a thought for the living creatures that suffer. The authors note that it is hard to stop arson in large vegetated areas. We note, however, that there has been a huge reduction in parks and forest staff on the ground, like rangers, since the Kennett government 1992-1999, with Labor governments continuing this folly.
Shooters encouraged in parks, but not wildlife carers
Whilst governments are gung-ho to allow shooters into national parks to 'control pests', what about compensating wildlife activists and carers who are willing to roster themselves in forests during the fire-season and to monitor animal welfare and visitor activity, day and night if necessary? People who care for injured wildlife and love the bush are very unlikely to set fire to habitat.
Faulty bushfire management compounds faulty climate change management
The values of the Liberal Government avoid the issue of climate change. Their population growth and development policies (like the Labor government's before them, despite the rhetoric) actively increase high carbon-emission producing activities and drying and warming of land. Much of Australia's carbon emissions come from land-clearing, but in Victoria (and Australia) the government is encouraging more new development, and consequently more land-clearing. As well, intensification of development means that people are confined to small airless and eaveless appartments which can only be cooled by air-conditioners, which put heat into the air outside and demand more coal-fired electricity to run. Victoria's grotesque 'planning policies' increase local heat island effect and the overall risk of the climate heating and drying. We note that Victoria is soon to subject VCAT to committee regulation that will see even less control over the 'planning' that is overrunning our democracy and heating our environment.
The mass media and government have avoided acknowledging the demonstrable fact that old growth forests burn much less than new or 'managed' forests. New forests and plantations dry through thinning or through repeated burnoffs which then favour combustible vegetation that survives fires, thus creating a man-made fire-vulnerable landscape and reduction to inland rainfall. The prescribed annual burn-off target greatly increases the drying of vegetated land and vegetation kinds. Trees not only create local 'heat islands' but vast old-growth forests cool vast portions of the environment as well as efficiently regulating below-ground and above ground hydration through transpiration.
For those who were in Victoria during the 2009 fires, and remember the heat leading up to the fires, the active promotion through legislation of these drying factors (although in guise of fire-precautions) is insane. At best it appears like gross incoordination of knowledge and policy; at worst it seems quasi-homicidal.
Government by the ethically bereft in Victoria and Australia
It is as if we are governed by a self-appointed moneyed caste which has lost all respect for nature, other species and the citizens of Victoria themselves. The environmental laws are flouted and then, when attention is drawn to this, our corrupt parliaments simply change the laws.
For those of us who grew up in a social environment that enjoyed the outdoors and strongly valued passive interaction with native wildlife, with a culture of wildlife protection and respect, this is shocking. We realise that we are ruled by a planning technocracy that has no higher human values, makes empty promises, speaks in cliches, and makes laws to advantage its members.
It has taken many of us decades to accept that this is really what is happening. At best we are witnesses to great callousness, at worst we are witness to the construction by elites of a kind of civilisation that is only concerned with enriching a small elite at the expense of their fellows and the total destruction of the natural world.
The people responsible are obviously not able to work out the ultimate consequences of their policies, which will see a so-degraded Austrlaia that survival for most, if not all, will become doubtful. They are also not scientists, except in the technologies that further their immediate wealth. They have no humane philosophies. If they are religious, it is with dogmas that blind them to consequences and help them to further their own immediate interests. They are like Steven King's Tommyknockers, whom education has equipped with "a limited form of genius which makes them very inventive, but does not provide any philosophical or ethical insight. Instead, it provokes psychotic violence."
This class is also ruling all states of Australia.
Inquiry into 2009 bushfires
The article below is a report on the inquiry into the 2009 Victorian bushfires, which were among the most frightening ever, occurring in deadly temperatures in the mid-forties. It shows the typical approach of the mainstream media, which always backs the status quo and attributes science and foresight to the establishment in its conditioning comments about how 'scientific evaluations have always been part of intelligent fuel reduction strategy' and its illogical conclusion that 'an effective wildfire control strategy must attempt to control fires throughout the forests. The paragraphs quoted below, however, also contain telling comments from environmentalists, but these paragraphs were right at the end of the full article, where most people never read. To consign these important observations to the end of the article, naturally diminishes their value in the readers' eyes. Also, note the use of 'experts' in the Royal Commission. Experts are usually part of the establishment. If you are not part of the establishment or disagree with it, then newspapers are unlikely to call you an 'expert'.
"Environmentalists, who for years have opposed fuel-reduction burns on the grounds that they damage the environment, have taken a new tack. The Greens, for example, now claim that they never opposed prescribed burning, but wanted a scientific evaluation of each burn conducted before it was approved, to ensure the survival of fauna and flora.
While this sounds reasonable, the fact is that these considerations have always been part of an intelligent fuel-reduction strategy, which must recognise that fires have been a natural feature of the bush, and it can be assumed that fauna and flora are adapted to survive low-to-moderate intensity fires.
[Candobetter comment: The huge arbitrary annual target promotes a regularity of holocaust that was never present in the environment where Australian animals evolved. Furthermore, this pyromaniacal target occurs in the most cleared state and where wildlife are threatened by many other intensifying and expanding processes. To cite evolutionary theory under these conditions is inappropriate and has grave consequences, as we see in the film above.]
Another line of attack, put forward by some environmental groups in central Victoria, is that the DSE should be setting fire to grass and weeds in close proximity to housing, rather than burning forests.
A spokesman for the groups said, "We cannot understand why DES fuel-reduction teams keep burning public forest blocks, when the dangerous areas closer to settlements are neglected." (Bendigo Advertiser, March 24, 2010).
Another member claimed that the DSE had produced no research analysing the effect of fuel-reduction burns on central Victoria's box-ironbark forests. The groups had adopted the motto, "Hazards not Hectares", to emphasise the need for burns in high-risk areas, rather than large areas of bush.
However, an effective wildfire control strategy must attempt to control fires throughout the forests, without neglecting high-risk areas close to human habitation. " (Source: "BUSHFIRES: Victoria changes tack on fuel-reduction burns," by Peter Westmore, News Weekly, April 17, 2010
 Such as those of Maryland Wilson, Malcolm Legg and Hans Brunner http://candobetter.net/?q=node/1012 and http://candobetter.net/?q=taxonomy/term/73over years on the Mornington Peninsula, attempting to link Greensbush National Park with Devilbend Reservoir, sundry then extant green paces and Frankston Reservoir. All eroded by development and then all prospects of a corridor completely destroyed - some would say gratuitously - by Peninsula Link - which could have provided many underpasses and overpasses but only provided one, in the Pines Flora and Fauna reserve, where the local Frankston Council then failed to use money allocated by government to install a predator proof fence to protect the local bandicoot population, which then became extinct. Now our only hope is a southern brown bandicoot program in the Werribee Zoo. Imagine! Needing a zoo to preserve this once common animal. Everything, from kangaroos to platypuses is now stuck in the remaining isolated and dwindling patches of habitat on Mornington Peninsula, which has been targeted for growth since Jeff Kennet made it part of Greater Melbourne. Instead of a green peninsula biosphere once touted, the Victorian government intends to build new roads and railway down to Hastings Port, of which 400 ha it then means for intensive industrial development.
 "GENERAL BUSINESS
7 JULY 2014
10. CHANGES TO THE VICTORIAN AND CIVIL ADMINISTRATIVE (VCAT) ACT
Planning Appeals Coordinator: Gareth Gale
General Manager Planning & Development: Stuart Draffin
The purpose of this report is to brief Councillors on changes made by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) Amendment Bill 2014.
On 1 April 2014, the VCAT Amendment Bill 2014 received Royal Assent, and became effective on 2 June 2014. No community consultation occurred as part of this Amendment.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment Bill 2014 contains substantial reforms relevant to the planning jurisdiction.
Most significantly, the reforms would enable the Tribunal to:
1. Invite a responsible authority to reconsider its decision at any time in a review proceeding
2. Make an order in relation to fees (including application and hearing fees), separate from its power to award costs
3. More actively manage the use and giving of expert evidence in proceedings
4. Make an order removing a person as a party to a proceeding if it considers that:
•??the person's interests are not affected by the proceeding; or
•??the person is not a proper or necessary party to the proceeding
5. Delegate certain functions of the Tribunal (such as making procedural orders or consent orders) to its registrars.
It is the first two reforms that are likely to be of most significance to Council. Below is a summary of those two proposed reforms.
New section 51A - Tribunal May Invite Decision-Maker to Reconsider Decision
In the context of the planning jurisdiction, this new provision would enable the Tribunal to invite a responsible authority (usually Council) to reconsider its decision at any time in the proceeding. The new section provides that on receiving the invitation to reconsider, the responsible authority may:
•??Affirm the decision
•??Vary the decision
•??Set aside the decision and substitute a new decision for it.
The new provision requires the Tribunal to ensure that, as far as possible, a proceeding's priority is not affected by inviting the responsible authority to reconsider its decision (unless the parties consent). As a consequence, the Tribunal may specify a timeframe within which a responsible authority may reconsider its decision.
One possible opportunity for Council to reconsider its decision might be following mediation and/or the amendment of plans. However, this process only seems warranted in order to avoid a hearing extending across multiple days – cases which are generally contained within the Major Cases List. Given there is clear intent in the new provisions to ensure a proceeding is not delayed further, coupled with the fact that all Major Cases List applications have hearings listed only six weeks after any mediation, it is difficult to contemplate under what circumstance this process will be useful.
It is further noted that Council already has the opportunity to reconsider its position during a VCAT process. As such, this change to the VCAT Act might not offer any new real change other than introducing a more formal mechanism to do so. This new process raises a number of procedural questions which are yet to be understood.
New Section 115 – New Power to Make Orders in Relation to Fees
This section provides that the Tribunal may, at any time, make an order that a party to
•??Reimburse another party the whole or any part of any fee paid by that other party in the proceeding;
•??Pay, on behalf of another party, the whole or any part of any fee that may be required to be paid in the future by that other party in the proceeding;
•??Reimburse another party the whole or any part of any fee that may be paid in the future by that other party in the proceeding; and
•??Require a party to pay the whole or any part of a fee in future in the proceeding.
The key area that this could be useful for Council is in Enforcement Order Applications (EAO’s). Given EAO’s are generally only made in the situation where Council is forced to do so, the Tribunal could award the reimbursement of the $802 fee to Council.
The new changes to the VCAT have been introduced with little forewarning or consultation.
The implications of the changes, and particularly those at the new section 51A, are unclear amongst those working within the planning profession. At this stage, there appears little opportunity to enact this new provision, particularly given there is clear intent in the new provisions to ensure a proceeding is not delayed further.
The new changes will be monitored to better inform our understanding of how they will affect Council and other stakeholders.
HUMAN RIGHTS CONSIDERATION
The recommendation complies with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and
Responsibilities Act 2006.
That Council note this report."
 Quote from Wikipedia summary of the plot of Steven King's The Tommyknockers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tommyknockers
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/
Item 6.3, MCC Futures Committee Meeting on 10 December 2013: "Council’s submission should state ‘up front’ that it opposes the East West Link project. This inner urban freeway project will undermine, erode and destroy part of Royal Park being a special place of state and metropolitan significance, as well as a signature feature of Melbourne’s renowned network of large parks and gardens. These much valued public assets are integral to our city’s liveability and distinctiveness. We are not being asked by government if we want this project – we are being told we must have it noting that there isn’t a week that goes by that the evidence against this project grows and grows." Roz Hansen
Below is the rest of Dr Hansen’s submission to Item 6.3 Future Melbourne (Transport) Committee on 10 December 2013 on the East West Link
The Terms of Reference for the CIS hearing process is effectively seeking to gag local government and the people of Melbourne from expressing their opinions on whether or not this is the Number 1 infrastructure project for the next 10 years of capital expenditure. Well the reality is there is not enough money to do both the East West Link and the much needed public transport, cycling and walking network improvements. If we have to make a choice due to funding constraints then it is not the East West Link project.
Permanently scarring our inner urban landscape and especially our parkland with Los Angeles style flyovers, stark concrete viaducts and road canyons sends a clear message to the public that firstly Melbourne’s legacy of parkland is expendable and secondly, road building overrides public transport improvements.
It also sends a clear message to the international community that our government and its team of transport engineers are out of touch with ‘best practice’ transport planning. Metropolitan road transport solutions used in the 1960s and 70s do not make a great 21st century city. The East West link concept and design is adopting old technology - it is not smart, innovative or progressive thinking.
The top two issues that Melburnians raised during the preparation of the new metropolitan planning strategy whilst I chaired the Ministerial Advisory Committee were improvements to public transport and protection and enhancement of public open space.
This is also planning and designing for half a road network in terms of east west road access. It is fraught with problems, as well as showing a short sighted and politically expedient approach which I believe we as a generation will regret for a very long time.
We should be designing, assessing and implementing a truly integrated, highly functional public and private transport metropolitan network, and not just stage 1 of one road project which has limited short term benefits and long term damaging disbenefits.
Finally Council should not be bullied by the East West Assessment Committee’s Terms of Reference as set down by the Government. Council should show leadership as it has on so many other important planning issues – leadership that has been acknowledged nationally and internationally.
Councillors you need to be bold, courageous and forthright in stating in your city’s submission that the East West Link should not proceed. This is not THE project that is going to protect and enhance Melbourne’s liveability and distinctiveness for decades to come.
Professor Roz Hansen
"I, and every other post-war baby boomer, can count myself incredibly lucky to be born when I was, because our children do not have the opportunities my generation had—job and career opportunities, housing opportunities and free education. For all the hype about growth and progress and development building a better world, it is not. It is tougher for our kids than it ever was for us." (Kelvin Thomson Thursday, 14 November 2013, House of Reps Chamber Speech)
(Candobetter recommends that you start this video at 2.25 minutes in for the guts of population and planning democracy. Note that in this speech, Thomson refers to his new NGO, Victoria First, but this reference does not seem to be in the proofed Hansard.)
Environment book by the Prince of Wales
Recently, I read a thorough and detailed book written by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It is called Harmony.
My copy was given to me by Dick Smith. Dick is an outstanding Australian who cares deeply for this country. Dick's work on issues like population and Australian ownership is inspirational for me and, I know, many others.
I absolutely commend Prince Charles's book, Harmony to everyone who is interested in the future of our planet. The breadth of his knowledge is exceptional, and both the intellectual rigour and creative insight lying behind this book are deeply impressive. There is way too much about environment, population, food and architecture in it for me to do justice to it here.
You will have to read it for yourselves. But I will give two examples.
Nature directly benefits peoples' health
Let me cite first page 220, where he discusses academic studies which have found that contact with nature can make people more resilient to illness. One piece of research investigates the recovery rates of patients who had access to a view of trees in a Texas hospital courtyard, compared with those whose windows gave sight of only a concrete wall.
All the patients had undergone the same gall bladder surgery, so were considered to be a broadly comparable group. Those patients who enjoyed a view of trees out the window spent fewer days in hospital, used fewer narcotic drugs, had fewer complications and registered fewer complaints with nurses responsible for their care.
By contrast, the people who could not see images of nature suffered increased depression, were in need of more pain relief and spent more time in recovery. So being exposed to the patterns produced by nature is directly necessary for our health. Prince Charles says the findings underline how harmony and connection with nature is not some vague or fringe concern but has real benefits for people.
Back local residents, not property developers if you want a long career in parliament
The second example I will draw to attention of the House is on page 232, where he bemoans 'the modern trend towards more and more central planning'. He says:
Communities get what others decide for them—there are no alternatives on offer. ...
A top-down approach to planning has been something of a partner of the industrial-scale copybook urban scheme. It is driven by the brutal economics of 'growth' and competitiveness and the pursuit of efficiency targets that care little as to whether a place ends up with 'soul'.
But Prince Charles believes that if people are empowered to work together there are huge benefits.
"... the ability of people to self organise can be a very powerful force, but sadly it is an opportunity that is too often untapped. Centralised spatial planning devised by specialist planners trained in a 20th century mechanistic ideology sometimes misses fundamental choices and can lead communities in directions that are not in their best interests. I have enough experience now to know for sure that if people had been put more at the heart of the planning process, some of the disastrous urban environments created in many cities during the twentieth century might easily have been avoided."
I personally think it incredibly important that local residents get to determine what kind of street, neighbourhood and community they live in. And I will provide some free political advice to any of the new MPs in this place who decided parliament is all right and that they would prefer a lengthy parliamentary career to a brief one: back local residents, not property developers. I repeat: support local residents, not property developers.
Prefers to remain back bencher so that he can speak out for the environment
I was not a candidate for the opposition front bench.
I was a shadow minister for 10 years prior to 2007. I have been there and done that. It is my experience that being a shadow minister brings with it obligations not to speak outside your portfolio, and to have everything you do say cleared and approved by the Leader of the Opposition's office. For me, these limitations are simply too great in a world and an Australia that I believe is facing massive challenges.
World being irreparably damaged by population growth
The world is being damaged, perhaps irreparably, by rapid population growth, climate change, unchecked rainforest and other habitat destruction, poverty, war and terrorism. Australia is not immune from these challenges. Many of our unique and beautiful birds, plants and animals are on the brink of extinction. Our young people cannot afford to buy a home of their own, and their jobs are insecure, while pensioners and retirees battle rapidly rising electricity, gas and water bills and council rates.
Need to be on the back bench to speak out these problems in Australia
I need to be able to speak out about these things, and I intend to. Anyone who thinks my decision to return to the back bench means that I am looking to lead a quiet life and slip out the back door is very mistaken. On the contrary, it is a necessary pre-condition for being active in the debate about the issues that are of greatest importance to the world and to this country.
I, and every other post-war baby boomer, can count myself incredibly lucky to be born when I was, because our children do not have the opportunities my generation had—job and career opportunities, housing opportunities and free education. For all the hype about growth and progress and development building a better world, it is not. It is tougher for our kids than it ever was for us.
This is not just true for Australia. It is true in many other countries as well. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of all the African migrants who drowned off the coast of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa.
Terrible, terrible, terrible. There is a response that says we should tackle this problem by dismantling our borders and allowing people to live wherever they want to live. But anyone who has seen the Gumballs video, by Roy Beck of NumbersUSA—and if you have not, I cannot recommend it too highly—will know that there are two billion people in the world living on $2 per day or less, and that their numbers are increasing by 80 million every year. No nation in the world—not the United States, not Europe, not Australia—can cope with such numbers.
Causes of mass migration
There are two causes of mass migration. One is people fleeing political violence and repression. The other driver is poverty and people wanting a better life. In those countries that are beset by political violence, the most common cause is religious fundamentalism.
There is religious violence, oppression of minorities, not enough respect for the rights of women, and not enough separation between religion and politics and between church and state. This needs to be called out.
It is a task for all of us, from whatever religious or ethnic background we come, to condemn, to denounce, to shun and to treat as outcasts religious leaders who preach hate and violence. It has to be called for what it is. Until political and religious violence stops, there will be people fleeing it.
Of the other motive for getting on board a boat—the search for a better life—again, we all have a role to play. We should lift our foreign aid budget to 0.7 per cent of GDP. We should not cut our aid by $4.5 billion over the forward estimates as the Liberal government is doing. It is claimed there is a budget emergency and we cannot afford this aid. Why then is the defence budget to be increased? The government target of 2 per cent of GDP spending on defence is quite arbitrary, and absolute nonsense. Spending money on aid builds goodwill with our neighbours and makes us more secure. I have seen it with my own eyes—the people in Wills.
In my view, honourable defeat is overrated. In my view there is little honour in avoidable failure. In my view those who want to save the environment, those who want to help workers and those who care about the future have a responsibility to succeed. Honour comes from success, from solving problems, from being able to proudly hand the baton over to the next generation.
Racism accusations used to stifly debate in a new kind of McCarthyism
In political debate people are very frightened about being called racist or xenophobic. This is true of prime ministers and it is true of ordinary people. Yes, there are racists out there. It is a pity; it is true.
But the use of the term 'racism' has become a new kind of McCarthyism, used to stifle debate. Let me point out in response to the allegation of racism or xenophobia against people who want to contest our rapid population growth that, first, Australia is already a multiracial society—one-quarter born oversees, one-half with one or both parents born overseas. The bird has flown. No-one is trying to maintain Australia as a white Anglo Saxon outpost of the British empire. It cannot be done and I have not come across anyone who is trying.
Secondly, stopping rapid population growth will assist Australians of all backgrounds. For example, Broadmeadows has high unemployment. Many unemployed people in Broadmeadows are of Turkish background. They are entitled to our consideration, rather than running migrant worker programs that wreck their ability to find work.
Thirdly, if talking about population makes you a racist, you are in pretty good company.
People do not usually think of Dr Martin Luther King as a white supremacist. What did he have to say about population?
"Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.
What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims.
People would not ordinarily think of David Suzuki as a puppet or fellow traveller of Pauline Hanson. What did he have to say about population?
Dr Suzuki said:
Of course human numbers are at the very core of our crisis. The explosive rate of growth simply can't continue.
And, while we are at it, I will point out a couple more.
In 1993, former US President Bill Clinton told the United Nations:
"And to ensure a healthier and more abundant world, we simply must slow the world's explosive growth in population."
His vice-president, Al Gore, said:
"I consider the dramatic growth in the world's population to be the greatest challenge currently facing the environment ... The effects of this rapid increase are felt around the globe."
It is ironic in the extreme that we have a couple of agents provocateur out there accusing people who talk about population of trying to hijack the environmental movement when, in fact, they are the most fair dinkum environmentalists you will find. I defy anyone to challenge the environmental credentials of Jacques Cousteau, who has devoted his entire life to marine conservation, and who said:
"Population growth is the primary source of environmental damage."
I defy anyone to challenge the environmental credentials of Captain Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who has spent his life risking injury and imprisonment to harass Japanese whalers. He said:
"The accusation that a stand to reduce immigration is racist is music to the ears to those who profit from the cheap labor of immigrants. They are the same people who love to see environmentalists make fools of themselves. And there is no environmentalist more foolish than one who refuses to confront the fact that uncontrolled human population growth is the no. 1 cause of the world's increasing environmental problems."
 Thursday, 14 November 2013
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER SPEECH
The Important Politics of Public Shopping Strips vs Private Shopping Malls
The subject matter of other comments involved the retention of shopping strips over private malls. This is very important because it involves the retention of public land - where people have the right to demonstrate, film and give out information. In contrast, the privatisation of commercial land into malls permits the developer-owners to exercise complex restraints over what retailers and customers may do. These rules generally rule out democratic activity beyond shopping. These malls are also beyond local council laws in terms of democratic input available to citizens who rent, shop or frequent shopping strips. What this means is that the 'market place' where much political communication has taken place since humans first formed villages and towns, is being lost. #n3581_fn1" id="n3581_txt1"> #n3581_fn2" id="n3581_txt2">
Planning fails democracy 101
One participant who admitted she had only skimmed the hefty document “Plan Melbourne” protested the lack of democratic principles in it. Mathew Guy defended his work on the basis that Plan Melbourne protected about half of Melbourne's residential areas whereas before they had not had such protection. He was vehement that he had limited developers’ activities in the interests of residents. The participant remained unconvinced saying she would go home and read the document thoroughly – such are the tasks now for Melbourne residents who feel any responsibility about the future of their city. As far as most were concerned, they were there because they felt that the public were largely left out of the planning process although it affects them in ways that are often quite devastating. They have formed community groups because they are very unhappy with this.
VCAT: a State Government tool
One participant raised the issue of VCAT’s role in development and planning.
Minister Guy distanced himself from any sense of control over VCAT, emphasizing where he and they had disagreed, saying "I expect no Christmas cards from VCAT".
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal(VCAT)is a State entity and the State Govt has total control over VCAT beyond even what most know.
VCAT, a very active arm of State Govt in promoting overdevelopment, is staffed by Members with no security of tenure. If Members fail to promote the State Govt line on Planning Policy about "managing population growth" (read Rapid Population Growth 60% from NOM must be accommodated by densification and destruction of amenity) then the Member's appointment is not renewed. As a local councillor on another occasion was heard to observe, "It is the perfect system." That is, it is the perfect system for promoting overdevelopment because VCAT very deliberately, repeatedly overrides the local democracy of Council on neigbourhood amenity. And woe betide the VCAT Member who fails to get the message.
The whole thrust of the MPS and the New Zones too is to "Cut Red Tape." There is a whole Victorian Government and Federal Productivity Commission project named as such - explicitly to define areas for open slather for developers. The vast legacy of VCAT decision precedents which have to date been so pro-development "by happenstance", is now to be implemented in concrete on the New Zones and the new MPS. As if Minister Guy and his predecessors had nothing to do with it because of the separation of powers.
Matthew Guy very confusing on facts
When Mathew Guy finally took SPA Victoria President, Jill Quirk's question, about his erroneous pronouncement that 85 per cent of Melbourne's population growth was from natural increase, Mr Guy stated that he had said that 85% of population growth would be in Melbourne. He added then that natural increase was about half Melbourne's population growth. Ms Quirk had to disagree again, informing him that only 40 per cent was due to natural increase, whereas 60 per cent is due to overseas migration. Mr Guy agreed. After the meeting, candobetter's attention was drawn to the fact that the ratio 60/40 was stated in the draft of the “Plan Melbourne” (“Melbourne, let’s talk About the future” ) document but that this fact has been omitted from the final document. Perhaps the government thought that Victorians would not notice. It seems likely that the government prefers to conceal the fact that high population growth is inflicted on the people of Melbourne through high immigration. Further, that the Victorian government is more than happy to have as much of this growth as possible regardless of the shortfalls in infrastructure services and the displeasure of citizens who see their amenity disappearing, as the city sprawls outwards and the density of established suburbs increases.
Ms. Quirk went on to say that Victoria's population would reach about 20m by the end of the century –on the same scale as the entire population of Australia today if recent growth continues.
Mr Guy countered that State government did not really have much control over this.
Ms Quirk drew Mr Guy's attention to the fact that he had been reported recently in the news saying MP for Wills, Kelvin Thompson was ridiculous to say that immigration should be less.
Mr. Guy's response was to say that by saying that Mr. Thomson had had six years to convince his government of his point of view on population and had failed to do so.
Ms Quirk said that she did not think Mr Guy could blame Thomson for the situation we are now in.
State is engineering frightening and undemocratic population growth in Melbourne
In relation to the State Government's ability to control immigration, Ms Quirk pointed out that the Victorian government runs a website called http://www.liveinvictoria.gov.au, which promotes population growth.
Mr Guy's response was, "Yes, I'm aware of that."
Discussing within groups after the event came to the conclusion that the effect of Mr Guy's erroneous pronouncement that 85 per cent of pop growth was due to natural increase, if left uncountered, would have been to have made Victoria's frightening rate of population increase seem inevitable.
What, we wondered, was the purpose of this meeting organised by Matthew Guy? Presumably it was to tick the box of 'consultation'. In fact, Planning Melbourne will no longer take comments on the substance of the actual document, only on its implementation.
The participant's objection to the apparent absence of democracy in "Plan Melbourne" has been well demonstrated.
Victoria's state government is effectively a dictatorship. The extreme population growth accompanying this abrogation of democracy is contributing to homelessness, unaffordability, debt, environmental destruction, increasing gaps between rich and poor, and relatedly to increasing drug abuse, gambling, relationship break up and violence.
This talk was formally entitled, in the invitations, as "Community group briefing". It took place on Friday 25 October, 2013, from 3.00pm to 4.00pm in the Sir Redmond Barry Room at 46, 55 Collins Street, Melbourne.
#n3581_fn1" id="n3581_fn1"> #n3581_txt1">↑ Art critic, Mark Holsworth, writes that 'Historically no city in Victoria was designed with a square because the then Governor Gipps didn’t like them because they encourage democracy. Melbourne City Square was only built in 1980 (when democracy was no longer a threat)..." Source: http://melbourneartcritic.wordpress.com/tag/governor-gipps/
#n3581_fn2" id="n3581_fn2"> #n3581_txt2">↑ A very good article on the covert and creeping privatisation of public land can be found here: http://thenextwavefutures.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/privatising-public-space-1/
Sustainable Population Australia, Green Wedges Coalition, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria and Planning Backlash are four of the peak planning and environmental groups that have produced a Sustainable Population Charter for Victoria because the government seems unable to do so. It recommends that net overseas migration be reduced from the recent 232,000 immigrants in a year to 70,000 net per annum. See "Peak Community Groups advocate for Population size as an election issue."
This useful democratic initiative could save Melbourne from chaos, but it has been reported in a slanted kind of way by Murdoch's Herald Sun, which gives quite unmerited authority to a disrespectful and ill-informed response from the government.
Government response irresponsible and disrespectful
Planning Minister Matthew Guy's response, as quoted below from the Herald Sun, seems to show a shameful disregard for the facts of a problem for which he is responsible by switching to questionable and irrelevant figures from the 1950s and 60s in response to a clearly emerging overpopulation crisis today in Victoria. In so doing, he has thumbed his nose at respected women community leaders who have stood up to represent concerned citizens in the absence of any fair representation from Mr Guy or his ilk on population. Instead of having the honesty to admit what is happening, Mr Guy raised an irrelevancy that is almost impossible for the average person to prove or disprove or sensibly situate in the debate.
“Planning Minister Matthew Guy said that the state's population growth was higher in the 1950s and 1960s and migrants should not be singled out by community groups." (The Herald Sun)
Check the facts for your self in the graph above, which takes figures from Australian Government year books and the ABS from 1945 to 2009. Does it look to you like immigration was higher in the 50s and 60s? No, of course not. And figures continue to climb since 2009. Between 2006 and 2011 immigration has contributed 60% of Australia's population growth. No-one is 'singling out' migrants.
In the face of the environmental planning groups' carefully worded and researched document, Mr Guy has referred vaguely to conditions in the 1950s and 1960s (when world population was between 2.5 and 3.5 billion instead of its current size of 7.1 billion and energy resources were hardly tapped.) What kind of intellect are we dealing with here?
He did not bother to provide the figures he claimed to be alluding to, nor did he say why they were relevant. He failed to take on board that it is the duty of citizens to form alliances to restrain his government from its constant attack on democracy, property and environment. And that it is his duty to respond rationally and democratically.
"We are living longer, we are having more children, there are a whole range of factors in population growth," said Mr Guy.
http://betaworks.abs.gov.au/betaworks/betaworks.nsf/projects/demographyVideo/frame.htm Note that in this video, even the Australian Bureau of Statistics is now politically massaging growth, saying that Australia's population is 'growing stronger' - instead of 'increasing faster'.
Well, yes, of course there are a 'whole range of factors in population growth', but immigration is the biggest and a multiplier of fertility opportunities. (See Sheila Newman, Demography, Territory, Law: The rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2012.) Mr Guy also does not say that the few people and corporations pushing for higher population growth derive the narrowly focused but huge financial benefits that the rest of us pay so dearly for in the loss of parkland, in homelessness, in lack of education and jobs.
Politically intimidating put-down
"Simply targeting overseas migration is simplistic and it won't solve population growth problems," Mr Guy reportedly said.
This put-down of the careful work that the peak planning and environment groups have actually done looks like an attempt by a powerful politician to intimidate democratic and highly relevant comment by slurring its spokeswomen.
The graph showing immigration from 1901-1944 shows our earlier immigration patterns, where during both World Wars and during depressions, more people left the country than came in.
This is not 'good management'
"Mr Guy said growth had to be well managed which was why the Government was pushing ahead with the East West Link and a metropolitan planning strategy.” 
If that is good management, then why is Melbourne's oldest park (Royal Park) targeted by the growth lobby to receive a concrete horrendoplasty and why are there protests on the steps of parliament, as even usually tame councils call for a sane alternative in rail? See "Melbourne Protestors demand: Trains not Tollroads!"
Mr Guy's 19th century ideas similar to Ethiopia's Mennilik II
Mr Guy reminds me of Mennilik II in Ethiopia, who decided to develop the country in the late 19th century, when the population was only 4 or 5 million and people lived in stable economies among clans on their own land. After Mennilik's modernisation programs, which included massive land 'reforms' - driving people off their own land into cities - Ethiopia's population climbed to 10 million. In 1950, as development continued, the population climbed to 18.3 million. In the 1970s there were more huge land reforms. In the 1980s there were mass government resettlements. Now in 2010 Ethiopia's population is 83 million and climbing rapidly still.
Mr Guy is pushing the very same process as his government promotes more bad laws to prevent people from having any say over how they live and what is done around them in their own country. Like the Ethiopians, we are being rounded up for the sake of economic ideologies of benefit to a very few. Those who dare to protest are attacked with lies about numbers, fatuous pronouncements about living longer and having more children, and innuendo such as 'don't blame immigrants'. But Mr Guy, who is not deaf, blind or illiterate, knows that his government constantly advertises for immigrants and that Australia's population is growing mostly because of immigration, which is now so high that it is driving the destruction of local ammenity in the form of unwanted and costly infrastructure that his government is imposing on its constituents, just like some primitive dictatorship.
In 1994, when I began to research what drove population growth, Australia's population was 17m and our net overseas immigration numbers averaged about 80,000. We did not need desalination plants and homelessness was an unusual problem. But the Murdoch and Fairfax Press and corporate Australia were already baying for growth. By 2013 we have already reached well over 22million - a dangerous growth rate that has caused cost of living to skyrocket and quality of life to deteriorate.
Mr Guy says, "Simply targeting overseas migration is simplistic and it won't solve population growth problems."
The fact is that the Murdoch and Fairfax Press promote politicians who make misleading statements like that one by Mr Guy because Murdoch and Fairfax have huge investments in population growth. ABS figures show that stopping high overseas immigration would go a long way to solving population growth problems because it is the major driver of population growth in Victoria and Australia.
Mr Guy should pay attention to that sustainable population charter.
 John Masanauskas, "Don't blame migrants on suburban boom, warns Planning Minister Matthew Guy," Herald Sun, August 30, 2013.
 The mainstream press are part of the corporate lobby. As well as both the Murdoch and the Fairfax press owning huge property dot coms (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au) and constantly beating the populate or perish drum, owners, board members and their associates can position themselves to benefit from the influence of journalistic reporting on the value of resources, commodities, and manufactures, as well as influencing who gets elected by choosing who and what gets publicity. By the way, David Williamson's new play, "Rupert", does a magnificent job of showing how this happens.
What does the G21Geelong Region Plan mean for Geelong? There are already huge developments everywhere including 2000 blocks in Highton, extensive new subdivisions on the Bellarine Peninsula and in Fyansford where a 1000 house development was announced this week. It is also rumoured that Barwon Water can barely cope with the rapid and huge development. The consquences will be traffic congestion, long hospital waiting lists, pollution, and inadequate rail transport from Geelong to Melbourne.
Article by Yvonne Campbell.
The G21Geelong Region Plan – a ‘sustainable growth strategy’ has big plans for Geelong and environs. The areas covered by the plan are Colac, Golden Plains, Greater Geelong, Queenscliffe and Surf Coast.
Over the next 30 to 40 years the current population of 250,000 is expected to double to 500,000.
80,000 jobs are to be created.
20 homes to the hectare are planned for urban Geelong.
The existing Geelong Ring Road is to be extended to Portarlington on the Bellarine Peninsula.
The Midland Highway to Bannockburn is to be duplicated.
Areas of ‘significant growth’ are Central Geelong, Armstrong Creek, Ocean Grove, Drysdale, Clifton Springs, Leopold, Lara, Torquay, Jan Juc, Bannockburn, Colac and Winchelsea.
This plan was drawn up before the loss of major industries such as Ford, Shell, Blue Circle Cement, Target, layoffs at the Banks, etc.
We expect Geelong to connect to Torquay and most likely there will be a corridor of development between Geelong and Melbourne which is partly underway now.
If you travel around Geelong, there are huge developments everywhere including 2000 blocks in Highton, extensive new subdivisions on the Bellarine Peninsula and in Fyansford where a 1000 house development has been announced this week. I have also heard that Barwon Water can barely cope with the rapid and huge development.
The consequence of this development is traffic congestion, long hospital waiting lists, pollution, inadequate rail transport from Geelong to Melbourne.
Local democracy in action. Congratulations to Doreen Residents Action Group for conducting a democratic survey to really test responses to Mathew Guy's "Melbourne Let's talk about the future" request for submissions. The following report is a summary of answers provided by residents of Doreen in response to a 17 question survey conducted in relation to the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy for the next 40 years.
23rd March, 2013
Doreen Residents Action Group Incorporated, on behalf of the community of Doreen residents is appreciative of the opportunity to have an input into future planning of Melbourne, and trust that our views will be seriously considered as promised by you at the November 2012 meeting. We refer to the document “Melbourne Let’s talk about the future”.
Report on Survey re “Metropolitan Planning Strategy 2050”
The following report is a summary of answers provided by residents of Doreen in response to a 17 question survey conducted in relation to the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy for the next 40 years.
1a) People were asked what they liked most about living in Melbourne. The responses to this were quite varied and included the arts, diverse culture, beautiful city, parks and gardens, mild climate, great sporting events and cultural facilities, freedom, living in peace, the history, a good standard of living.
1b) The things people disliked most about living in Melbourne contained a more common theme. Some surveyed were upset regarding the demolition of Melbourne’s iconic buildings. Most residents surveyed conveyed their thoughts from the perspective of where they live, in Doreen, on the outer fringe of Melbourne where there is a huge lack of infrastructure, no train line, traffic, congested single lane roads, (i.e. Yan Yean Road and Plenty Road portion), the lack of Secondary Schools in the area, limited recreational facilities for youth, no police protection, were all very strong in the responses. Residents also worry that the character of Melbourne and the standard of living that we know today will change with the influx of immigration in the future being forecast. This includes future overdevelopment and overcrowding and a question of ‘will there be a guarantee of employment for all, existing and new residents?’
2. The features of Melbourne that people want protected and preserved are our current high standards of living, employment, no overcrowded suburbs or over developments, no inappropriate high rise buildings in residential areas, open spaces and parks and gardens, wetlands, green wedges, old historical buildings and landmarks.
3. People’s views on heritage buildings and homes were almost unanimous in that these should be protected and preserved for future generations. Comments included “we need to know the past to best know where we want to go” and “these buildings are a part of our history and identity”
4. One of Melbourne’s highly valued characteristics is its leafy green suburbs and open spaces/gardens and is coming under increasing threat. People were asked should we accept densification and build more on less or should we do something about the rate of growth. Most people responded that planned smaller allotments and houses were inevitable, but only in appropriate areas and provided they do not interfere with, or detract from existing neighbourhood character.
5. In regards to the rate of growth, there was a resounding ‘yes’ to reduce the rate of growth to be slow and controlled and to have more emphasis on skilled migrant intake. Other comments in answer to this question were “expand regional centres” and “we are so busy embracing diversity that we are in danger of neglecting our own core values” Surveys suggested residents were worried for their children and grand children if immigration is not slowed. Will their children and grand children have jobs in the future?
6. With the continuing growth of our outer suburbs, people were asked their thoughts on whether parts of Melbourne’s inner suburbs (with established infrastructure) could play a greater economic and housing role by replacing existing homes with apartment developments. There was a definitive response to this in that people replied that apartment building should be built on the older industrial areas and “not scattered among houses” because it destroys neighbourhood character and takes away established residents’ privacy and well being. The survey showed that residents worry about Developers building cheap apartments (they make money and don’t live there) “Don’t let the Developers build cheap concrete slab slums for homes.” “Housing Density in the inner suburbs should not increase because of Immigration.” “Melbourne already has a huge population in the inner suburbs.” Other comments indicate that if the inner suburbs became ‘densified’, current established infrastructure would not cope with huge increases in population. If apartments were built, they needed to be grouped not scattered. If replacing existing homes is a realistic approach, Planners must be aware of the possible increase in crime. “High rise/high density, tomorrow’s ghettos.”
7. The next question asked residents how they would feel if a multi storey apartment development was proposed or built in their street, opposite or next door.
Once again, there was a resounding answer in that nobody wants high rise buildings near them. Comments like “hate it”, “would definitely sell up” and “devastated”, “angry” were typical of answers to this question. At present there is no certainty anywhere in Melbourne that density development will not be proposed, not even semi-rural areas.
(Multi storey development proposals have already affected residents in the Doreen area. We know first hand that no-one wants them here in Doreen on the outskirts of Melbourne due to the support of 2000 objections from residents recently in a case that went to VCAT. Most objectors had no money to relocate as the bulk of the population in Doreen are either first home buyers or retirees. Fortunately, 2000 residents won their case at VCAT and this inappropriate development did not go ahead)
8. People were asked how can we accommodate the needs of changing populations in established suburbs and maintain what people love about their neighbourhoods.
The answer is “not to allow high rise buildings or sub-division of titles (splitting up blocks) or building too many units, as this creates road congestion and too many people living in small areas. Rather, build a whole new city away from Melbourne with proper infrastructure put in place first.
9. Densification is reported to adversely affect the health and well-being of residents. The question posed was how can we ensure a healthy and sustainable environment for future generations?
If densification adversely affects the health and well-being of residents, then limit the number of homes built in areas. Have controlled ‘Population Growth’.
Again residents responded to this question in relation to the Doreen area.
“Do not allow a ‘Big Australia’ with dense housing in outer suburbs. Protect Green Wedges and keep a strict limit on heights of houses to 9 metres maximum but still appropriately zone the 8 metre zone to the areas that require it, for example, Doreen– Laurimar. Over write the existing design guidelines for Doreen-Laurimar.”
Residents surveyed said there must be open spaces, parklands, playground areas and community facilities provided eg swimming centres, football ovals, tennis courts etc. It was also said that programs should be started to encourage young people to be pro-active in their communities.
Buildings could also be better designed, built and located. Expand the Regional areas before overdeveloping Melbourne. Another concern, was that densification breeds crime and drug activity.
10. Infrastructure upgrades – Residents filling out the survey were asked if they would be prepared to pay higher taxes or levies or go into deficit budgeting to finance these upgrades.
Most respondents would accept paying additional taxes or levies (not deficit budgeting) for these upgrades. However, the government must accept their responsibility in this area, by becoming more efficient and reducing their own wastage before taxing the population.
Another suggestion was that Government bonds be used to pay for infrastructure projects. Others said that infrastructure costs must go hand in hand with land sales.
11. Over recent years Melbourne’s Boundaries have been extended into the green wedge. Should there be a clearly defined and permanent outer boundary, marking where Melbourne stops and the urban areas begin?
There was an overwhelming ‘yes’ to this question.
Most residents of Doreen were shocked, angry, stressed and upset recently with the proposal of High Rise Buildings in the area. Many thought that we were protected from such things, living on the outer fringe of Melbourne an area we chose to live in and sold to us as “Country” living. If either the Council or Developer had told us, at the time of purchase, we agree that we would not have purchased blocks near the proposal and would have considered buying elsewhere.
12. Thinking about the next 30 to 40 years, what do you see as the most important issue/s for you, your children and grandchildren?
The most important issues that people see are:
The putting in place of appropriate infrastructure,
Safe areas for communities to live in,
Affordability of housing
Maintaining high standards of living,
Freedom and peace in the community.
The Government, Councils and Developers also have a responsibility to the community to be more transparent about changes to future housing and development projects. Reasonable notification must be given to communities facing housing changes, so people have a ‘choice’ about where they live and if they want to continue living there.
13. The new Advisory Committee has suggested Melbourne for the future be a city where residents can live and work locally. (A 20 minute City)
Most respondents said we should try and make Melbourne a 20 minute city, where people can live and work locally. In theory it sounds good, but a few said it would be impossible to achieve. It may be too costly at present to achieve this. Many residents suggested the money would be better spent fixing infrastructure problems in the outer suburbs first.
14. The new Advisory Committee has suggested a polycentric city (a city with many centres) linked to a network of regional cities throughout Victoria.
Most people thought the idea of a polycentric city linked to a network of regional cities in Victoria was a good one and should be explored further.
Some were worried that Melbourne Central as we know it today would lose its identity.
15. Employment and Innovation Clusters – most people thought this suggestion was a good one, however, a few thought it was already in place, e.g. Ringwood and Craigieburn. Others thought this should be considered when developing new areas. Some residents responded and said “The movement of people will be the problem.”
Others said “We must consider environmental and safety aspects of Industries, etc, away from residential.” Another comment was “Note that for Trades people, they can be asked to work anywhere in Melbourne, not just locally.”
Another said “Every new Development Cluster must have Private/Government Sectors working together to deliver the infrastructure simultaneously.”
16. It has been suggested that a new major city in Victoria be developed over time to cater for a population of over 1 million residents (or several million).
Some respondents thought this would be a great idea, but many emphasised that it must be planned correctly, and with proper infrastructure, including a new major Airport near the NSW border.
Others said we should further expand our current regional cities of Dandenong, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo with a ‘state of the art’ connecting transport system.
17. The overriding theme emerging from “Any Further Comments?” was that there must be a “catch up” on lack of infrastructure, which has occurred over the last 20 years and that this must not be allowed to re-occur in the future.
i.e. Proper infrastructure must accompany all new future developments.
This can only be achieved by the responsible Government Ministries (i.e. Planning, Transport and Education) working and consulting together in a timely manner.
It was also suggested that councils have the final say on what developments occur in their municipalities, as they know their own areas best. Developers should not have any recourse to VCAT if their permit application is rejected by council.
Residents must be given the opportunity to be involved earlier in the application and the planning process for developments in their neighbourhoods – not just be given
a 14 day window for objection at the end of the whole process.
Doreen Residents Action Group
We urge you to write a submission to Planning Minister, Matthew Guy’s, “Melbourne, let’s talk about the future”. Submissions close: 28th March. Go to: http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/getinvolved/submissions Or email to: [email protected]. Inside this article there are suggestions about doing your own submission rather than using the government format submission.
Use the following points to inform your submission. Or consult the attached MPSM guidelines and/or resolution adopted by the protectors of Public Lands AGM.
Candobetter will publish your submissions since the Minister won't
Please copy your submission to: james.sinnamon[at]gmail.com and [email protected]; so at least there is a record of it as Mr Guy is not publishing other subs. Let us know if you wish them to be publically available, unless you want them kept confidential in which case please say so.
The source of the rest of this article is Rosemary West, of the Green Wedges Coalition. Candobetter.net has made some minor presentation changes, notably in formatting.
Speaking about the new Melbourne metropolitan strategy process and discussion paper, the respected strategic planner Professor Michael Buxton said, “(Both) are deeply flawed”, (the process) “is neither properly participatory nor informative”, and, “nothing so inadequate has ever been seen in the history of Melbourne strategic planning”. The text of Professor Buxton's speech is at http://candobetter.net/?q=node/3205 and a video of his speech is available here: http://candobetter.net/?q=node/3204
So, how should we respond to the discussion paper: “….let’s talk about the future”?
Some GWC members are concerned the paper might be a PR exercise to persuade the public to support the decisions the Government is making to deregulate Victoria’s planning schemes and produce a strategy which will please developers and “the big end of town”.
This will result in a seriously unbalanced strategy leaving the community without an effective voice.
In your submission, instead of responding to the pre-set questions 1-10 in chapter 6, it would be more effective for the government to know your thoughts on the following:
1. The following contribute to Melbourne’s livability and/or sustainability. Which do you feel are under threat and which need better protection? - residential streets and suburbs; public open space, parks and gardens; green wedges; heritage; natural environment; recreation facilities; shopping centres.
2. Higher density development: Would you accept higher density around shopping centres and railway stations if it meant better protection for most of the above?
Do you support more diverse, affordable housing? How and where?
3. Over recent years Melbourne’s boundaries have been extended into green wedge areas. Should we have a clearly defined and permanent urban growth boundary (UGB) making it obvious where Melbourne stops and where the rural areas begin?
Should we keep the green wedges for non-urban uses (eg. environmental conservation, agriculture, recreation, and landscape values)
What about the urban zones proposed to be allowed (or freed from existing restrictions)in Green Wedges by the Government’s Planning Zones review? (eg: Backpackers Lodge, Boarding House, Conference Centre, Display Home, Exhibition Centre, Function Centre, Group Accommodation, Hostel, Medical Centre, Motel, Nurses’ Home, Reception Centre, Residential Aged Care Facility, Residential Building, Residential College, Residential Hotel, Restaurant and Service Station.)
4. The Ministerial Advisory Committee for the new strategy suggested we should, “move away from regulation as the primary means of achieving planning outcomes”. Do you want more or less regulation of developers?
5. What are your thoughts about decentralization, as a response to Melbourne’s rapidly increasing population? Is slower growth desirable?
6. What do you think about population: do we need limits?
7. Do we need a city where residents can live and work locally? Is it realistic and how would it be achieved?
8. Infrastructure. Should developers pay for it, or taxpayers? In the choice between an extended railway network or more freeways, what would be your priority and why?
9. How should we make a better Melbourne strategy work in the best interests of the community? Leave development decisions to local council; have a new central planning authority for Melbourne, or keep the Minister’s right to have the final say? Any other ideas?
10. Thinking about the next 30 to 40 years, what do you see as the most important Melbourne planning issue/s for you, your children and grandchildren?
Following the questions section, the electronic format allows you to upload your own submission document. or you can email it.
You may care to offer comments about any of the following Green Wedge specific matters:
On page 18 of the paper under “Tourism innovations” it is suggested that planning zone reforms are needed to support tourism uses in the region. Despite its recommendations, the report, “Unlocking Victorian Tourism” admits it could not verify that planning schemes inhibited tourism investment. (see Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission summary report, June 2011, p14) So why the need for “planning zone reforms”?
On pages 40, 42, 44, 58 and 60 there are some worrying inconsistencies about the future of our Urban Growth Boundary and our Green Wedge i.e.
-“It is expected that (“the city’s longstanding ‘green wedges’ policy”) will continue.”(p40)
-“Melbourne should consider strengthening its ‘green wedge planning approach with a ‘green belt’…” In many places, the UGB follows natural boundaries or physical barriers such as the Outer Metro Ring transport corridor in the south-west. These boundaries or barriers could be appropriate locations to ‘lock in’ the Urban Growth Boundary.” (p58
-“There is a need to move beyond a ‘protective’ or ‘defensive’ approach to managing natural resources and seek opportunities to increase their value for the city and enhance their natural role.” (p60)
“Current planning controls in rural areas around Melbourne unduly limit opportunities for tourism and other developments that ……would broaden the range of choices these areas offer.” (p60)
-“The Metropolitan Planning Strategy must move away from regulation as the primary means of achieving planning outcomes.” (p72)
There is much double-speak here. The discussion paper wants fewer protections and less regulation in our rural areas, to make room for developments and “opportunities”, yet they say they want to “strengthen green wedge planning”!
The UGB can be shifted to more “natural” boundaries – a “green belt” rather than a “green wedge.” With Minister Guy’s already announced intention to make the Rural Conservation Zone less protective to allow more developments, it’s easy to see the drift.
The combination of weakened rural zone controls, development opportunities in our green wedge, and a shifted Urban Growth Boundary adds up to cause for serious concern.
Please tell them we want our Green Wedges to stay within current boundaries and with current non-urban uses.
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.
Submission to the VCAT Fee Review
From Malvern East Group to the Regulations Officer, Courts Policy. (See details at end of article)
We quote from VCAT’s website….
“VCAT’s purpose is to provide Victorians with a low cost, accessible, efficient and independent tribunal delivering high quality dispute resolution.
We aim for service excellence by being cost effective, accessible, informal, timely, fair, impartial and consistent.”
As a residents’ group which deals with planning procedures, MEG has taken issue with these statements on a number of occasions…e.g. at the forums conducted by Justices Kevin Bell and Iain Ross, in our submissions re ‘transforming VCAT’ and at meetings with both the Attorney General Robert Clark and Planning Minister Matthew Guy. We have stated repeatedly that most of these aims are rarely, if ever, met.
If the Government allows the proposed fee increases it provides the Victorian community, which it purports to represent, with a final nail in the coffin of justice at VCAT.
The proposed increases constitute a financial barrier for residents and residents’ groups and are yet another barrier for them to negotiate in seeking some degree of fairness in the entire planning situation.
Every single thing in this process is against the residents
Every single thing in this process mitigates against the residents. They cannot match the money of developers nor the specific expertise of planners. They do not have the perceived ‘old boys’ network that seems to operate at VCAT hearings between developers, their ‘hired guns’ and VCAT Members so they are ‘behind the eight ball’ from the very beginning of an appeal because they can never match the expensive representation developers use as a matter of course. Local Policy on which residents tend to rely is swatted away by Tribunal Members who pay rapt attention to expert (so-called) witnesses who are PAID to give unsworn evidence which favours their employers. Why else would they be there?
Developers play games with citizens
At the core of the cost of administering VCAT is the endless games played by developers…e.g. the ambit claims, the amended plans, the employment of so many “hired guns” who take up endless amounts of time with statements that inevitably marvel at the sheer wonder of the plans before the Tribunal and the repeat applications and, inevitably, appeals for MORE than they got in the first decision. The money developers are allowed to spend in the “people’s” court is the major factor in making the entire planning appeals procedure so lengthy and expensive.
Legal representation needs to be downsized and equalised
The process we would like to see in planning disputes is that each party to the appeal either self-represents or employs one person only to persuade the Member that theirs is the point of view that complies with the objectives and standards of applicable Planning Schemes. Cases would be shorter, cheaper and justice would not only be done but it would be seen to be done in such a level playing field if this were to happen.
We have long despaired of VCAT ever introducing a system of independent expert witnesses and we now despair of VCAT ever providing ‘low cost’ dispute resolution if the proposed massive fee increases are allowed. Residents will be priced out of the planning dispute process. In most cases they are already ‘out-moneyed’ by applicants. With the suggested fee increases they won’t even be there. Residents’ perception of VCAT’s proposed fee increases is that it is a somewhat devious way of cutting down the waiting times for appeals to be heard.
We urge the Government to “fix” the Planning Appeals section of VCAT in the ways we have repeatedly suggested and not allow the proposed fee increases.
Ann Reid (MEG Convenor)
The above submission was from the:
Malvern East Group
MEG Supports PLANNING BACKLASH
C/- 14 Chanak Street,
Malvern East Vic 3145
Phone/Fax 9572 3205
Regulations Officer, Courts Policy
Strategic Policy and Legislation
Department of Justice
Sustainable Population Australia takes the State of the Environment report 2008 as a warning of the unsustainable path that Victoria is on as the government recklessly engineers its population at a rate about twice the level it would naturally be at present. This state government and its predecessors have actively encouraged population growth through the artificial means of seeking increasing numbers of migrants from overseas to settle in Victoria, using the website "Liveinvictoria.com.au".
This submission represents the overall position of Sustainable Population Australia whose Aims and Objectives are:
- To contribute to the public awareness of the limits to Australian population growth from ecological, social and economic viewpoints.
- To promote awareness that the survival of an ecologically sustainable population depends in the long-term on its renewable resource base.
- To promote policies that will lead to the stabilisation, and then to reduction, of Australia’s population by encouraging low fertility and low migration.
- To promote urban and rural life-styles and practices that are in harmony with the realities of the Australian environment, its resource base and its biodiversity.
- To advocate low immigration rates while rejecting any selection of immigrants based on race.
- To promote policies that will lead to stabilisation, and then reduction, of global population.
There are severe constraints on the population growth patterns for the future in Australia including in the relatively environmentally hospitable state of Victoria. Sustainable Population Australia takes the State of the Environment report 2008 as a warning of the unsustainable path that Victoria is on as the government recklessly engineers its population at a rate about twice the level it would naturally be at present. This state government and its predecessors have actively encouraged population growth through the artificial means of seeking increasing numbers of migrants from overseas to settle in Victoria, using the website http://www.liveinvictoria.com.au. As we know most of those who come to Victoria gravitate to Melbourne. The State’s capital suffers from severely worsening traffic problems, demanding costly solutions, and ongoing pressure to accommodate more and more people such that agricultural land and areas of nature on the city’s fringes are constantly sacrificed. In the established areas of Melbourne and, to a lesser extent, in the regions, greater density of living is imposed on residents who are distraught to see their surroundings changed rapidly before their very eyes and to their great disadvantage.
Planning assumes change
The concept of ‘planning’ in Victoria assumes change. Most changes in building and infrastructure are driven by population growth, especially the building of more houses and roads. Planning without growth would be about improving the way things work for a given population in the face of changes over a longer time scale not associated with growth, especially those over which humans have less immediate control such as climate change. The sole objective, however, of planning today is to accommodate population growth with scant attention to residents' amenity and services.
It is clear that due to the changes to Melbourne in the last few years, residents have been aggrieved by the loss of livability of Melbourne, despite commercially defined indexes to the contrary. This loss includes loss of amenity – light space and quiet, loss of parkland, increased traffic congestion, and diminished Green Wedges. It also impacts on our democracy as authoritarian planning laws are pushed through parliament by development-sympathetic governments against widespread public objection. The schedules of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) have abounded with planning problems where private citizens have had to devote time, money and energy into trying to preserve their amenity or to mitigate damages impinging on them from potential developments. This type of (often futile) activity does not increase the quality of life for people; quite the opposite, in fact. It is a significant negative for them.
Residents are facing enormous loss under the now proposed planning changes. If changes are implemented, many of their cases will simply not be heard as residents lose their appeal rights. Furthermore they will not be warned about changes made in their immediate neighbourhoods. Whilst this may expedite change and create ‘certainty’ for developers, it creates helplessness and constant uncertainty for residents. People can accommodate moderate change if it is slow, but just not knowing what changes are going to occur in their neighborhoods yet to watch it happen at a rapid rate is truly unsettling. People are depressed and traumatized for a variety of associated reasons.
Planning is for the future
Since planning is mainly about the future the following questions should be asked in considering the proposed changes.
What path does this set us on?
Is it the path of greater livability in the sense of increasing access to nature and green spaces, with secure homes and land and quality of life? Does it have an end point? What is the likely outcome of this plan? In the already established areas of Melbourne, if we understand this correctly, proposed zones are as follows, with 3 different approaches to development applied
1. Residential growth zone
2. General Residential Zone
3. Neighbourhood Residential Zone
Where you happen to live and therefore your future or fate relies on which regime is applied to your area. As this will be a council decision it introduces a further note of uncertainty.
Putting the effect on the individual aside, the aim seems to be largely to break down barriers to change, to maximize and expedite development. Of concern is the removal of the imperative to make planning application for certain developments in certain areas. This means that they will become “as of right” and will include the extension of commercial activities into residential areas.
The aggregate effect, it seems, would be more activity and congestion and more noise, especially in areas with increasing mixed use.
Increasing densification in residential areas means diminished amenity. This might be more tolerable if the city of Melbourne were not simultaneously bulging through its previous urban growth boundary thus rapidly changing the landscape on the fringes of the city. Densification necessarily means reduction of open space especially private gardens. This reduces habitat for urban wild life, much of which is essential to our well being whether we have any conscious affection for it or not! (e.g. presence of micro bats acting as a natural and indigenous control over mosquitoes.) Loss of open space and vegetation in the established areas cities also increases Urban Heat Island Effect. This means that, even without climate change our urban areas will necessarily get hotter as vegetation is reduced and hard surfaces and masses increased. The inexorable loss of open space for children to play no doubt contributes to the much publicized childhood obesity epidemic.
No matter what measures are taken for the provision of infrastructure and services such as public transport, hospitals and schools, there is no way of catching up with these even for the existing population while there is continual extra need for the addition population built into the planning scheme.
The proposed changes to the planning scheme are more accommodating of extra population and extra activity around population centres. It is the accommodation of population that ensures that population in a given area will grow. There is no end to this process and no end envisaged in the proposed plans. This is irresponsible and negligent, considering the impacts of overpopulation are well-known. With increased densification and outward growth, quality of life in population centres, particularly in Melbourne must deteriorate.
Where does this end? It would seem that the process set in place by the proposed changes will lead ever more rapidly to increasingly overpopulated centres built to the requirements of developers, who have the economic motive of forcing more people into less space and show no signs of self-restraint.
A city such as Athens should serve as a warning to those who determine the future of Melbourne – This city grew very fast in the 1970s with high rise springing up like mushrooms bringing a 3rd world quality to the once modest sized beautiful city. It’s not too late for Melbourne. Let’s not do it!
Rural areas especially on the fringes of Melbourne
The most troubling aspect of the zoning changes is that the zones allow industry in areas where this would have been prohibited previously. The Green Wedges, set aside as the lungs of growing Melbourne 40 years ago, would no longer be safe to any degree. Once again the main concern is that there is no end to the process that these changes set up. If it were a finite number of developments and then a cap, the people of Melbourne would have some certainty that their environment will continue to be to some extent livable. But the current proposal does not mean such certainty. Instead it sets up a process whereby the Green Wedges are progressively degraded by development, thus facilitating more intensive development in the future. In effect, it ultimately annihilates them. In the shorter term this change facilitates a land-trading climate conducive to land speculation. Some will make windfall profits as land switches from rural to commercial. This will benefit the few who can take part in this game but ultimately through the rising cost of land will be detrimental to the rest of the population. It is not in the interest of the common good and quality of life for all of us.
What planning needs to be
Real Planning should take into account the physical reality of our time and place in history. It is almost without doubt that the world has passed Peak Oil production and is certainly beyond peak per capita oil production. Oil has lubricated our lives, fed us and transported us for as long as any of us can remember. As per capita production declines over the coming decades, at our peril we will build out our precious back yards and Green Wedges, extend our urban growth boundary and increase car dependency with urban settlement in previously rural areas. Our survival depends on us not doing this. The flip side of the Peak Oil coin is Climate Change and the need to limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Stabilising population and building in local self sufficiency and sustainable public transport is essential to this.
Figure 3, ‘World total oil per capita 1960-2011’ suggests that, where once oil came from oil wells, now, to keep up with human population growth we supplement well-oil with all kinds of other stuff, whilst still presenting it as the same old stuff. If we still relied just on crude and lease condensates from oil fields, where trends are shown by the lowest and oldest line in the graph, we would be considerably poorer in total oil supply than we seem to be. Early definitions for total world oil (see EIA Crude and lease condensate from 1960-2011) only counted crude oil and lease condensate. Coinciding with the decline in easy oil availability as it became necessary to look harder and deeper for oil, the definition of oil started to include other sources obtained away from petroleum fields. The BP definition above counts crude oil, shale oil, oil sands and NGLs (the liquid content of natural gas where this is recovered separately). The EIA definition for Crude, condensate and most other liquids from 1970-2009 comprises natural gas plant liquids, and ‘other liquids’, defined as, “Biodiesel, ethanol, liquids produced from coal and oil shale, non-oil inputs to methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), Orimulsion, and other hydrocarbons.” That’s a lot of new sources, all of them requiring more energy to extract than that required to harness the traditional ‘gusher’ close to the surface, now a rare phenomenon. (Excerpt from forthcoming book, Lost Tribes, by Sheila Newman..)
Victoria needs to work within the real constraints that face us for the survival of those who are too young to take part in this submission exercise today and for their children. Changes to the Planning code need to be made with this consideration uppermost.
Wrong way- Go back-
Population restraint is about planning at the local level.
Victoria must plan to achieve a stable population not too far beyond the middle of this century to avoid a severely compromised future. This is possible and planning for it needs to start now.
The issue of zone reform is critical and the changes envisaged are so extensive in scope I would advocate that the state government set up a parliamentary enquiry to address it in detail to ensure the best possible outcome for the people of Victoria.
The so-called “Global Livability Report” ranks Melbourne high, but it also ranks Hong Kong and Vancouver high – both of the concrete nightmares where development trumps democracy, nature and access to natural amenity. http://www.eiu.com/site_info.asp?info_name=The_Global_Liveability_Report
The 'livability index' report comes from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which is part of a group associated with the Anglo-centric Economist magazine. People in Hong Kong rent cages stacked one on top of the other in rooms in concrete high rises. There are protests about the abrogation of public land and the ever increasing intensity of development. The EIU put overcrowded concrete Vancouver and Melbourne equal at the head of its list in 2002. Clearly this list is a list about concrete spaces and developers' anti-human values and the Economist’s unwise promotion of economic growth and globalisation. The award is used as a manufactured consensus thing promoted by big business for big business and against relocalisation, human scale and natural surroundings. In other words it is corporate propaganda. About the Economist group:
"From its beginnings in 1843, when The Economist newspaper was founded by a Scottish hat manufacturer to further the cause of free trade" ... http://www.economistgroup.com/what_we_do/our_history.html"
"Many of the issues facing the world have an international if not global dimension. The Economist brand family is ideally positioned to be the commentator, interpreter and forecaster of the phenomenon of globalisation as it gathers in pace and impact." [In other words, a propaganda outfit that actually has some deluded ordinary subscribers.] http://www.economistgroup.com/what_we_do/our_brands/the_economist_brand_family/index.html
President: Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian and Tasmanian branch)
Postal address P.O. Box 240
West Heidelberg 3081
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.
Submission to Department of Planning and Community Services (DPCS) on Victoria's New Planning Zones
Introduction: I am writing on behalf of Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc., a coalition of 80 community, environmental and heritage groups dedicated to protecting and maintaining sites of environmental and heritage significance.
Here is a statement made by Professor Michael Buxton of RMIT covering the significance and the impact on Melbourne of the new zone proposals. He gave permission for me to quote him. I am then making a suggestion as to the need for a Parliamentary Inquiry by the Standing Committee on the Environment and Planning in order for there to be proper consultation with the public.
Significance of Review of Planning Zones: The Victorian government's proposed new planning zones are the most radical review of planning schemes in the history of Victorian planning. They will lead to fundamental changes in the way Melbourne operates, change the fabric of the city and its hinterland, and remove an extensive range of existing citizen rights. Every citizen will be affected.
The new zone proposals will:
- Replace the three existing residential zones with three new residential zones
- Replace the Business 1, 2 and 5 zones with a new Commercial 1 zone, and the Business 3 and 4 zones with a new Commercial 2 zone
- Extensively alter the Green Wedge zone, rural Conservation zone, Green Wedge A zone, Farming zone, Rural Activity zone and Rural Living zone
- Change the existing Mixed Use zone, Township zone and Low Density Residential zone
- Change the existing Industrial 1, 2 and 3 zones.
The government recently released the report of the Advisory Committee into the Victorian planning system and its response to this report. Neither this report nor the government response advocated the changes to zones now proposed. No other justification or strategic context has been provided for the radical changes to the statutory planning system. Clearly, the government worked extensively on its changes to zones in a secret parallel process while the public was diverted to a public process which proposed only moderate change.
Impact of New Planning Zones: The major impacts will be the introduction of extensive commercial uses into residential areas, the destruction of Melbourne's traditional strip retail centres, the dispersal of commercial activities to car based areas resulting in serious metropolitan wide traffic congestion, the de-facto removal of the urban growth boundary and the extension of a large number of urban related uses into green wedges. Resident rights of notification and objection will be seriously curtailed with many new uses allowed in these new zones without the need for permits.
In particular, the zones will:
- merge residential and commercial uses across urban zones, with an extension of commercial uses into residential areas and little difference between commercial and some industrial zones
- increase the price of commercial and rural land through the encouraging of land speculation
- lead to the growth of large numbers of out-of-centre car based commercial/retail developments including accommodation which will end the current functions of many strip retail centres and lead to substantial car use and increase road congestion across Melbourne
- increase the height of commercial/retail and mixed use developments.
The new zones constitute a largely deregulated land use planning system drawing from the reports and lobbying of market oriented bodies and development groups and growth focused government agencies. These zones, in effect, constitute unfair competition by attempting to allow a wide range of uses in many locations. Existing strip retail centres, for example, will have to compete against new retail development built on much cheaper land far from public transport; land traditionally used for agriculture and rural pursuits will become locations for urban related commercial development and accommodation facilities in unfair competition against higher priced urban land. The principle of unregulated markets also takes no account of their public economic, social and environmental impacts, for example, the impacts on congestion of dispersed commercial development and the associated costs in delays and road construction and maintenance.
The application of the zones and the use of schedules will be subject to ministerial approval. Councils may not be allowed to select zones they regard as appropriate to land in their municipalities.
The use of overlays and structure plans may not significantly reduce the impact of the zones. For example, the Heritage Overlay is increasingly ineffective in preventing development even under current zones, and the effects of structure plans depend on the content and the nature of their incorporation into planning schemes.
Melbourne will not be the same city if these new zones are approved even in a modified form.
Failure of the State Government to Consult Victorians Properly on New Planning Zones:
Here is my comment. This complex set of proposals concerning the new planning zones was sprung upon the public which was given only a month to comment. As commented above it appeared that the public was seriously misled as ..."Clearly, the government worked extensively on its changes to zones in a secret parallel process while the public was diverted to a public process which proposed only moderate change." A number of Councils held planning forums at which planning officers attempted to enlighten the public re detail of the changes. The public encountered difficulties when attempting to make submissions by the deadline last Friday when the DPCS computer crashed. The Planning Minister then gave the public an extension for a week. Our submissions will be referred to a small committee hand picked by the Minister. Members of the Committee cannot be said to be independent.
It is extraordinary that the Planning Minister did not refer the review which is of such great significance to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Environment and Planning. This has not had an inquiry for the past month or so. Public submissions (to this Standing Committee) are put on the Parliamentary website and presentations to the Committee recorded in Hansard. As far as I am aware most members of the public regard this process as open and transparent where people are given a "fair go". Even if members of Parliament are split on Party lines they can write a group dissenting report. Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc recommends that a proper Parliamentary Inquiry be held into the new planning zones.
Secretary Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.
PO Box 197
Mobile: 0408 022408
Email: jbell5 [ AT ] bigpond.com
Planning Backlash Inc, a coalition of 250 resident groups across city, coast and country, is astonished at the complexity of the proposals for major changes to Melbourne and her Green Wedges and the limited time to understand it and make submissions. Coalition members are disappointed that there has been no thought given by Government to run public sessions to explain the changes. As a result the vast majority of people don’t know what is happening and have been given no opportunity to find out.
SUBMISSION TO PROPOSED CHANGES IN PLANNING LAWS
21st September 2012
I am Mary Drost Convenor of PLANNING BACKLASH INC a coalition of 250 resident groups across city, coast and country.
We are astonished at the complexity of the proposals and the limited time to understand it and make submissions. We are disappointed that there has been no thought given by Government to run public sessions to explain the changes. As a result the vast majority of people don’t know what is happening and have been given no opportunity to find out.
Many people are not in a position to have access to internet and this is such a complex document it takes great skill to understand it all.
These proposed changes are very good for the suburban residential areas but there needs better understanding of Rural and Green Wedge areas and the Commercial Zones should be more clearly thought out.
TO RESPOND TO THE SECTIONS IN THE PROPOSALS
1. SUBURBS - Residential
2. GREEN WEDGES
3. RURAL ZONES
4. THE FARMING ZONE
1. SUBURBAN - RESIDENTIAL
We agree with the Zones as finally we can have the protection against inappropriate development that we have been wanting since Melbourne 2030 was brought in and forced onto us 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 needing amendment and the Minister has agreed to a number these amendments during our meeting on the 10th September. Our agreement to the whole zone concept is dependent on these amendments, because if these are kept in, they would negate the advantages.
LIST OF AMENDMENTS THAT WE REQUEST
The Minister will scrap the ‘within 100 m’ of a commercial zone to prevent commercial creep into residential zones. This can in effect double the business area and has unwanted implications.
The Activity Centres will be Principal and Major also Central, and must have fixed boundaries, and not extending out 400 m.
Neighbourhood Activity Centres will be just local shopping strips.
There will be no population targets.
There will be no reduction in residents right to object and appeal.
Maximum heights must apply to all buildings in the zone.
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 and no dilution of present conditions. Rather, enhance the zones to provide the tools to enable the protection of neighbourhood character.
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.
If the Council wants mandatory heights the Minister will give it and the DPCD will not interfere.
We do not agree with office and shops as of right in the RGZ or the GRZ.
We do not agree with food and drink premises as of right in RGZ.
We do not agree with medical centres as of right in RGZ, GRZ or NRZ.
We do not agree with place of worship as of right in any residential zones
We do not agree with changes in size of land where houses can be built without a permit.
We do not agree with 9 mts building heights in NRZ areas as these areas are predominantly one and two storey houses.
Council must retain the current permit requirements under Res 1 and be retained in all residential zones.
Neighbourhood character must be considered and this could mean in areas of predominantly single story detached housing, rescode is varied to suit neighbourhood character, allowing prohibition of boundary to boundary houses
Height limits must apply to all buildings and not just residential.
We request Peer Review as promised by the Minister
SUBURBAN - COMMERCIAL
WE RECOMMEND THAT THESE COMMERCIAL ZONES ALL BE PUT ON HOLD UNTIL IT IS THOUGHT THROUGH PROPERLY AND PROPER CONSULTATION WITH COUNCILS AND COMMUNITY TAKES PLACE. Commercial is not likes as it is pushing high density housing.
IN BRIEF, however:
There must be permits to locate any offices in commercial zones, so that council can direct offices to suitable areas.
* Essential to have permits to locate gaming venues or taverns in Activity Centres
Must have permits to locate cinemas or shops or small supermarkets in enterprise corridors or any other areas.
Third party rights must be retained.
There must be strict height controls.
RURAL, FARMING, INDUSTRIAL AND GREEN WEDGE ZONES
2. GREEN WEDGES
We do not agree with the Green Wedges being encroached on, unless the Green Wedges Coalition agrees to any parts being taken out. We would suggest that if any part has to come out for some urgent reason that it be replaced somewhere else.
We do not agree with the proposed developments in the Green Wedges, such as new as of right uses especially rural industry and rural store. Nor should previously prohibited uses become discretionary such as abattoir, medical centre, place of assembly, sawmill, service station. These being discretionary will add to VCAT and council work and will significantly change the intended character of the Green Wedges.
There should be much further community consultation before any changes are brought in. Much more time is needed.
We have suggested to the Minister that instead, he do all possible to turn the Wedges into a Green Belt as there is around London and has development further out (providing it is not on good farming land) and that fast trains run out to new areas so that people can commute as they do into London.
In addition we recommend that the Minister takes immediate steps to protect the other Green strips running across Melbourne – the waterways. These are constantly threatened by development along their edges and these waterways should be protected and be Green Ribbons in Melbourne, with no building allowed near their edges so that they have natural growth along their length for future generations to enjoy.
We understand that Ted Baillieu agreed to the plan to create a Capital City Yarra Park and this should be done without delay before any more destruction by developers is allowed by VCAT.
3. RURAL ZONES
The changes in these zones have not been strategically justified.
We object strongly to the changes of prohibited to discretionary use and discretionary to as of right use. This will result in uncontrolled buildings and works and this should not be allowed. These include schools and service stations . Changes to the Section 173 agreements is opposed.
Rural Activities Zone
We oppose change to as of right for bed and breakfast occupation, primary produce sales, rural industry and rural stores – these must be controlled by the responsible authority.
We oppose the change to discretionary use for abattoir, accommodation other than dwelling, retail premises, sawmill and warehouse.
Rural Conservation Zone
We oppose the changes from prohibited into section 2 needing a permit, such as accommodation other than dwelling and dependent persons unit, animal boarding, agriculture freezing and cool storage changes, landscape garden supplies, leisure and recreation and primary and secondary schools, changes to requirements for restaurants
Rural Living Zone
We oppose the reduction in the minimum lot size for a dwelling from 8 hectares to 2 hectares. This zone is for rural residential way of life and this change would spoil that.
4. THE FARMING ZONE
We do not support the change from discretionary to as of right for primary produce sales, rural industry or rural store, increase of bed and breakfast from 6 to 10.
We do not support the change from prohibited to discretionary of abattoir, industry, landscape garden supplies, market, sawmill, trade supplies, warehouse.
This zone should protect natural resources
What is proposed raises serious questions and this should be looked into more carefully before being introduced as it has drastic implications. We suggest independent studies should be undertaken before proceeding.
6. TOWNSHIP ZONE
Basically there are improvements in this zone but we do not agree with Medical Centres or expanded Places of Worship being without permit.
However the Low Density Residential Zone, which is usually unsewered and lacking in services and in water catchment areas, will be worse off - we object to changes re Medical Centres and Takeaway Food Premises. Nor do we agree with the land subdivision to 2,000 sqm because of the effect it would have on Macedon, Kyneton, Gisborne etc. and possibly others in other areas.
ADDITIONAL ZONE SUGGESTED - WORLD HERITAGE ZONE
It would ensure the ongoing protection of this precious part of Melbourne to create its own zone with its own protective measures to both the Exhibition Building and surrounding garden.
We believe there is great merit in the proposed Residential Zones providing our amendments are carried through.
The other zones need a lot of more study and consultation.
Much of what has been proposed will permanently damage what makes Melbourne such a desirable city.
The push to keep the economy going by this means is very short sighted and does not work in the long run.
There is a lack of strategic justification and no statement re the economic and social impacts of the reforms.
There is a lack of information concerning transitioning to the new zones, resourcing, current planning applications and VCAT appeals.
At the moment there exists on the outskirts of Melbourne several years of supply of land owned by developers ready for development and in addition several years supply of land inside Melbourne. It is poor judgement to spread even further and destroy so much good farming land when there is no need. Maybe in the near future a Federal Government will put a hold on this excessive immigration that is spoiling our city. It is time to be clever and copy the Dutch who are going in for super high tech to keep the economy high while keeping a stable population.
I request to speak to the Panel when the Review committee runs public hearings.
Planning Backlash Inc
[Name and phone number excised by Candobetter editor]
28 SEPTEMBER 2012
The government needs to listen to the electorate. Consecutive public community polls have shown that Australians are very concerned about the ongoing rapid rate of population growth and density of development, food security, and social disorganisation in poorly serviced new suburbs.
Public should have last word on urban expansion and population growth.
Today, 20 June 2012, Jill Quirk, President of the Victorian and Tasmanian branches of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), said that the public should not only 'have their say' on urban expansion and population growth, but they should be listened to and heeded.
She strongly criticised the Baillieu government’s move to further extend the urban growth boundary around Melbourne.
In addition, she pointed out that consecutive public community polls have shown that people are very concerned about the ongoing rapid rate of population growth and density of development that is causing traffic congestion, crowded public transport and environmental pollution in Victoria.
“Extending urban growth further into green wedge is not the solution” she said “as it is creating unsustainable communities without adequate infrastructure and services, heavily dependent on motorised transport. There are also food security concerns as more and more food-growing land is being lost under concrete construction and roads.”
Ms Quirk said
“Planning Minister Mathew Guy has failed to act for future sustainability and instead has responded to pressure from property developers and land-banking speculators who are the drivers of high population growth”.
The history of Victoria's began with historically well-planned open and natural space, in contrast to the cramped living conditions of overpopulated Britain. In recent years large swathes of public land have been sold off and truncated, with Melbourne's Royal Park among the most notable. Green wedges were identified for protection broadly following rivers in Melbourne, but these are being ripped into by government supported developers in defiance of public opinion.
“Earlier governments strongly endorsed the preservation of green wedge areas beyond Melbourne’s fringe as essential for healthy communities” President Quirk said “ but we are now losing those areas to the detriment of future generations who will be left with just ribbon suburbs.
We firmly believe it is time for a referendum on population growth.”
Culex molestus is thought to have been introduced into southern Australia in the 1940s, hitching a ride into the country with travelling American military personnel. The species is known in other countries for the spread of West Nile virus. Since the 1940s the mosquito has been found in all states except Queensland and the Northern Territory. Where exactly the mosquito came from before arriving in Australia is still a mystery but it is well known from cities in the US and Europe. The mosquito infamously made a meal of Londoners sleeping in the Underground during the Blitz and is often commonly referred to as the London Underground Mosquito. The culex species, although not necessarily Culex molestus, has been implicated in the spread of diverse diseases which include Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis.
Enigmatic international mosquito species lurks in unexpected places
(19 June 2012) A secretive and exotic species of mosquito found across much of Australia has revealed a new twist on the insect’s famous ‘blood-sucking’ reputation to researchers at the University of Sydney.
Researchers discovered that rather than breeding in ponds, pools or wetlands, the Culex molestus mosquito has adapted to life underground, particularly in septic tanks and disused stormwater pipes.
Exotic underground mosquito that postpones its blood feast
Unlike other mosquitoes, the Culex molestus can also develop their eggs without first requiring a blood meal.
“The curious biological trait of this underground-dwelling mosquito shows that people in cities need to take mosquitoes’ amazing adaptability into account when designing water storage systems,” said Dr Cameron Webb, from University’s Department of Medical Entomology and Westmead Hospital.
Dr Webb is the team leader of a study on the mosquitoes which has been published in this month’s edition of the Journal of Vector Ecology.
“We have spent the last two years chasing the species, which has adapted superbly to life beneath our cities,” Dr Webb said.
“Finding this mosquito isn’t easy. Instead of wandering through pristine wetlands, we were snooping around stormwater drains and other polluted structures,” said Dr Webb.
“However, the toilet blocks in urban parklands were where we really struck gold. The disused septic tanks associated with these structures are where this mosquito is commonly found.”
While the majority of pest mosquitoes require blood to develop their eggs, the female of this species can develop and lay a batch of eggs using nutrients stored earlier in its life cycle.
This phenomenon is known as autogeny and has been documented in a number of mosquitoes.
“The breakthrough with our study is that if this mosquito is offered a blood meal, it won’t bite until its first batch of eggs has been laid. We believe this is the only Australian species to exhibit this behaviour” Dr Webb said.
“Once that first batch of eggs has been laid, they are on the hunt for blood and can be severe nuisance-biting pests.”
It is difficult to know why the mosquito ignores the offer of blood but given the absence of suitable animals to feed on in underground tanks and pipes, this biological adaptation ensures the mosquito can exclusively exploit these habitats not just during the summer but throughout the year.
Mosquito epidemiology-naive Planners and Developers increase risk to community
Planners and Developers need education in the risks of exacerbating mosquito-borne disease when they clear new land, disturb soil and water, and create new water-storage opportunities.
Dr Webb mentioned that in NSW some councils are requiring developers to incorporate mosquito opportunity prevention into their plans.
“One of the major implications of this work is that we must be mindful of the mosquito risks when designing subterranean water storage systems in our cities so we do not create new opportunities for mosquitoes.”
“Ensuring water storage structures are screened or designed to limit the opportunities for mosquito access is crucial. Perhaps more importantly, when assessing the risks of mosquito-borne disease, these underground habitats shouldn’t be ignored,” said Dr Webb.
Risks involved in community's and gardeners' water-saving techniques
The community should be aware of the risks involved in opportunistically conserving water in all sorts of containers as the cost of water rises in Australia. Dr Webb described how, although a well-constructed water tank may be impermeable at first, over time most water-storage becomes vulnerable.
The presence of fish in natural water-sources is a safety factor that is lacking in most artificial storage containers. Fish love mosquito larvae and, together with other predators of mosquitoes in natural environments, keep diseases associated with mosquitoes down.
Culex molestus is thought to have been introduced into southern Australia in the 1940s, hitching a ride into the country with travelling American military personnel. Since then, the mosquito has been found in all states except Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Where exactly the mosquito came from before arriving in Australia is still a mystery but it is well known from cities in the US and Europe. The mosquito infamously made a meal of Londoners sleeping in the Underground during the Blitz and is often commonly referred to as the London Underground Mosquito.
“Mosquitoes have adapted to a wide range of ecological niches, from coastal rock pools to alpine snowmelt pools. Advancing our understanding of how mosquitoes adapt to their habitats will improve the ways we manage their pest and public health impacts,” Dr Webb said.
Human disease implications of culex molestus habits
I asked Dr Cameron Webb whether there had been any epidemiological reasons for studing Culex molestus.
Dr Webb said that the species belongs to a group internationally known to be important for spreading diseases like West Nile Virus. The species has not been studied well in Australia. Recent study has focused on the species with the aim of filling a gap in our knowledge in case of any problems in the future.
How does culex molestus get into closed systems like disused underground pipes and septic tanks? Do they seep in as 'wrigglers' or do they find other ways in?
Although these underground spaces appear closed to us, they presumably have all kinds of fissures and small openings, particularly with earth movement over time.
"We should not underestimate how clever they are," says Dr Cameron Webb.
There are few if any marine or aqueous environments that don't have their mosquito. Wherever a mosquito can find a toe-hold, it is likely to establish. In the case of Culex molestus lack of fish and other predators in its underground lairs is an obvious advantage.
Some mosquitoes require sunlight to dry their chitinous wings before they can fly. Culex molestus, which spends much of its life underground, must have found some way to do without sunlight in this process. There is a lot we still do not know about this mosquito and other mosquitoes.
There are about 300 species of mosquito in Australia.
The culex species, although not necessarily Culex molestuss, has been implicated in the spread of diverse diseases which include Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis.
With climate change and expected warming of south eastern states of Australia, there is also a risk of in-migration of tropical mosquitoes and their diseases, including those that carry dengue fever (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus and malaria (notably the anopheles mosquito).
The contributing authors on the paper are Nur Faeza Abu Kassim and Professor Richard Russell from the Department of Medical Entomology at the University of Sydney.
This superb document establishes a history of concerted public demand for protection of the green wedges and a host of reasons for that public opposition to Matthew Guy's six new suburbs. It represents more than 80 groups of Victorians - (Ed. Candobetter.) "The whole rationale for extending the Urban Growth Boundary is to accommodate the unprecedented flood of population to Victoria. PPL VIC considers that the extension of the Urban Growth Boundary is really the thin end of the wedge. As there are no plans to stop the present high rate of population growth (mostly from immigration) the process of loss of Green Wedges and agricultural land is endless. There will be another extension when the proposed boundaries are seen to be filling up. The Government must abandon the Green Wedge land grab as destructive of the environment, a threat to wildlife, including endangered species, and as a major contributor to Green House Gas Emissions. Around the urban fringe we have a concentration of some of the most endangered eco- systems in Australia..." Julianne Bell, Protectors of Public Land, VictoriaJulianne Bell, Protectors of Public Land, Victoria.
The superb document below establishes a history of concerted public demand for protection of the green wedges and a host of reasons for that public opposition to Matthew Guy's six new suburbs. It represents more than 80 groups of Victorians protesting against Victorian government population growth and development policies for reasons that damn Matthew Guy's extension of the Urban Growth Boundary. These extensions are even worse than those planned by the preceding government, however the preceding Kennett, Bracks and Brumby Governments created the planning precedents and undemocratic conditions that give the Baillieu Government the delusion that it has the right to ride over citizens rights' to conserve public land and wildlife habitat from private greed.
Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.
Mr George Seitz
Outer Suburban/Interface Services & Development Committee
C/- Parliament House
Spring Street, Melbourne
19 October 2009
Dear Mr. Seitz,
Submission to Parliamentary Outer Suburban Interface/Services and Development Committee Inquiring into the Impact of State Government Decision to Change the Urban Growth Boundary
I am making a submission on behalf of Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. (PPL VIC.) I should by way of introduction mention that our organisation, established in 2004, is a State wide coalition of over 80 environment, heritage, resident and parks groups across Victoria. We are dedicated to keeping public lands in public hands and to protecting and conserving iconic heritage places and environmental sites of significance.
Summary of Grounds of Opposition: In addressing the terms of reference we are considering
“The impact of the State Government’s decision to change the urban growth boundary on landholders and the environment…”
PPL VIC draws the Committee’s attention to the failure of the State Government in strategic urban planning over the last 10 years and in encouraging uncontrolled entry of settlers to Victoria without examining sustainable population levels. We object to creation of growth areas outside the existing boundaries as extending and creating urban sprawl; alienation of established Green Wedges; destruction of the environment and wildlife; loss of biodiversity; creation of “dormitory” settlements without infrastructure and services; likely social alienation of youth; loss of arable land for food production; increasing car dependency; worsening Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to climate change with land clearance, unsustainable housing and reliance on road transport; plus knowingly approving the building of new settlements in fire-prone areas. Additionally we deplore the imposition of a vendor tax on landowners in order to fund the infrastructure of the new settlements and the impetus given to land speculation and “land banking.” PPL VIC supports the submissions made by our colleagues from the “Green Wedges Coalition” and “Taxed Out”.
The grounds of our submission are as follows:
New Growth Areas = Future Urban Sprawl = Major Failure of Strategic Urban Planning:
The Bracks Government guaranteed in 2002 that, under a Labor Government there would be no changes or amendments to the Urban Boundary or to the Green Wedges corridors. The fact that there are now radical changes represents a serious breach of faith with the electorate by the Brumby Government. Melbourne 2030 was considered to be the blue print for future development and was expressly intended to contain future urban sprawl; to prevent urban incursions into rural land; to concentrate residential growth into areas served by high capacity public transport; and protect sensitive environmental zones around the city. Many planners have pronounced Melbourne 2030 dead in view of recent radical departures from the plan.
Before the 2002 election the State Government announced protection of Melbourne’s green wedges from subdivision and inappropriate urban uses. There was bipartisan support - the Opposition supported the green wedge protection legislation when it passed through the Legislative Assembly before the 2002 election.
The Government has additionally broken a 2005 promise when 11,500 hectares was excised from Green Wedges land that there would be no further changes until 2030. The community accepted the excision on this proviso. Apparently, the Minister for Planning gave a number of assurances right up to the announcement of the review of the Urban Growth Boundary that there would be changes to Green Wedges. .
The State Government announced its review of the Urban Growth Boundary in December 2008 when it released the Melbourne @5 million, an update to Melbourne 2030: Planning for Sustainable Development. This signalled the State Government’s plans to open up at least 23,000 hectares – including land in Green Wedges areas - for urban expansion to allow for construction of 600,000 houses with 284, 000 of these to be located in growth areas. It was only apparently belatedly realised by Government advisers and planners that Victoria needs to accommodate another 1 million people before 2025. By 2036 Melbourne is predicted to have a further 1.8 million, twice the number forecast by Melbourne 2030 planners. By anyone’s reckoning failure to predict this massive population boom is a monumental blunder in strategic planning (See also comment under population)
We can see no improvements under the current Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities (DMNSC) report on the Urban Growth Boundary Review released in June 2009. PPL VIC was alarmed to see that according to the Green Wedges Coalition the report proposes to excise a further 41,663 hectares from Melbourne’s Green Wedges, nearly twice the area estimated to have been needed in last December’s Melbourne @ 5 Million report.
Minister Madden has added to proposals by announcing on 6 October 2009 that new “Precinct Structure Plans guidelines” were to be added, a kind of overlay for suburbs of 3,000 dwellings or more. These guidelines were drawn up to try to ensure developments avoided becoming isolated, so called “dormitory” suburbs - places where there is nothing to do but sleep. The Age article of 11 October 2009 “Sprawl of the wild,” by Melissa Fyfe says “
The Victorian Government has discovered sustainable communities. Pity it’s 10 years late.”
On 16 October 2009 Planning Minister Madden announced the draft legislation for Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution Bill. We have only been given time to make comments until 2 November 2009. (It is not known if the legislation will be introduced to Parliament before this Committee has reported.) The problem is that arrangement to levy the GAIC have been changed or significantly amended. Michael Hocking of Taxed Out says on his website:
“This is taxing the landowner by stealth. The tax is still applied at a flat rate regardless of the sale price yet the land may be twenty years from development. A property owner needing to sell in the short-term will find it virtually impossible to find a purchaser who is prepared to accept a GAIC liability when he sells, meaning the only likely purchaser is a developer not interested in the value of the dwelling and not interested in paying development prices for land that won't be developed for decades. The Growth Areas Authority assumptions relating to value uplift remain fundamentally flawed and Taxed Out Inc. intends to expose these issues at the Parliamentary Inquiry…In many respects this situation is worse than that originally proposed.
PPL VIC deplores the fact that the State Government appears to have attempted to mislead affected landowners. We also point out that this debacle over changes to the GAIC further illustrates that our contention that this is planning on the run.
What is a Sustainable Population for Victoria?
The whole rationale for extending the Urban Growth Boundary is to accommodate the unprecedented flood of population to Victoria. It is instructional to Google the “Population Clock” of the Bureau of Statistics. This shows the resident population of Australia which increases by one person every 1 minute and 12 seconds. This projection is based on the estimated resident population at 31 March 2009 and assumes growth since then of:
• one birth every 1 minute and 44 seconds,
• one death every 3 minutes and 39 seconds,
• a net gain of one international migrant every 1 minutes and 53 seconds leading to
• an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 12 seconds
PPL VIC considers that the extension of the Urban Growth Boundary is really the thin end of the wedge. As there are no plans to stop the present high rate of population growth (mostly from immigration) the process of loss of Green Wedges and agricultural land is endless. There will be another extension when the proposed boundaries are seen to be filling up.
The extension of the Urban Growth Boundary does not save private or public open space in the established suburbs - the rate of population growth is so high that Melbourne is getting more urban densification daily as well as urban sprawl. As we have pointed out the State Government is devoid of coherence in these planning matters and its approach to endless population growth.
PPL VIC considers it imperative that the Victorian Government hold a forum to determine the population sustainable for Victoria, especially in view of water shortages and the likelihood of future droughts. (Excuses used have been “immigration is a Federal matter” but State Premiers have influence in Canberra.) At a rally on 14 July 2009 protesting over Planning Minister Madden’s “Cash for Chat” with developers, PPLVIC and allies delivered a set of resolutions to the Minister including the need for a population forum. There were over 500 people at the Rally which indicates the strength of public feeling concerning the issues raised here.
I have a quote here from Mr Kelvin Thomson MHR, Federal Member for Wills who says that:
Everything that makes our city the great place to live, work and raise a family, is potentially under threat if population growth and urban sprawl continue at the current rate. We must implement a strategy to control population growth, urban expansion and development. Our way of life, open spaces and infrastructure cannot be sacrificed on the altar of ever expanding population. We have a responsibility to secure our city’s future by thorough, thoughtful and detailed planning. This planning should not include an expanding Melbourne waistline.” (“Five Million is too many: Securing the Social and Environmental Future of Melbourne” Submission to the Urban Growth Boundary Review July 2009.
Destruction of the Environment and Green Wedges:
The Government must abandon the Green Wedge land grab as destructive of the environment, a threat to wildlife, including endangered species, and as a major contributor to Green House Gas Emissions. Around the urban fringe we have a concentration of some of the most endangered eco- systems in Australia including the Western Basalt Plains Grasslands and Grassy Woodlands in the Darebin, Jackson and Merri Creek valleys, with 400 year-old red gums, and plus loss of habitat for a range of threatened species (e.g. Southern Brown Bandicoot.) PPL VIC supports the submission of the Green Wedges Coalition as being an excellent detailed statement of the threats to significant landscapes, endangered species and wildlife plus indigenous vegetation.
The 15,000 hectares of grassland reserves to be provided over 10 years as a trade-off for grasslands is apparently of poorer quality than the kangaroo (themeda) grasslands to be destroyed
The removal of environmental protection from all areas within the Urban Growth Boundary would seem to indicate that areas such as significant parts of the Merri Creek Catchment will not be protected from environmental damage or even clearing.
Areas for development are clear felled by developers. The loss of trees and other vegetation for housing adds to global warming effect. Is there any provision for conservation?
The proposed high density, low open private space in these outer suburbs means they will be hotter - urban heat island effect - from the lack of the cooling effect of vegetation/transpiration - low ratio of vegetation to concrete and other hard surfaces.
What provision is made for public open space? There is no mention made of public open space for passive recreation as well as sports fields and recreation areas.
On past performance, no allowance will be made for wildlife in outer suburban development. PPL VIC has had experience with kangaroos of Somerton and Morang where animals get trapped in developed areas and just left to get killed on roads. The outer suburban interface is considered terra nullius it seems. What of smaller animals/birds what about the grasslands and inhabitants? There appears to be no consideration given to the creation or maintenance of wildlife corridors.
The State Government appears to have taken little notice of report by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Mr Ian Mc Phail, in “The State of the Environment Victoria 2008”. In it he comments:
"Victoria's population growth, increasing affluence and the expansion of our cities and towns has contributed to unsustainable levels of resource consumption and waste production. This has direct environmental impacts through changes in land use from conservation and agriculture to cities and towns. To supply our cities and towns, we harvest water for residential and manufacturing purposes, changed river flows, discharge wastes to land and sea, remove native vegetation and send damaging gases into the atmosphere." (Refer in the report to A Culture of Consumption. Drivers of Change – Population, Change and Settlements Page 9)
The report continues:
“Continuing growth of Victoria’s population will increase demand for land, as well as housing and transport services, potentially leading to more waste and pollution. Extra demand for water is particularly pertinent given the predictive effects of climate change on already depleted water storages.”
Mr Mc Phail concludes on a depressing note:
"It is currently cheaper to protect the environment to than to restore it but it is even cheaper to degrade it…”
Urban Growth Areas in Fire Prone Areas:
Whether it is advisable settling thousands of people in outer suburban fire prone areas does not appear to have occurred to the Government. These are the outer suburban areas classified as "Growth Areas": Beveridge, Bulla, Devin Meadows, Cranbourne East, Clyde North, Diggers Rest, Donnybrook, Kalkalo, Melton, Mt Cottrell, Officer, Pakenham, South Morang, Sunbury, Tarneit and Truganina.
Councils opposed to the extension of the Growth Areas Boundary and the imposition of the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution are Melton, Casey, Cardinia and Mitchell. Wyndham refuses to comment.
It is apparent that these areas are either under resourced by fire services or not serviced at all. We assume this also goes for ambulance and police. Would the State Government be liable if fire services were not provided and a fire went through the settlement?
The Age reported on 4 July 2009 (Lessons to Learn) on the proceedings of the Bushfire Royal Commission and pointed to urban sprawl as one of the “fatal confluence of factors” that led to Black Saturday.
Cost to Victorians:
The cost of building new homes in the rural fringes of Melbourne is double that of constructing infill dwellings in the inner city. This is the hidden cost of suburban sprawl. This is an unacceptable financial burden for Victorian tax payers to shoulder. The added costs include extra infrastructure such as power, water and transport, as well as higher health costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
The report, commissioned by the State Department of Planning and released in July, cites research that found
"for every 1000 dwellings, the cost for infill development (in existing suburbs) is $309 million and the cost of fringe developments is $653 million".
It has been stated by Minister Madden in Parliament (and reported in the Sunday Age 11 October that the funds to be raised by the $95,000 hectares Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution will cover only 15 per cent of total infrastructure costs. The Minister is prepared to sacrifice Green Wedges land that makes Melbourne “livable” and to destroy the livelihoods of many small landowners and farmers for this minor financial return.
Unfair Tax on Land Vendors: The Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution is an unfair, discriminatory tax on family farms and small landowners, even after amendment by the State Government in draft legislation. As we have consistently maintained, the tax needs to be withdrawn and any charges levied at the point of development, consistent with the approach taken in other Australian states. PPL VIC supports the campaigns of “Taxed Out” and as mentioned above held a joint rally on 14 July 2009 to protest against the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution.
Perpetuation of Car Dependency: The plans to construct major freeways/ring roads and the absence of plans for extensive rail networks to serve the new suburbs spells out that the population of Melbourne will remain dependent on cars despite the uncertain future of oil. We are particularly concerned over plans to build the E6 freeway through Woollert. The roadway appears redundant.
Reduction of Arable Land: Given our population crisis and likely food shortages with the drought it is unthinkable that the Government can even be contemplating turning over arable land for housing development. The loss of vegetable farms including prime market garden land in the Westernport Catchment will increase food miles for our produce.
Increase of Green House Gas Emissions: Climate change is the most important moral question of the age and must be at the forefront of our public policy. The State Government appears to have its head in the sand. Compared to other cities in the world Melbourne has one of the highest rates per capita. Our private vehicles and public transport were recently recorded to generate 11 million tonnes of carbon monoxide a year compared with 8.5 tonnes in London. The increase in urban sprawl will worsen our figure.
Accommodation of Population within Existing Urban Growth Boundaries:
No examination has been undertaken of how the increased population can be accommodated in Metropolitan Melbourne.
Suggestions have been made that an inventory should be conducted of development applications which have already been approved by Council within the Urban Growth Boundary but which have not yet been built. Utilizing existing approvals might go some way to addressing the issue.
An inventory also needs to be undertaken of brown field sites and land which could be available for residential development – former transport depots, rail sidings and Commonwealth Government sites eg the Maribyrnong Defence site.
It is most unfortunate that the practice of “land banking” by developers appears widespread throughout the city. Take for example land on the former Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital site in Parkville which was given to Australand and the Citta Property Group to build a residential development then used for 2 weeks for the 2006 Commonwealth Games Village. The original plans showed a wall of 700 units in a 9 storey block along City Link. The land is still vacant and there have been no attempts to commence building. The developers are said to be waiting until the “market is right.” The truth is that developers prefer green field sites and are unwilling to invest in developing brown field sites.
Request to Committee: PPL VIC urges the Committee to reject approval of the extension of the Urban Growth Boundary and the iniquitous Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution and to develop recommendations for accommodating increased population within the Urban Boundary plus arriving at consensus for determining a sustainable population for Melbourne.
Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.
P) Box 197