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Total lack of consideration for the Loss of Habitat for Native Animals is shameful and unacceptable

Exposure Draft Planning and Environment Amendment (GAIC) Bill

I understand that the exposure draft legislation for the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) has been released for public comment. I am totally opposed to the extension of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and with it the destruction of Green Wedges and imposition of a land tax - the GAIC. My reasons:

1. The proposed GAIC is a grossly unfair tax and is fundamentally flawed. Although it has been substantially amended prior to drafting the legislation, landowners are still significantly disadvantaged. The tax is now to be levied on the purchaser rather than the seller. This will mean the price a landowner receives from the sale will be reduced by the amount of the tax. Only developers are likely to purchase land with a tax liability. I advocate that the State Government withdraw this proposed tax and only impose land taxes at the point of development, as in other Australian States. Fair and equitable taxation is a basic tenet of our democracy.

2. The imposition of a complex taxation system on land sales is likely to expand the bureaucracy of the Growth Areas Authority, thus reducing funds available for infrastructure of new settlements and defeating the purpose of the legislation.

3. The cost of building new homes on the rural fringes of Melbourne is double that of constructing infill dwellings in the inner city. This is the hidden cost of suburban sprawl. The added costs include extra infrastructure. (A report, commissioned by your Department 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".) As you stated in Parliament, the funds to be raised by the $95,000 per hectare GIAC tax will cover only 15 per cent of total infrastructure costs of new growth areas.

4. Expansion of the UGB and the rezoning of land from rural to residential will mean Green Wedges land will be engulfed by suburban sprawl. 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 is concentrated 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 and habitat for a range of threatened species. These will be lost if the UGB expands.

5. Expansion of the UGB will mean reduction of arable land for farming and food production with urban sprawl.

6. Expansion of the UGB will mean increased risk of bush fires with urban sprawl in new fire-prone areas.

7. Expansion of the UGB will mean increased car dependency and increased green house gas emissions.

8. Construction of the E6 through Wollert and Woodstock is destructive of these townships and their landscapes.

9. The State Government has failed to consider the question of what is a sustainable population for Victoria, given scant water supply, peak oil crisis coming up and climate change.

10. As the Prime Minister has just announced the Federal Government’s involvement in planning of Australian cities and provision of infrastructure, the State Government’s move to raise infrastructure funds for new growth areas appears precipitate and premature.

The above was a Submission made on November 2 2009 by Maryland Wilson,President Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc, to:

The Hon Justin Madden MLC
Minister for Planning
Parliament of Victoria
Spring Street
East Melbourne 3002 Date:

Sent to: Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution Comment, GPO Box 2392, Melbourne Victoria 3001 or email to GAIC.comment[AT]



Tuesday 24th November 2009, 12.30pm on the steps of Parliament House

(This post has been turned into a blog entry. Thanks, Jeanette. - JS)