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Melbourne Minister Madden makes planning policy on the run

They say a week is a long time in politics but in Victoria a day is a long time.

They say a week is a long time in politics but in Victoria a day is a long time. Community members tracking the progress of the Planning and Environment Amendment (Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution GAIC) Bill have been stunned at the mercurial changes in policy exhibited by Planning Minister Justin Madden in relation to this Bill. A month ago Minister Madden was saying that he expected the planned expansion of the urban growth boundary by 43,600 hectares to be the last expansion in his lifetime. Yet a week ago he was conceding that there may have to be changes to Melbourne's urban growth boundary. He made the excuse that his not-in-my-lifetime comments were about major changes to the outer urban growth boundary not just little amendments.

Julianne Bell Secretary of the Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. commented:

“We have been taking a great interest in the progress of this Bill. If passed it will change the face of Melbourne forever and irrevocably affect the lives of many outer suburban/rural land owners. PPL VIC considers the GAIC tax is grossly unfair, unequal and discriminatory impacting on small landowners and property owners on the rural fringes of Melbourne. We are implacably opposed to the extension of the Urban Growth Boundary and alienation of Green Wedges which will automatically be implemented if the Bill is passed.

Internal contradictions, political twists and turns

We found it most extraordinary that on Tuesday last Jenny Mikakos, MLC Member for Northern Metropolitan representing the Government, said “…the government does not support any move to delay consideration of this bill… It is important that Parliament deals with this bill before Christmas so that the government can give certainty to land-holders and industry. We believe there is no logical reason to delay consideration of this bill any further, and we will be opposing the procedural motion on that basis.” Yet late yesterday Wednesday Minister Madden approached the Opposition with a series of amendments and changes to the GAIC Bill. This was the fifth proposed change to Bill and gave the Opposition, let alone the community just 16 hours to scrutinise the amendments. This is an absolute joke and indicates to us that that planning in this State is conducted on the run.”

GAIC Bill deferred to 2 February 2010

The Bill has been “deferred” which means that it will not be considered until the next sitting of Parliament starting on 2 February 2010. As it will have been deferred for than two months it will be referred to the Disputes Committee. So its fate is uncertain. Meantime the Government blames the Opposition and Greens for holding up the Bill and for not giving the landowners “certainty.” The question is what sort of certainty Minister?

Rally at Parliament 2 February 2010

Make a date for 2 February 2010 - see you at the biggest rally ever on the steps of Parliament to continue our protest over the GAIC Bill! Best wishes for the festive season and a tax-free, green and carbon reduced 2010!

Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.(PPL VIC)
Thursday 10 December 2009

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