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Hong Kong planning rules for Melbourne under Labor - Alert from the Boroondara Residents’ Action Group

BRAG has always tried to remain unaligned politically but the plans the Andrews’ Government has for centralizing planning, if re-elected, require us to take a stand. The plans are being developed in secret by Labor to ensure that massive changes can be rammed through, if re-elected, to push at least 70% of new medium to high density housing into the middle suburbs of Melbourne. What this means is that you can expect multi-storey blocks of flats in your local street and neither you nor your council will be able to do a thing about it. You will have no right to be advised, object or appeal and the first indication will be when construction commences.

And these flats won’t be just two or three story, they could be up to seven or eight storeys or even more. No more mandatory heights, no real restriction on how many dwellings per block, as Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, has told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that, under the changes, 10 or more dwellings could be built on a single block. Previously the maximum per block was only two dwellings per block. No more backyards or gardens and lots of concrete.

On the other hand, the Coalition has announced at our Restore Residents’ Rights Rally on the steps of Parliament, that, if elected it will restore the Neighbourhood Residential Zone and General Residential Zone protections introduced under the former Coalition Government recently torn up by Labor. In addition we have established that the Coalition will review VCAT’s practice of acting as another “Responsible Authority” and overturning over 80% of council properly arrived at decisions. We attach a copy of David Davis’ presentation at the Rally which confirms the Coalition’s position and we also have confirmation in writing from David Davis (Shadow Minister for Planning).

BRAG is raising this issue because Labor’s plans for intense densification of our suburban residential areas will drastically change the way we live.

You can do something about this at the coming election if you don’t want to live in an overcrowded neighbourhood.


Dave Davis, (Lib) Shadow Minister for Planning committments to restore protections to residential zones

Shadow Minister for Planning,
The Hon David Davis Mp
Speech to the Restore Residents' Rights Rally
Front steps of Parliament House
8 June 2017

I am very pleased to be here today, determined to support people right across Melbourne- There are many of my colleagues here as well who are determined to see that the liveability of Melbourne is protected and enhanced.

lnterjection (lndistinct).

Well, we did do some very significant things. We put in neighbourhood residential zones and protections on general residential zones. What I would say is this: We are at serious risk at the moment. The Plan Melbourne Refresh that came in in recent weeks and VC110, the planning amendment that accompanied it, strips away many of the protections that were put in place, the protections of neighbourhood residential zones and general residential zones.

General residential zones go from 9 metres to 11 metres, neighbourhood residential zones go from 8 metres to 9 metres and the cap of two residences per property has now been removed completely,
removed completely. And Richard Wynne admitted under pressure at PAEC, the public accounts committee, the other day that 10 or more can now be crammed onto one of those neighbourhood
residential blocks.

I make a commitment today, that if we are elected in 2018, we will restore the residential zones those protections.

A key aspect of where this (Andrews Labor) government is heading is public land and they are on a mission seize public land across the state and to develop it with massive, massive The people at Markham Estate know exactly what I am saying. Everyone supports, in the case of Markham, everyone supports the replacement of old public housing stock with new publlc housing stock. But no-body imagined for a second that massive towers would be built on that site. No-one imagined for a second that the density would be taken in that way. lt is a sell off of public land and as the FOI that was achieved by Graham watt makes clear, it was about achieving - their words {Labor), not mine - "super profits", "super profits".

Well let me just say very clearly the (Labor) government, through its new Development Victoria body, a merger of Major Projects with Places Victoria and that has got a remit to develop public land right across the state. We sought to put in protections for the community to say that those developments had to be approved by councils, that councils must support them' That was defeated in the upper house, but that protection now not there means that the new Development Victoria
body is going fast and wide across the state to find public land parcels that they can put intense development on.

The other point I want to make is the lnfrastructure Victoria document the 30 year plan does not have the support behind it that is required. And that document aims at one single thing. lts first and
primary objective fo1 Melbourne for the next 30 years is densification. Well I say that is the wrong objective for Melbourne. lt's about liveability. lt's about quality of life. lt's about a decent and fair Melbourne, not a Melbourne where densification is the objective of the whole State Government.

So I say to density Dan (Andrews): No, we actually want a fairer system. We actually want to protect land. We want to see more open space and we want to protect vegetation. Today, there are trees being cut down on St Kilda Road - the loss of the hundreds of trees along the Skyrail corridor - just ripped out. No Environmental Effects Statement. No process' Torn away' Never to be replaced in any realistic way. And that loss of vegetation that is occurring through our suburbs has got to be protected.

On the peninsula, it is very clear the Government is seeking to ignore the Peninsula specific planning protections that were put in place in 2014, that try to treat the Mornington Peninsula as a distinct and unique zone that needs its own protections. The GRZ changes down there will see the proliferation of three storey buildings right across the Peninsula as of right. And that is where we are heading and I think it is wrong and I think it is a terrible risk for Melbourne.

So we need to protect Melbourne. We need to have more involvement for our regional cities which want to play a bigger role and want to have a better outcome there. I say to the Planning Backlash people here today and to those from groups all across the city and beyond, we are prepared to work and make sure that we have a better city, a more liveable city and we will restore the neighbourhood protection zone protections that were put in place and restore them to protect those areas of Melbourne that need it and right across and beyond.