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Draft Yarra Strategic Plan - Submission from Ian Hundley

The draft Yarra Strategic Plan claims to deliver the first Victorian integrated river corridor strategy and to identify immediate actions for the river corridor, enabling long-term collaborative management between agencies and Traditional Owners. It is intended to guide local planning. We publish here a critical submission to this draft plan. Summary of submission by candobetter editor: Climate Change and human failure to interact safely with the natural world. Plan fails to adequately factor in transport interaction with Yarra. Lack of proper transport interconnectivity. Higher density depends on high quality public transport. Private car still dominates. Forecast population growth and new constructions will inevitably cause major environmental damage. North-East Link Freeway will comport massive land-fill problems, hardly referred to in Draft Plan. Likely potential for destabilisation of groundwater in the Yarra Valley in the Bulleen and Rosanna area as a consequence of the North-East Link Freeway project. Substantial areas of public open space is threatened by the project, together with about 25,000 mature canopy trees. Adverse human health effects of the project would include increased air pollution and heightened road noise. Lack of cycling provision on roads in cities of Boroondara, Banyule, Manningham and Maroondah and the Shires of Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges. Proposal in Plan to increase lanes capacity on the Eastern Freeway to cater for the North East Link project by over 40%, from 802,000 square metres to 1,127,000 square metres. Adverse environmental effects would include increased run-off of polluted stormwater into the Yarra River and elevated ambient temperatures as a consequence of the large increase in concrete and asphalt surfaces. Report of the Commissioner of Sustainability, State of the Yarra and its Parklands (2018), concluded that the status of the Yarra river was poor for 18 of its 25 environmental indicators. This can only deteriorate if planned stressors go ahead.

Dead matter taking over Melbourne

In the Beginning …
Earth’s atmosphere was unbreathable to humans. But that was okay, since there were no humans. Photosynthesising cyanobacteria used sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into food, incidentally producing oxygen. The many microbially-mediated rocks (stromatolites) the bacteria left behind from their halcyon days indicate a cyanobacteria population explosion so vast that it seems likely that simple metabolism accidentally transformed the atmosphere to the one we love and overuse today. This ‘oxygen holocaust’ probably also brought about the fossil status of our inadvertent benefactors around 2.5 billion years ago.

Frankston Green Wedges wins against Cr Hampton's motion for development

At Frankston Council meeting on 29 January 2020, Cr Hampton sought by means of a Notice of Motion (NoM) to overturn council's decision of 14 Oct 2019 to adopt a revised Draft Green Wedge Management Plan. The NoM sought to investigate an excision of part of Frankston's Green Wedge for an expansion of the Carrum Downs Industrial Precinct. The NoM was voted down by Crs McCormack, Aitken, O'Connor, Toms and Mayor Mayer, (five of the nine). Cr Bolam abstained. [Ed. Note: A correction to this article on who voted it down was made on 30 January 2020.]

MP Clifford Hayes introduces bill to make VCAT listen to councils

"People have a right to a say in the character of their street, and their neighbourhood. The principle of subsidiarity, of devolving power to the lowest practical level, is important. It is indeed good for people’s mental health if they have a say, and bad for their mental health if they feel powerless. My Bill does two key things – it requires VCAT to follow properly made Council decisions, and it gives Councils, rather than Ministers, the last word on height controls. Hayes says, "At present VCAT is out of control. Its proper role is to ensure that Councils don’t act in an arbitrary or capricious fashion [...]. But VCAT behaves as a Planning Authority in its own right, telling Councils that although the Council wants a height limit of, say, 4 storeys, they think that 6 storeys would be better! Councils should be able to put in place mandatory height controls at a height acceptable to the community. The high rise buildings being approved by Planning Ministers are not in the best interests of residents, overshadowing them and turning Melbourne into a soulless concrete jungle. Communities should have a say in relation to height limits." (MP Clifford Hayes in speech to Protectors of Public Lands Vic. reproduced here.) (Photos by Jill Quirk)

Save 110 golf-courses for birds, not high-rises - Sociologist

“This is where we have got to with government-engineered breakneck population growth that also puts property developers and associated professions in charge of planning. 110 golf-courses, which occupy green, treed spaces, in all kinds of areas in Melbourne and its suburbs and another 374 in Victorian regions, now carry hugely increased potential resale value if speculators can get them rezoned for more intensive use. Predictably, golf-course owners and probably management committees are now complaining that they aren’t making enough money. Some of their complaints will be well-founded, because state-imposed population pressure has caused demand for land, water and power, hence their costs, to rise rapidly. If nothing is done, either to reduce population growth, or exempt golf-courses from paying these charges, they will skyrocket.” (Sheila Newman, Population, environment and land-tenure systems sociologist.)

After a 2017 discussion paper that not many of us heard about, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, has again discreetly invited people to provide feedback to draft guidelines for their Golf Course Redevelopment Standing Advisory Committee, which is composed of property development industry professionals

28 October: State Election Forum: Vic MPs to take planning questions from the public

It is important to hear policies from key MPs before the election. Thanks to Prof Michael Buxton, we have a large lecture hall in Swanston Street, on the west side, called RMIT Building 80, and we have room 7 on the ground floor. Take note - it is 3 weeks today - lets fill the hall. (Mary Drost, Planning Backlash).

What's going on at Seaford Rd intersection? Letter to Ministers and Councillors

"Until a few days ago, traffic travelling towards the beach on Seaford Rd in Seaford and turning right down railway parade would only back up in the worst of peak times. But several days ago the light sequence was changed, now it is almost permanently backed-up for several hundred metres, up on to the bridge over the freeway. [...] People in the local community are suggesting that the light sequences are deliberately being changed to cause jams so as to justify level crossing works. Certainly there is something suspicious about an intersection which rarely backed up several days ago and now is almost unusable."

Downsizing cost trap awaits retirees – five reasons to be wary

Add up all the neglected costs of downsizing and retirees have good reason to be wary of making the move. It’s time to debunk the myth of zero housing costs in retirement if we want to understand why retirees resist downsizing. Retirees have at least five reasons to be wary of the costs of downsizing. [Article first published at https://theconversation.com/downsizing-cost-trap-awaits-retirees-five-reasons-to-be-wary-80895 on 31 July 2017.]

The Liberal Population Task Force Public Forums may yet be useful

The Victorian Liberals have been running public population forums for their "Victorian Population Policy Taskforce." Please read on to get an idea of what is involved and how you might use these forums for good, despite their cynical nature. The article includes a list of the forums still to be held at time of writing this article. As you would expect, the people comprising the Taskforce include some heavy hitters from the extreme growth lobby and, really only one person who has questioned population growth policy - Dr Bob Birrell. We can be sure that the Liberal politicians and other growth lobby activists behind the forums are pushing for extreme population growth to continue despite its awful consequences, just as the Victorian Labor Government is. The purpose of the forums is to manufacture consent by pretending that current immigration numbers cannot be stopped or reduced, however bleak their impact. The message is put in pseudo solidarity as, "Yes, we feel your pain, we wish we could do something, but we cannot." This throws the audiences into a state of helplessness. However, the forums do present the possibility of people who actually know the facts and are concerned about citizens, residents' rights and wildlife needs, to reach the wide spectrum of people who come to the forums and point to the way out of the false dilemma. Those audiences are dying to hear that the political parties (in and out of government) have the capacity to stop the massive population growth and that Australians should and must resist it. Consider taking copies of The Residents' Bill of Rights, which proposes that Australian growth be brought in line with the OECD average. Consider printing out this recent Population Flyer and taking copies. You might also consider taking a copy of recently retired Labor MP Kelvin Thomson's 14 point plan, which is a viable and well-informed plan to stabilise Australia's population. Inside this article there are also recent ABS and OECD graphs and a population doubling time calculator.

Citizen Shadow Parliaments - an alternative planning approach?

Do you ever wonder what our society would look like if everyday people were calling the shots? If everyday people had more influence rather than a few privileged rich and large corporations? Would we have sold our public utilities? Would the centre of Melbourne look less like Manhattan; have less poorly constructed and dangerous residential towers? Would citizens be forced into selling off the backyards of family homes to pay their outrageous mortgages? Would we ever have allowed negative gearing and its looming financial tsunami?

VIC Liberal’s decentralisation policy is fantasy - by Leith van Onselen

In late 2015, in a great twist of irony, one of the people responsible for the proliferation of high rise dog boxes across Melbourne – former planning Minister (now Opposition Leader) Matthew Guy – had a Damascus moment and questioned the merits of high immigration into Melbourne: Article first published at Macrobusiness.

Vic Auditor General scrutinises Vic Gov's Environmental Effects Statements in property development

Successive Victorian governments too closely aligned with property development and investment have inflicted continuous rapid population growth on Victorians. This has had a terrible effect on democratic rights to object and protect property and the environment, built and wild. It has seemed that no power could hold the government up to any effective criticism. The Victorian Auditor General has tabled the following reports. We have included an extract from the report which shows a democratic deficit in the public review process. This report may be of use to population and environment activists and they should publicise it.

Open Australia Planning Alert system

The OpenAustralia Foundation, the charity that runs a more accessible Hansard, has made an announcement about the progress of its Planning Alerts service. This is a free and community commons service. It gives citizens some ability to keep up with what the developers and mum and dad subdividers are up to. This, in turn, will give ordinary citizens and residents more insight into the impact of population growth, more information to make political decisions, and more control over its rapid creep.

May 29, 2016 'Mad as hell about planning' public forum, Camberwell

Since 2002 when Melbourne 2030 was quietly introduced by the Bracks’ government (which was intended to be a 30 year plan for Melbourne to make it a more compact city) there have been another 1 million people in Melbourne and 16 new plans introduced in 14 years. The latest is “Plan Melbourne Refresh,” very quickly followed by “Managing Residential Development,” which is a review of the Reformed Residential Zones. You would think that our planners could come up with a long term plan but obviously they are responding to different agendas set by developers. Planning Backlash invites you and your members to a public forum to voice your concerns about the way development is happening in Melbourne. To be held in the Parkview Room, Camberwell Civic Centre, 340 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Sunday 29th May 2016, 2.30 PM.

Whittling away of green wedge in Frankston threatens wildlife

Submission against 11.8 Request for Planning Scheme Amendment Stotts Lane.
by Craig Thomson, wildlife carer
The proposed Amendment seeks to rezone the land from RCZ3 (Rural Conservation Zone Schedule 3) to Neighbourhood Residential Zone, include the site within the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), remove the Green Wedge and apply a Development Plan Overlay (DPO) to the site. These changes also require consequential changes to the Land Use Framework Plan and the Housing Framework Plan in the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS).

TODAY at 3PM KURINGAI TOWN HALL Public Forum on Planning Legislation Today

There will be a public forum a Kuringai Town Hall to discuss the problem of overdevelopment, overpopulation, and the crushing of democracy in its wake TODAY. Sunday 7 April 3:00 pm to 5:30 Where: ku-ring-Gai Town Hall, 1186 Pacific Hwy, Pymble.

Planning for overpopulation - do we really need it?

Is the Department of Planning in the Victorian State government vital to our lives or is it just part of endless population growth ? The Planning Department operates with a seemingly remarkable ignorance of the realities of resource (especially oil) depletion, some apprehension of climate change, scant reference to the environment, and no mention of creatures other than humans. Something funny's going on.

Melbourne, Let's Talk about the Future, Oct 2012


Over the next 40 years, Melbourne's is to be projected, or force-fed, to grow geographically and in population.
The discussion paper is how to plan for that growth and miraculously at the same time “ensuring our city remains one of the most diverse, distinctive and liveable cities in the world”. The “discussion” is not about democratically deciding whether we want the growth or not, but propaganda that endorses the benefits of growth, and how to implement it. It's a long term vision, of continuous growth- whether we want it or not!

What's up in Melbourne - by Di Cachinnans

New website for Residents without Rights. Also Docklands, Stonington Mansions, heritage land in St Kilda road. How long will the War Memorial be safe? VCAT review

Forum: How many is too many? Population, Melbourne's Planning Puzzle

7 November 2010 Richmond Town Hall- There will be a public forum about the problems of population and planning in Victoria. It is sponsored by Planning Backlash, which is an umbrella group for groups all over Victoria, but particularly around Melbourne, who are sick and tired of the way that planners and the government are running roughshod over democracy in order to push more people into this city. Please come along and learn and support this important forum.

Doing something to stop roadkill

'It may be tempting to believe our 4WD has bumped over a wombat.' (from an article in a magazine). Tempting? Roadkill is driving some species towards extinction. Too few safe corridors for animals to find more food. Too many cars and trucks on many more roads through their habitats. How about a campaign to stop carelessness about road-kill?

Nightmare on your street - Planning & Democratic Catastrophe for Melbourne as VC 68 passes parliament

This morning Planning Minister Madden’s revised Planning Amendment, now re-badged VC 68, was fast tracked through Parliament with the support of the coalition - Liberals and Nationals – who had, over the past year, held out against inducements to approve this toxic planning amendment. (Only the Greens and DLP MP’s stood firm.) This represents a catastrophe for Melbourne as it will see rezoning of land from rural to residential on the City’s fringe and so extend our notorious urban sprawl.

Vancouver's Greener Pastures Don't Measure Up to Premier Blight's Description

Malcolm Muggeridge once wrote scathingly about the English socialists who praised the achievements of Stalin's Russia after a brief guided tour of the workers' paradise. Pity that he is not alive to write about Anna Bligh's mischaracterization of Vancouver. It is time that foreign growth boosters were called out on their use of the "Vancouver model" as a showcase for "green development". It is goddam lie. Bligh and the growth-management industry of urban planners who parrot this line should be shipped to Vancouver and made to live their on the subsistence income that four in ten Vancouverites struggle to survive on.

Population Inquiry; population numbers risk study; Oz Cities Report

Greens and Libs promote Population Inquiry idea; Dick Smith suggests a population risk study would be better; High-rise buildings don't save energy; recycling is increasing along with total waste

Community Concerns over Minister Gate-Crashing Inquiry (Melbourne Parliament)

When the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration hearing convened to hear from Peta Duke on 12 March 2010, she did not attend in answer to the summons. She had written the notorious Media Plan proposing a sham public consultation process to earn favour with the electorate. Mr Madden, who had not been summoned, sat in the chair reserved for the witness – his former Ministerial adviser - and said that he would answer questions. This was a blatant attempt to take over the inquiry being carried out by Parliament into his office’s conduct. - Protectors of Public Lands (Victoria)

Melbourne Minister Madden makes planning policy on the run

For a minister who says he wants certainty for developers (but gives not two hoots for making everyone else miserably insecure) Mr Madden must be driving them mad as well. The GAIC tax is subject to endless jerky permutations and increasing secrecy surrounds it. The horror of it all is that this farce is what passes for serious business in Melbourne these days. It is like some faintly similar town, but colonised by alien planners and parliamentarians with agendas that have nothing to do with representative government. Perhaps if we knew what was really going on - something to do with finances perhaps - it would not all be so hard to read.

Vancouver's growth model drove me out of town

This comment, by Canadian Tim Murray, was originally posted to the ABC Background Briefing program, 'Housing for Millions'. In response to statements by a planner which implied that the doubling of Vancouver's population in 15 years had been accomplished without pain, he writes, "Vancouver is a success story only if compared to other major urban failures."

Victoria's new major transport projects laws - What do they mean? Environment Defenders Office public seminar

EDO Seminar Series 2009
New road, rail and port development fast track: Victoria's new major transport projects laws - What do they mean?
Tuesday 29 September 2009
5.45pm for 6pm start
BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL
RSVP: EDO (03) 8341 3100
or edovic@edo.org.au

Draconian Major Transport Projects Facilitation Bill 2009 must be stopped in Upper House - Victoria

Proposed law will exempt the State Government from its own laws and concentrate decision making power into one or two Ministers. A draconian piece of legislation, the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Bill 2009, has been brought into the Parliament . Your help is necessary to have this bill stopped in the upper house. Only the Liberal-National Coalition, by voting with the Greens, can stop this bill in the upper house. Victoria is under almost constant assault from a despotic government, which is seeking more and more power beyond the control of the people. But all is not lost. It is possible to beat them by supporting opposition review in the upper house of the Victorian Parliament. We have done it before.

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