Wildlife advocacy initiative Defend the Wild has called on the Andrews Government to halt the killing of Victoria’s threatened dingoes after harrowing footage of dingoes being trapped and shot obtained by the group was revealed on the ABC’s 7.30 Report la
This edition's headlines: Pre-Election forum; State Election Questionnaire Responses; Floods; Queen Victoria Market; A win at Oaklands Junction; Saving Mount Eliza's reservoir as a public wetland; Royal Exhibtion Building and Carlton Gardens; Kilmore's Equine Overlay; Beaumaris Modern Open Day; Kingston Planning Scheme Amendment C203; Hepburn Shire Biodiversity Threat; Toondah Harbour - Walker Corporation; Save Westesrn Port Woodlands; Caring for Western Port Country; Value
Planning Democracy has designed this questionnaire to help its network of concerned community groups understand where you and/or your party stand on using the Planning Framework to give communities a genuine say in protecting Victoria’s environment, heritage and natural resources.
Gurwinder Singh briefly shed tears of relief, as Judge Maidment finally began to describe the case to prospective jurors, today 7 June 2022 at County Court Victoria. Click to watch the trial live here. Mr Singh had waited almost 5 years for a jury trial.
In this issue: Friends of Queen Victoria Market Annual General Meeting; Tree Canopy Cover Forum (Mordialloc); Tree Canopy Cover Whitehorse; Tree Canopy Cover Darebin; VCAT win to protect native grassland; Heritage win at Moonlight Head; Concrete to be removed from Moonee Ponds Creek; Surrey Hills-Mont Albert level crossing removal project; Save Lake Knox update; Beaumaris Modern update; Preserving Mornington Peninsula Open Space; Caulfield Racecourse Update; North East Link
Report on the Heritage Protection Forum; Where to from here; Federal Elections; Australian Heritage Advocacy Alliance 2022 Campaign; Save Lake Knox; Brunswick - good and bad news; Submissions open for Melbourne Observatory Lighting Works; Wattle Park Update; Kilmore Land update; Queen Victoria Market update; Mt Eliza Village entry way; Elsternwick Structure Plan; Glenlyon; Hawthorn Institute of Education to become apartments; Sprawling cities are over-running global biodiversity; The
The Victorian Legal Services Commission was created to ensure that complaints against Australian legal practitioners and disputes between law practices or Australian legal practitioners and clients are dealt with in a timely and effective manner and to protect both consumers of legal services and the public interest in the proper administration of justice.
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.
From Clifford Hayes: "Next week in Parliament I am introducing a Bill to amend the Planning and Environment Act of 1987 to give this Act some environmental legitimacy. As it stands, it would be more fitting to call it the Planning and Development Act. That's why I'm fighting for change to ensure that the environment is given a high priority in all planning decisions. It aims to enhance to Act by strengthening the objectives to protect the environment.
For many years, the environmental component of the Planning and Environment Act has been mostly disregarded and ignored. I am contacted daily by residents and community groups who are concerned about the destruction of the environment by relentless concrete pouring and tree removal planning approvals—planning approvals that are failing the environment, destroying tree canopy, and contributing to global warming. We are seeing the destruction of native grasslands, reduction of green wedges, decreasing wildlife corridors and an escalating urban heat island effect. There are more than 700 species facing extinction in Victoria.
My Bill would do the following:
Amends the Act to include the protection of the environment and native species as an objective in the Act
Introduces a requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement to be completed on all planning applications, strengthening the requirements on decision-makers to focus on the environment. The EIS would be lodged with the responsible authority—be it local council or in some cases even government departments.
The proposed EIS would encompass information on the project, including its environmental impacts and mitigation measures, and would be used to inform decisions made by the planning authority and responsible authority.
The application containing the plans and the EIS will be advertised and open for objections and submissions as in the normal application process. It will require the responsible decision-maker to address the environmental impact in the decision-making process and respond to the application either favourably or unfavourably.
Note: where a planning permit is not required or there are no environmental effects, this can simply be stated, reducing red tape for small-scale and no impact projects.
Please feel free to contact your local Legislative Council MP’s to let them know you support this Bill. I would appreciate any support on this.
The Bill is to be debated on Wednesday 27 October."
Clifford Hayes MLC,
Sustainable Australia Party member for Southern Metropolitan Region,
Parliament of Victoria,
During Victoria's lockdown(s), I re-read The Plague, by Albert Camus, which was a prescribed text for me and other Higher School Certificate students (Year 12) way back in 1972. The plot concerns the Algerian town of Oran, which is struck down by bubonic plague in the 1940s. The townsfolk are sealed off and isolated from the outside world, as the plague exacts an increasingly terrible and deadly toll. The book depicts their different reactions to their situation. It has immense power in getting to the heart of what things, and what values, are important in life.
The plague in Oran, and the coronavirus pandemic in Australia, have some clear differences. While the people of Oran are cut off from the world, they are not cut off from each other. They mix at restaurants and cafes and the like. Social distancing doesn’t play any noticeable role – whether this was wise from a health perspective is not spelt out.
Another noticeable difference is that the initial reaction of the townsfolk is largely selfish. It is over time that many of them come to the realization that “we are all in this together”, and join the efforts of the medical team to help those who have been infected. By comparison I feel that the initial response of Australians in 2020 to coronavirus was a “Team Australia” approach, but that as the pandemic has worn on that people have tended to become fatigued and less concerned about the welfare of others.
These differences notwithstanding, I think the book rings many bells for our present situation. Camus says the townsfolk initially believed the pestilence wasn’t real, or that it would soon pass. “A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure, therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogey of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away…”
Camus also says that the town’s leaders and officials were slow to take the plague seriously. He says they had good intentions: “That, in fact, was what struck one most – the excellence of their intentions. But as regards plague their competence was practically nil”. And the epidemic spells the ruin of Oran’s tourist trade.
Then the plague produces a new variant, moving from bubonic to pneumonic. The officials are left “groping, more or less, in the dark”. Camus observes that “Officialdom can never cope with something really catastrophic”. This realization prompts one of the book’s key characters to organize voluntary groups of helpers to help the sick.
Camus also discusses the fatalism in Oran at the time, which is echoed today in the regularly heard observation that “we are going to have to learn to live with COVID”. He wrote “Many fledgling moralists in those days were going about our town proclaiming that there was nothing to be done about it and we should bow to the inevitable”.
But he rejects that fatalism. He goes on to say “And Tarrou, Rieux and their friends might give one answer or another, but its conclusion was always the same, their certitude that a fight must be put up, in this way or that, and there must be no bowing down. The essential thing was to save the greatest possible number of persons from dying”.
Indeed. It is an issue of fundamental humanity. In the last year and a half most people I have talked to have overwhelmingly supported community action to save every possible life. They have not displayed any sympathy for the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” approach. I have been impressed by their basic humanity and concern for those around them.
The Plague is worth a read. It is not an easy book, but then we don’t live in easy times.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has welcomed the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that show population growth has fallen to near zero (0.1 per cent) despite an apparent baby boom. Yesterday, the ABS released figures for the year ending March 31. Australia’s population grew by 35,700 or 0.14 per cent. Annual natural increase was 131,000 and net overseas migration (NOM) was -95,300. This news came not long after NSW Health announced more than 19,000 babies were born in NSW hospitals from April to June this year, a nine per cent increase on the same period last year.
Victoria is also experiencing a baby boom with the maternity system stretched to “breaking point”, according to the Victorian health minister, Martin Foley.
“News that our overall population growth has dropped to almost zero is very welcome,” the president of SPA Ms Jenny Goldie says. “In the initial period of border closures, the large number of people leaving the country compared to those entering meant NOM was negative, though not quite enough to offset natural increase of 131,000. In the current year, growth will be higher since most of those that would leave Australia have done so already.
“Now is the perfect time to dispense with the Big Australia goal of perpetual population growth promoted by big business. Instead let’s aim for a stable and sustainable population. These new figures prove that it can be done.
“The annual growth figures from pre-Covid years, which sometimes exceeded 400,000, were simply not sustainable in environmental, social or economic terms.
“Environmentally, population growth causes loss of natural habitat through urban expansion and water diversion, and increases pollution, not least carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
“Socially, infrastructure never kept pace with the needs of a rapidly expanding population, and led to undue crowding in schools, congestion and longer hospital waiting times.
“Economically, workers suffered wage stagnation and capital was diverted from wealth- producing enterprises to speculating on rising land values, creating Australia’s housing unaffordability crisis.
“This is the time when we must review honestly the costs and benefits of the non-humanitarian parts of our migration program. We should never return to the days of immigration-fuelled high population growth,” says Ms Goldie.
"In Victoria, this practice has started with Banyule Council's deal with Woolworths, who approached council to purchase an additional 828sqm of public land that wasn't on the market.
It introduced the influence of private developers over and above transparency to the public, and puts every piece of public land at risk. The Woolworths deal was well over 2 years in the making before it came to light. Imagine if you discovered that our parklands or even a local park was negotiated for sale 2 years ago - now is the time to act before the precedent is set. Public land should stay in public hands." (Excerpt from petition).
Please sign this e-petition to parliament for this very important issue and forward across your networks.
Prevent local Councils accepting unsolicited land proposals.
In Victoria, this practice has started with Banyule Council's deal with Woolworths who approached council to purchase an additional 828sqm of public land that wasn't on the market.
It introduced the influence of private developers over and above transparency to the public and puts every piece of public land at risk. The Woolworths deal was well over 2 years in the making before it came to light. Imagine if you discovered that our parklands or even a local park was negotiated for sale 2 years ago - now is the time to act before the precedent is set. Public land should stay in public hands.
If you are not familiar with the term "Unsolicited Proposals" and associated risks, watch this Four Corners episode on Crown Casino, Barangaroo tower....started with an unsolicited proposal. (fascinating, a must watch!):
“That building should stand there and be a warning to us all…we should look at that building and forever know that we should never let that happen again.” Architect
Council are advertising this heavily and will not identify which other councils have contacted them. One example:
"Councillor Garotti says many other councils are now contacting Banyule about how to form worthwhile partnerships. “I think we’re leading the way in this,” he said."
The action is simple, and the risk is huge. Please sign.
Note that this petition is sponsored by Mr Clifford Hayes, Legislative Council, Sustainable Australia Party
It's interesting how so many sentences and ideas now trail off into the inevitable denouement "… but that didn't happen because of Covid"…"We had to change plans because of Covid." It's as though Sir Humphrey Covid is some VIP, for whom doors must be opened and the seas must part. Or, as though Covid is an unexpected first born baby to a couple in their 40s whose lives are now utterly transformed. "We couldn't celebrate Henry's birthday this year because of … Baby Covid." "Covid" could be anything or anyone terribly important - one's mother in law arriving from Europe or a visitation from a long dead relative. All must stop … for Covid!
One of my friends refuses to name this interloper, usually spoken of with such reverence. This seems an excellent way of handling the situation!
Sir Humphrey is noted more for what he prevents, rather than what he facilitates or mandates. Think of the thousands of people who have not attended football matches they otherwise would have flocked to, and further ,who have not caught planes, boarded cruise ships for exotic ports, nor played bingo in the ornate lounges of the oversized ships. Think of all the three-course breakfasts that have not been eaten in the multitudinous choice of ship and hotel dining rooms all over the world! Sir Humphrey has put a decisive stop to these hedonistic activities.
Millions of people have not attended work for months, because of one entity, already named and and derisively "knighted."
All these aforementioned effects are from the point of view of us "ordinary people." It is our friends and relatives plans that have given way to COVID-19. But what about if we look further out to decisions beyond our sphere of influence ? It seems that "Sir Humphrey" has affected activities on a much greater scale.
Even chronic wage depression, and endemic high rates of unemployment, will stop. These, associated with globalised out-sourcing, must stop for Covid. These, which blew out further after the Kennet-led destruction of state awards and John Howard’s new use of the Corporation clause in the Constitution, with a new stream of cheap immigrant labour (see above) - must stop for Covid. So we are now looking at the first increases in employment rates and wages prospects, for decades.
It has been hard, according to Australian farmers, to find fruit-pickers, since the highly exploitable backpacker stream dried up with Sir Humphrey Covid. See [Fruit Picking Jobs Australia]. However, Australians complain that they are often rejected when they apply to work. In fact a lot of Australians are working in the industry, now the farmers don’t have a choice to exploit disoriented young migrants. See, ”Thousands of unemployed Australians do go for fruit-picking”. Of course, if there are not enough Australians to pick the fruit for low wages, the fruit growers could get together and raise their prices. For this to be viable, Australia would have to stop importing fruit from countries with endemic slave labour, and Australians would have to buy fruit by the piece, rather than in large quantities that often are not eaten and go bad in the bowl. Low carb dieters and Dr Lustig (see, for instance, “Fat Chance Fructose 2.0: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3WkXJokBAU), would all say that we have been encouraged to eat far too much fruit and fructose-laden processed foods, so raising the price of fruit would be all to the good.
Yes, Sir Humphrey, but ...
You would think that governments would be quaking in their boots as their personal and party investments in real-estate threatened to take a dive and the property developer-industry mafias and triads would start cruising with kalachnikovs past politicians’ private residences late at night. But this has not happened – because the governments control the remaining levers that regulate land and housing prices and they ARE the mafia. [See, for instance, Labor Inc.]
Yes, with the sudden drop in mass migration, both temporary, landed, and permanent, many expected a huge drop in land and housing prices. However, this did not happen, due to the Federal government outrageously permitting people to cash-in on their superannuation, and the Reserve bank dropping borrowing interest rates. This created even more buyers than usual. The pressure on supply led to higher prices. The pressure has extended to the regions, raising both purchase and rental prices in places where the homeless have traditionally fled in search of affordable rentals.
Instead of a famine, it’s been a feast for the land-speculators, and misery has compounded for the homeless and precarious. If Jimmy Dore is right (see also, below), this will form part of a cycle: as a proportion of people default on their mortgages, with the next financial crash or when the Reserve Bank raises interest rates again, the banks will just put them on the market again, and again, and again.
With Australia’s borders closed indefinitely, however, outsourced-state land-companies and their colleagues in private development, fear that persistent lack of mass migration will ultimately outlast the super-cash-and-low-interest-loans-bonanza-in-demand. Then, they fear, land and housing prices will finally fall to reasonable levels, far too low for the growth lobby’s addiction to the high prices.
They have a strategy though. As readers of /node/2363 know, the growth lobby in government and corporate form has been trying to liberate big houses on big lots from the tenacious claws of undeserving old ladies, who rattle about so wastefully within them, unreasonably refusing to die and make way for more deserving younger age-cohorts. For this purpose the Liberal (Turnbull) government initiated a ‘downsizing tax-break” from July 2018, whereby if you are 65 years old or older and meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to make a downsizer contribution into your superannuation of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling your home. (They don’t check the size of your new home.)
And, of course, there is another string to this house-liberation strategy, involving nursing-homes, whereby you sacrifice your home towards the cost of your ‘care’ in a nursing home. Over 65s are not real welcome in ordinary hospitals these days, and tend to finish up in nursing homes when anything goes wrong, overfilling them. Thankfully, COVID-19 has helped liberate nursing homes as well as houses, but apparently this may not be enough.
Which brings us to the ultimate strategy – or should I say - ‘final solution’? The AstraZenica vaccine. Introduced with a friendly face, initially, AstraZenica has acquired a spectral character, not unlike those Grim Reapers of the 1980s AIDS safe-sex ads. It has gradually been withdrawn from use by younger cohorts, until now, only those usually considered ‘too old to work’ - the ones who are imagined to rattle alone in rambling residences in leafy suburbs – qualify for AstraZenica, and only for AstraZenica. We are told that the average odds of their dying from the ‘rare blood clotting disorder’ linked to the AstraZenica vaccine are lower than the average odds of their dying of COVID-19 – if they get it. And they are damned if they do take the vaccine and damned if they don’t, because one or the other may still get them.
Are the risks of enough elderly thus liberating large lots in leafy suburbs for subdivision statistically high enough to compensate for low migration for a few years? It is difficult to estimate exactly, but every little bit helps, Sir Humphrey.
The United States government PLANNED for mortgagees to lose their homes from the 2009 financial crash?
In this Youtube broadcast of 23 March, Jimmy Dore gives his interpretation of how United States' Democrats planned to cause ordinary Americans to lose their houses as a consequence of the 2009 financial crisis! Incredibly, they seem to have colluded with Wall Street creditors to enable them to be able to seize mortgaged homes when mortgagees found themselves unable to make repayments.
The video inside the article is a record of the third ARAG (Ashburton Residents Action Group) public rally over six years in the residential battle to protect Markham Estate and the surrounding streets and environment.
What was once a 56 apartment, two storey public housing community in Ashburton turned into a six year nightmare for residents when the State Government announced it would be replacing the 56 apartments with 240, of which only 60 would be for public housing; the rest to be sold privately for a fortune.
This outrageous proposal galvanised the community and they have been fighting for a fair go and consultation ever since.
Speakers at this rally included ARAG leaders Ian and Rita, David Davis (Shadow Planning Minister), Cr Garry Thompson (Mayor of Boroondara) and Clifford Hayes MP (Sustainable Australia Party).
In attendance was Will Fowles MP (Member for Burwood) who declined to speak.
Advocacy has now resulted in this proposal being reduced to 178 public housing units (non-privatised) however the commercial size of the development in a residential area is what the residents are still battling.
No developer in Melbourne could build this development, however the State Government have exempted themselves from planning laws. In addition, they have recently passed more laws that remove any requirement for consultation or planning application.
This is a dictatorship, and the residents of Ashburton are fighting back alongside every other Victorian community being overridden by this State Government.
These developments must be reduced in size, residents must be treated fairly, and planning must be returned to Local Government who understand their suburbs.
From 6:30PM on Good Friday, last Friday 2 April 2021, Anita Brice, myself and other Melbourne supporters of Julian Assange held their weekly vigil in front of Flinders Street Station. This vigil is the central part of Anita Brice's (see Lorine Anita Brice's Twitter page @LorineBrice) campaign for Julian Assange which she has organised since April 2020.
Each Friday since then they have turned up with placards and printed literature to inform members of the public about Julian Assange.
Since February this year, when I finally learned of this desperately needed support work for Julian Assange in Melbourne, I began attending the vigils myself with my own additional flyers to give to interested members of the public. One flyer has been adapted to become the article Uphold the Rule of Law - demand that the Australian government act to end the illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange (11/2/2019) . My second flyer was, instead, in reverse, adapted from another article, Open Letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison: Act now to end the illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange! (11/3/2021) .
Also, at considerable trouble and expense, I created a large (4.8mx1.7m) banner which is pictured to the left.  This banner has attracted some interest from overseas supporters of Julian Assange, including from the Denver Free Assange group as well as from many members of the Melbourne public including passing motorists. 
At our vigil of 19 February, I made a speech through a megaphone to the public. This succeeded in arousing greater interest from members of the public and considerably raising the the profile of our vigil. 
Other members of our group have also begun to give speeches, and have spoken well, as occurred on Friday 26 March when we marched to the Melbourne British to protest against that government's criminal treatment of Julian Assange.
At our Good Friday vigil, I spoke for 6:30 minutes. My speech was recorded and embedded below.
James Sinnamon demands the Australian government act to end the illegal imprisonment of Julian Assange
Your presence needed at next Friday's vigil for Julian Assange
If we are ever to succeed in our campaign to free Julian Assange, we need much larger crowds, here in Melbourne, other Australian cities and overseas. If you can make it to next Friday's vigil at 6:30pm, please be there. You can help us hold up our large banners, distribute leaflets, talk to passsers-by or make speeches.
 The PDF file for the double-sided A5 flyer is here.
 The PDF file which can be printed on two sides of an A4 sheet, is here, please be warned, printing in colour, rather than in back and white can cost a lot more.
 From an artist friend, Sheila Newman, who is also an editor of this site, candobetter.net, and an author of books as well as articles for this site, I received indispensable help in creating this banner.
 Unfortunately, because our numbers were fewer on the Good Friday public holiday, there was not a sufficient number people to put in the necessary effort hold up our large banner for the two hour vigil.
 Even on some subsequent occasions when my own presentation and delivery was not as good, I believe I still succeeded in arousing more interest and support from members of the public than we would have, had nobody spoken. I would like to aspire to speak as well as Mairéad Farrell, Irish member of the European Parliament as shown, below, in her speech of 5 March 2021:
Myself and @chrisandrews64 raised #JulianAssange continued detention with Leo Varadkar in the Dáil today.
I quoted @NUJofficial concerns and asked him to raise it directly with the British Ambassador & the US administration.@wikileaks #FreeJulianAssange pic.twitter.com/BKtr4Arp8a
End the illegal detention and torture of this Australian hero.
Why won't the Australian government act to get Julian Assange out of the Belmarsh hellhole?
By its stated intention to imprison the visionary Australian journalist and publisher, Julian Assange, for 175 years, the United States government has confirmed the criminality and malevolance of those who are truly in charge of it. State officials, including Hillary Clinton, have also been recorded talking openly about assassinating Assange.
Because mainstream media now only reports what the US government tells it, the world needs the Wikileaks news service to reveal the truth behind the United States' and its allies' wars, over the last three decades and beyond. Wikileaks has protected the identities and the ability of people in the military, government spy agencies, government bureacracy, or private corporations, to get vital information out to all of us about repeated dangerous and criminal acts of states towards ordinary people.
The United States' deep state has been trying since 2010 to get its hands on Julian to punish him for revealing its war-crimes to the world, and for refusing to reveal his sources. The US wants firstly to prevent Julian Assange from resuming his own work for Wikileaks, and secondly, to set a precedent that would allow the US henceforth to kidnap any other journalist, whose reporting would reveal to us facts about other invasions of, and meddling in the affairs of countries throughout much of the world - in countries like Venezula, Cuba, Bolivia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iran - that the US wants to keep hidden from us.
Julian Assange is not even an American. He is an Australian citizen. He has committed no crime - he has only been found guilty of the misdemeanour - skipping bail in 2012 to seek asylum in the London Ecuadorian embassy after the Swedish prosecutors had sought to extradite him for questioning over allegations of sexual assault by two Swedish women.
When the Swedish government refused to give Julian a guarantee that they would not allow the US to extradite him, he decided that the request for questioning could only be a ploy on behalf of the US. So, Julian skipped bail' and sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. For thus acting to thwart US attempts to illegally kidnap him from Swedish soil 8 years ago, UK Judge Vanessa Barraitser sentenced Julian Assange to imprisonment alongside convicted terrorists and murderers in Belmarsh Prison for 50 weeks - the absolute maximum offence for the misdemeanour of skipping bail.
Even after Julian had served that outrageous sentence, Barraitser further extended his detention to allow more time for the US prosecutors to prepare their 'case' for extradition, which, after weeks of further kangaroo court proceedings, was denied to the US, whilst all the prosecution's smears against Julian were still upheld.
In spite of this unexpected ruling, Barraitser refused to release Julian. He is expected to spend many months in degrading conditions behind bars whilst various appeals by the US against her rulng are heard.
What you can do
- Attend the Melbourne for Wikileaks (@melbourne4wiki Twitter page) vigil for Julian Assange at Flinders St. Station every Friday at 6:30pm.
- Reprint this pdf file at /files/upholdTheRuleOfLawForJulian.pdf or linked to article on Julian Assange, Barraitser's 'compassion' towards Julian Assange a ploy to avoid judicial scrutiny of the United States' illegal war on journalism? (12/1/21)
- Seek the truth at candobetter.net/JulianAssange, rt.com, sputniknews.com, presstv.com, southfront.org and other alternatives to corporate newsmedia.
People concerned about Harkaway, in the Green Wedge, near Berwick are asking for your help to stop development ruining this lovely area. Why don’t you write to the Minister too and plead with him to say "NO." Submissions urgently needed before 5pm on 6 November. Subject: Proposed Rosemaur development for King Road Harkaway, Email to: [email protected] Details inside article.
To all who care about preserving special places like Harkaway and their green wedge surrounds:
Harkaway is a hidden gem tucked away in the rolling foothills to the Dandenong Ranges just north of Berwick in the City of Casey. Until now, State Governments of both “colours” have agreed it should be sacrosanct - a “no go” zone for urban use development.
Wealthy Melbourne businessman Lindsay Hogg wants Planning Minister Richard Wynne to rezone his property in the middle of Harkaway’s precious Green Wedge land to enable an otherwise prohibited development including a restaurant, function centre and art gallery.
We are not against the concept, but looked at from every angle, this is the wrong location. It would bring large volumes of regular traffic into a dead end, high fire risk area, right through the tiny hamlet.
The local community will be subjected to this onslaught seven days a week, from 7am through to 1am Friday/Saturday, and until 11pm for the other five days, including Sunday.
Lunch patrons who have "wined and dined" would be passing the primary school where two cars can’t get by each other at pick up time, and there is no scope for widening. Many children walk or ride bikes to and from school or to the shop, park, tennis courts and playground, especially at weekends.
The change that would result from such a rezoning would be enormous and irreversible. The bushland and rural character of King Road would be transformed into an urbanised streetscape, with significant potential for environmental damage to Walsdorf Creek and increased traffic accidents.
The local community is united against this development, but its voice is drowned out by the media campaign of Mr Hogg’s PR team which is presenting the application as a “fait accompli”.
The Planning Minister is seeking feedback on the proposal.
Please refer to the attached information sheet to help you provide it - loud and clear.
Save the Casey Foothills Association is joining forces with the Friends of Harkaway Association and the Harkaway Residents Group to try and prevent what would be a grotesque anomaly in this location.
There are far better alternative site options that would result in an improved outcome for the venture.
Please make a submission before 6 November and help prevent this potential catastrophe.
Or if you miss this deadline, please email it direct to the Minister.
Political pressure is the only way to protect our increasingly threatened special places from assault by powerful monied forces with their own agendas.
HARKAWAY & ITS GREEN WEDGE ARE UNDER SERIOUS IMMINENT THREAT
A SITE SPECIFIC AMENDMENT TO THE CASEY PLANNING SCHEME BY THE PLANNING MINISTER TO REZONE ONE PROPERTY IN THE MIDDLE OF HARKAWAY’S PRECIOUS GREEN WEDGE LAND.
For what purpose?
TO ENABLE AN OTHERWISE PROHIBITED LARGE SCALE URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN KING ROAD – NAMELY AN ART GALLERY, FUNCTION CENTRE, RESTAURANT AND TWO DWELLINGS.
What can I do?
MAKE A SUBMISSION BEFORE THE CLOSING DATE (See below for details)
What is the time frame?
SUBMISSIONS NOW ACCEPTED UNTIL 5:00 PM, FRIDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2020.
The Government had given the neighbours only 4 weeks’ notice & has not advised the village or other outlying residents at all. An extension of 3 months was sought. We got an extra 2 weeks.
How can I get more information?
Google “Rosemaur Gallery”. Select “Planning”, then “Documents” tab, OR type into your Search bar https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/rosemaur-gallery#documents, or just click on the link below:
Who to contact if I have a question?
State planning department: Hayley Becker – Manager Planning Services (South) Ph: 0423 491 851
Local community rep: Philip Battye Mob: 0407 012 006 Email: [email protected]
Green Wedges rep: Rosalie Counsell Mob: 0429 955 421 Email: [email protected]
What are the main issues? (See “Further Considerations” below for expanded list)
Planned large volumes of related traffic will be funnelled through the village past its primary school.
Widening and sealing King Road would:
o Destroy the character and identity of Harkaway as a country hamlet in a semi-rural bushland setting;
o Risk damage to the environmentally sensitive Waldorf Creek.
The site is in an increasingly high fire risk area at the far extremity of a dead end road.
The only escape route would entail annexing and sealing the equestrian trail, thus turning both King Road Harkaway and Farm Lane Berwick into through roads.
The proposal contradicts the very purpose of the existence of the green wedges and makes a mockery of the Planning Minister’s promise to further protect them.
What next? How to make a submission
Email your submission to: [email protected]
(This can be addressed to Mr Stuart Menzies, Director - State Planning Services and Cc’d to the Planning Minister: [email protected])
Remember – one sentence is better than nothing. Just say what you want to say in your own words, and you’ll be able to expand on or speak to this for the Panel Hearing, currently scheduled for next January 2021, should you wish to do so.
For over 20 years, our local residents have fought and won numerous battles to protect Harkaway’s special environmental and amenity values. On each occasion, State Government has supported the contention that these values must be preserved at all costs and Harkaway deemed sacrosanct.
Never before has our community been disenfranchised by Government in this way.
This application constitutes complete disregard for local community and for democratic process.
o People who live in and/or regularly visit the village of Harkaway would be as adversely affected as anyone else but were not notified.
o The short time frame and failure to consult affected parties raises the question of undue influence, or at best, democracy being compromised in the interests of misguided economic expediency.
Harkaway Road itself is fairly narrow and winding. It’s intersection with King Road is dangerous, despite the very small, inadequate roundabout. (No room for bigger one.)
The in-principle acceptance of the application is claimed to be partly based on the supposed value of the art collection. But it appears there has been no proper assessment of its real value. Regardless, this should not drive a planning decision.
The whole district is a Designated Bushfire Prone Area, and an estimated 40% of site is subject to the even more restrictive Bushfire Management Overlay.
There are no reticulated services in the area except electricity.
Harkaway’s 175 year old history, it’s unspoiled non-urban character, its wonderful landscapes and its high-value biodiversity should qualify the whole area as having State significance. Any suggestion that an inappropriately located art gallery and function centre could trump this is a nonsense.
The direct intervention by the Planning Minister Richard Wynne:
Flouts proper planning protocols by unjustifiably bypassing local council as the primary decision-maker on changes to the Planning Scheme.
Contradicts the very purpose of the existence of the green wedge zones.
Sets a dangerous precedent for future similar damaging applications.
Pre-empts and undermines a current Government review that aims to further strengthen protections in the Green Wedge zones.
Provides a massive concession to the proponent but inflicts enormous detriment on the local community. (Note: The applicant has registered as a charity, so will presumably be exempt from certain rates and taxes.)
Flies in the face of his stated intention not to intervene in local planning decisions.
If Casey Council and the Victorian Government preside over the wanton squandering of this unique, widely treasured asset that is Harkaway – “the jewel in Casey’s crown” – for the sake of an inappropriately located, wildly experimental, fragmenting development on the basis of a nebulous promise by a vested interest landowner living elsewhere, it will go down in Casey’s history as an outrage second only to the findings of the IBAC enquiry.
Harkaway needs your help. We can’t fight this David & Goliath battle alone.
Ivor Cummins is a health writer and biochemical engineer, who calls himself The Fat Emperor. He has drafted a letter for people to send to politicians and the press, querying the seriousness of COVID-19. He calls it the "Corona Basic Realities Letter," and writes, advocating 'herd immunity', as one of his 'indisputable facts', that: "Sweden, who were vilified for their approach, has had a very similar death rate to other countries." But Sweden actually has had a much higher death rate than its neighbours, although it did practice social distancing and other hygiene measures, whilst leaving businesses open etc.
The virus killed more than 5800 people in the relevant period, giving Sweden one of the world’s highest per capita mortality rates.
To compare those figures with other Scandinavian countries, Denmark has recorded 621 deaths, Finland has recorded 334 deaths, and Norway 262." [Sweden has about twice the population of the other Nordic countries, but the number of deaths is still very high in comparison.]
"The study, carried out by the country’s Public Health Agency, found that just 6.1 per cent of the country’s population had developed coronavirus antibodies by late May. This figure falls far short of Dr Tegnell’s prediction.
Experts have said achieving herd immunity would require at least 60 per cent of the population to become immune to the virus." From: https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/global/coronavirus-sweden-has-recorded-its-highest-death-toll-in-150-years/news-story/086570ad4dc5336e46885fdef15e5fa3 (21 August, 2020)
You can find some other stats here: https://nucleuswealth.com/coronavirus-covid19-dashboard-charts-and-data-every-country/sweden
Cummins compares South American countries, Peru vs Brazil - lockdown vs none - claiming death rates are similar and assuming this proves lockdown does not help. But he should take into account other factors, such as dirty water, crowding, poor hygiene, undocumented workers, poor health system, which would make lockdowns and or treatment ineffective. See https://www.kunc.org/2020-08-31/peru-grapples-with-the-pandemic-despite-an-early-and-tough-lockdown.
Cummins criticises (Ferguson's epidemiological model> (an early influential British coronavirus epidemiological simulation that contributed - among others - to lockdown decisions), for Sweden vs 'actual' data. Strangely, Cummins does not appear to take into account the effect on the death rate of measures taken against the virus in Sweden, albeit lesser measures than in neighbouring countries (which had much lower death rates). This virus is so infective that, without any infection control measures, much higher contagion would be expected. This seems to be a common error in criticisms of quarantines and lockdowns. See this article for a thorough explanation of what the Ferguson model purported to do.
Ivor Cummings does not talk about Italy, which is an example of an entire country crippled by COVID-19, with a high severe illness and death rate that overwhelmed the hospital and funeral system. Three well-known factors operated there: The first was a mass infection that took place in a crowded football match; the second was that the government treated COVID-19 as if it were no more serious than the flu; the third was that Italy had such a high proportion of elderly people. The situation was made worse by the government failing to give financial support to its citizens, whilst ordering them into lockdown.
Victoria, Australia, is still experiencing in September 2020 what most of the world would see as a comparatively minor outbreak of COVID-19 in the community – certainly in contrast to Italy. The state initially locked down the most affected suburbs, but expanded lockdown quickly to the rest of the metropolis, and some affected regions. Contiguous states locked their borders against Victoria. Known new infections only reached 684 at their current peak, against a background of total known infections of 19,688 total, yet contagion reduced hospital and nursing-home staff, by quarantine and illness, to the extent that other states had to send in relief. What would have happened if there had been no lockdown? The virus would have spread to all other states and the hospitals would quickly have been overwhelmed. If, bizarrely, staff had continued to work in them without being tested themselves, without isolating if asymptomatic, patients presenting to hospitals with other illnesses would have run high risk of acquiring COVID-19 in addition to their presenting illnesses. Knowing this was a risk, even with quarantine, people avoided hospitals. Victoria is not out of the woods yet, and a small number of infections have escaped beyond the state, but the health system has coped to this point.
Cummins seems to be championing the idea of herd immunity, without thinking it through. Herd immunity needs definition. Many definitions disagree. The requirement, in herd immunity, for a much higher number of cases to establish, than usually allowed through strict quarantine, would mean potentially far more suffering. The virus would not go away, but would remain in the community to affect upcoming aging or otherwise vulnerable cohorts; thus a lurking endemic nasty. The capacity for COVID-19 to reinfect, and the ability of the virus to change rapidly, calls into question the very possibility of widespread immunity.
Not just deaths
Cummins should not just be looking at deaths, and neither should we. Deaths may actually be a poor indicator of the damage this virus may do. We should be looking at a continuum, as in: If the proportion of people who contract COVID-19, and who are over 80, die, what happens to those (of any age) who live? Given the ability of this disease (unlike flu) to cause clotting problems all over the body, affecting organs which affect other organs, we should be expecting that a proportion of survivors will have various rates of blood clots and organ damage. What proportion of these will clear, improve, or become chronic and dangerous? How long will how many survivors survive? Check out the following videos by doctors regarding clotting and organ-damage.
"More long-term damage caused by COVID-19 than expected | COVID-19 Special" (August 26, 2020)
The above video has many comments of interest, from people who have suffered lingering damage from the virus.
"An NYC Cardiologist Explains the Long Term Effects of COVID-19."
The cardiologist in the above video points out that, even if you are young and fit when you catch COVID-19, you still may not be able to do what you used to do, after you recover. He also says that people should present early for treatment because then treatment can be started to reduce the damage to organs, thus perhaps reducing the severity of chronic conditions that may linger and prevent full recovery. He also says that four years after the 1918 Great Flu epidemic, many survivors still had debilitating symptoms.
"Long-term health effects of COVID-19" (Lung specialist talks about pulmonary fibrosis, which may lead to need for lung transplants.)
Most important to factor in, among all these continuum possibilities, is the incredibly infectious nature of COVID-19, far more than the flu. Cummins does not appear to think much about this.
Ivor Cummins' letter suggests that recent rises (second waves) of corona virus are the result of countries conducting more tests, or the effects of seasonality. There seems to be little evidence of seasonality, however.
He speaks confidently of vaccines to help the susceptible, but there is no certainty of any effective vaccines arriving.
The girls needed a break. The university term had just finished and so had "lock-down". Students, Isla and her two housemates, Chloe and Emily, were anxious to escape Melbourne. Emily's friend Olivia who was studying at Adelaide University had been trying, for more than a year, to entice Emily over for a visit, and this seemed the opportunity. Of course all three girls would go over together and, as they all yearned for a seaside experience, after spending so much time in their rented inner suburban house, they booked into an apartment for five nights in Glenelg, not far from Emily. It would be great! They could go for walks along the beach every morning!
It was a very dull, cold, day when they left for Adelaide. They all felt both relaxed and excited. It had been a long term of study, and the first lock-down had been very stressful. University social life had been virtually non-existent since before Easter, with "social distancing", and then, for Isla, episodes of self-isolation, when travelling from Melbourne to her family in Hobart and back.
It was marvellous to get away and be on the open road! It felt almost as though normality was settling over the pandemic-stricken state. They stopped in Ballarat for a coffee, not sitting down in the cafe, as they would normally have done, but taking their drinks in disposable cups, each with a treat from the bakery, to a nearby park. Isla was in high spirits and, as the apricot filling of her danish pastry registered on her taste buds, she had an allover feeling that things would be OK.
They arrived in Adelaide the same day, just on sunset. Their GPS took them through the now lit up streets of Adelaide, to their accommodation in Glenelg. The accommodation was somewhat bizarre, in that it looked quite conventional as part of an old but well maintained brick house, but there was only one rather minimal sofa and low rafters in various inconvenient places, so they had to bend over to make their way from the living room to the kitchen and to their bedrooms. The establishment was run by an elderly couple who had a ten year old daughter. Unsolicited, the woman, who was probably in her mid sixties, gave them a long explanation of her in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment at an advanced age, resulting in a degree of fame and a much yearned-for daughter. She even showed them an ancient magazine featuring an article about this event! After such a long drive, the girls actually longed to unpack and relax, so were grateful when Samantha finally said good night, leaving six slices of bread for their morning toast.
That first evening, the girls took it in turns to lie on the sofa in front of the television, with legs dangling over the edge. The other two lay on the floor, on sleeping bags they had brought, in case they needed to sleep in the car. Such is the lottery of booking accomodation on the Internet!
The next morning they met Olivia, a third-year architecture student who, it was clear, had very much missed her former Bendigo school mate, Emily
In Adelaide it was possible to do far more than one could in Melbourne, where galleries, theatres, cinemas, and many restaurants, were closed, but in Adelaide there was some theatre and they took the opportunity of seeing The Book of Mormon as well as visiting wineries and galleries.
They had not been taking much notice of the news, as they were on holiday, and did not want the be continually brought back to reality. One day, though, their leisurely breakfast was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was Samantha, with her daughter Ellen by her side. Samantha was prone to histrionics and, in overly dramatic terms, conveyed to the girls that Melbourne was going into a second lock-down! The girls greeted this news almost with amusement, but Samantha was frantic. She was under the illusion that the girls had to return to Melbourne before it was locked down, or they would not be able to return at all! Isla reassured Samantha that they had the situation in hand and would still probably be leaving on the allocated day.
After Samantha and Ellen left, the girls started making plans. This lock-down did change things, but they knew they were not locked out of Melbourne. In fact, this was their opportunity to escape being locked in!
Did anyone want to return to Melbourne? Definitely not! Isla decided on the spot to return to Hobart and continue the next term of her course online, until Melbourne was unlocked. After all, she would be doing the course online, anyway, if she were in Melbourne. The year had been so disrupted, with cancelled placements and very few physical meetings with her fellow students and lecturers. She went online and booked a flight from Adelaide to Hobart, on the day they would have returned to Melbourne. Emily would return to Bendigo and Chloe would return to Shepparton. They had come over in Emily's car and Emily would drive Chloe home to Shepparton, before returning home.
They made the most of their last few days in Adelaide. On the day of their departure, Emily drove Isla to the airport, and then continued with Chloe back to Victoria. The parting at the airport was quite emotional, as none of them knew when they would return to the house that, together, they had called home all year.
Isla had a three hour wait for her flight, but once she was in the departure lounge, she relaxed with a course-related book she happened to have brought with her on important minerals in root vegetables. Her phone was charged so she was entertained. Two hours after takeoff, Isla was collecting her luggage from the carousel at Hobart Airport. Her sister, Bea, was waiting for her, and she was overcome with relief She had not realised how stressed she had been over the past few months, but now she was back to normality. It was was as though she had come from a different country!
They pulled into the driveway of their suburban Hobart home, overlooking the Derwent River. As one of her relatives once said, "You don't live in Hobart unless it's in a house with a view!" This had seemed a terribly privileged and amusing thing to say at the time, but now she appreciated the somewhat isolated privilege enjoyed by Tasmanians. She raced inside to be greeted enthusiastically by Terence the sheepdog. They both rolled on the carpet in delight at seeing one another. She and Bea debriefed for the rest of the afternoon until their mother, Kate came home from work.
The rules in Tasmania for a person returning from interstate were self-isolation for 2 weeks. Isla was resigned to this, and she did not really care, as she knew at the end of those two weeks, that she would be free. The Tasmanian Government had kept its population safe, and for this she was forever grateful.
When the two weeks were up, Isla stepped outside and headed towards the yacht club. Solitarily, she strolled along the beach. Never before had the water looked clearer, the sky such a pure blue, and the quiet of the morning enveloped her, at the same time seeming to give her space to expand her consciousness.
This is Australia in 2020. The quality of life is different in each state and bad luck for you if you are in the wrong state. Isla was lucky to escape Victoria, as there are now few freedoms for its inhabitants, due to the Covid 19 virus raging through the state. Other states had all but eliminated the virus, but things went badly wrong in Victoria, and this has put other states in jeopardy. It will be a long time before the people of Victoria can actually fully occupy and enjoy their own state and their own country.
Early this year, as the COVID-19 virus gained a toehold in Australia, the message from governments, via the media, was that the aim was to "flatten the curve" so that case numbers would be such that our hospital systems would not be overwhelmed. It was not to eliminate the virus altogether.
Why would governments not want to flatten the curve right down to the x axis and eliminate the virus from our population?
After the first National Cabinet of Premiers and the Prime Minister in mid March this year, the State Premiers, it seemed, comprehended the danger of the virus to their populations and immediately acted to protect them by introducing lock-down measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Tasmania and the Australian mainland are both islands!
Tasmania locked its sea border by not allowing people in from the mainland without quarantine. The conversation on the ABC was that Tasmania was lucky, as it is an island. My immediate thought was that the mainland of Australia is also an island! We have a chance here to stop this virus in its tracks, and safeguard our population - all 25. 5 million of them!
But it was never the aim of governments to eliminate this virus, newly introduced to our shores. They had to protect the economy and say the appropriate things to be reported in the media. Eliminating the virus would mean an inconvenient slowing down or stopping of migration long-term, with off-putting lengthy quarantine measures, which would dissuade any overseas tourism at all. Imagine if all overseas skilled workers (previously arriving in their hundreds of thousands) had to self isolate in hotels for two weeks before starting work. Who would pay for this? It would actually be economically irrational!
Governments opting to risk people for Big Business?
Instead, governments have opted to run the risk of continuous virus outbreaks, and second and third waves, in order to appease the voracious appetites of Big Business. This is not stated overtly, but when a leader waves a white flag and says that elimination is not possible in a country, which this time last year was completely free of this virus, then it seems clear to me that their hands are tied. Note that Tasmania has not had a new case of COVID-19 for over 60 days. In other words, it seems that elimination is possible, and that this has been demonstrated.
Using the island principle within Australia: West Australia and Queensland
The Premier of Western Australia closed the WA border to the rest of the country and so that it behaved like an island. This has worked. Cases of COVID-19 there are now only present in returning citizens in quarantine. Queensland's border was closed to all other states, which has ensured the health of that population. It has also earned Queensland the honour and responsibility of becoming home to, and host of, Melbourne AFL football teams and their families. This will be quite good for their economy, as the Queensland government salivates over the possibility of hosting the AFL grand final, an event previously firmly associated with the Melbourne's MCG.
With Victoria in a parlous state of lock-down, grappling with increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases every day, this football history-making break with tradition seems very likely to happen for that very reason.
Why is Victoria different?
Victoria is the basket-case in all this - but why? At the beginning, the Premier sent largely the right messages, with respect to the severity of the situation, as we went into the first lockdown. I was surprised and pleased that he seemed to get it and to give it the priority it deserved. The first lock-down was put in place. For many weeks, unless people lived in the same house, or could meet outside at a distance, they did not see their friends and families. Every night on the ABC, we would see grand parents and grand children greeting one another via this medium, highlighting the sadness felt and the sacrifices made. Childhood is fleeting, as is old age, and the lost times together cannot be regained. This is only one example of the broken ties that the first lockdown entailed.
But it did not work in controlling the virus in Victoria.
How did Victoria become the basket case?
Eventually, the first lock-down eased and Victorians regained a degree of normality and freedom. Last month we Victorians could visit one another, as long as there were no more than five people in the one house. I dined one night with three other people, in a friend's house. Our places at the large table were judiciously distanced, but it was pleasantly reminiscent of pre-COVID times.
Unfortunately this relaxation of isolation was short-lived. In recent weeks, increasing numbers of new cases of COVID-19 were being identified in Melbourne, and it came to light that there had been breaches of the hotel quarantine system for people returning from overseas. This debacle is the subject of an enquiry, but rumours abound of security guards getting into bed with the returnees, ad hoc staffing with SMS messages to friends, offering them a gig at a hotel, guards "moonlighting" and doing two jobs at once (actually absent from their posts.) Although these are rumours, it is clear that this important job was not taken seriously by those who organised it, by those assigned the task, nor by the returnees, who had they any respect for their fellow citizens, would have acted in a more trustworthy manner.
As a result of this and other breaches, including reported large family celebrations, Victoria now has a daily rising number of cases. Yesterday, July 17th, 425 new cases were reported, and Melbourne is back in lockdown, the rules of which are somewhat vague around the edges, with punitive fines seemingly at the discretion of police.
Still not aiming at eliminating the virus from Australia
Yet we are still not aiming at eliminating the virus in our population. If Victorians knew that the aim was to eliminate the virus from the population, it might maintain their motivation. It could also be successful but a series of relapses, accompanied by disturbing news of our hospitals struggling to cope, is ultra dispiriting. If our health system collapses what do we have?
What's in store for New South Wales?
New cases of the virus have escaped across the border between Victoria and New South Wales, but the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, is resisting lock down, along with Australian Primeminister Scott Morrison. Fortunately other voices, from the health sector, are contradicting them, including Norman Swan, Bill Bowtell, Gregory Dore, and Melbourne University epidemiologist Tony Blakely.
Australia must adopt an elimination strategy for COVID-19
Australia must adopt an elimination strategy and send this message clearly to its population. if we don't eliminate COVID-19, we will never be free again. We have a large, beautiful country, but we can't move around in it. Soon, in Melbourne, we may not be able to move from our own post code. This would be bearable if we knew we were aiming to be free again but, at present, all we can see, is a recurring and chronic situation of restrictions, which are eased and then reimposed, but never lifted.
The impact of the bushfires on Australia's communities, precious wildlife and their habitat is difficult to fathom. Across the country, it is estimated that more than 500 million animals, including critically endangered species, have already perished in the fires. The full impact is impossible to determine at this early stage. Zoos Victoria has been directed by the Victorian Government's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to provide frontline veterinary support and long-term care to the wildlife affected by the bushfires. [Candobetter dot net Editor: Readers please also note that DELWP have declared open-season all year round on Victoria's kangaroos, and that their planning section is driving the population growth that is destroying wildlife habitat.]
Zoos Victoria says: "We have vets stationed on the frontline in East Gippsland who are beginning the enormous role of triaging and caring for animals that have survived the fires.
This is why we need urgent help from all our members.
We have established a Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund with 100% of donations going towards the impacted animals, including endangered species, to provide veterinary support, and to explore long-term solutions such as supplementary feeding and habitat restoration. The money raised from this fund will be distributed in conjunction with DEWLP, Parks Victoria and other wildlife recovery teams.
If you can, please make a tax-deductible donation to the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund
From the ashes, there are always signs of hope for our wildlife."
On behalf of Zoos Victoria
Dr Jenny Gray
CEO Zoos Victoria
Snap Action Against Minister's North East Link Decision
Join Friends of Banyule for a snap action out the front of Minister Wynne's office today, Friday 5 Dec, 10am, Tenancy 2, Ground Floor, 188-196 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, VIC.
Planning Minister goes against own Planning Panel’s Advice to accept North East Link project as is
Thursday 5th December 2019
Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth and community group Friends of Banyule have expressed their extreme disappointment at today’s announcement that the Planning Minister Richard Wynne has approved the North East Link.
The project has been approved without extending the tunnel northwards, contrary to the Minister’s own Environmental Effects Statement Planning Panel’s advice and pleas of impacted families and community groups.
In the decision, Minister Wynne stated that “the project will produce significant environmental impacts, borne largely by the community of Melbourne’s northeast during a protracted construction period”.
Minister Wynne fails to report the permanent nature of this environmental and social damage and the long-term health impacts for those living along the 29km construction build, which includes 11 kindergartens, 12 schools and 5 aged care facilities.
“The State Labor Government values cars and toll road revenue over and above our children’s health and future. They are also prepared to destroy over 26,000 trees and two locals creeks, pollute the Yarra river and destroy the liveability of our beautiful green suburbs,” Friends of Banyule President Michelle stated.
“It's staggering that over 20 cherished homes in Yallambie will make way of the Tunnel Boring Machine Launch Site. This is additional to 37 homes already being acquired by the project. How many more homes in Watsonia and Greensborough will have to go via “voluntary acquisition” because they will simply be unliveable?”
“We don’t accept this greedy, undemocratic, sham consultation. The Minister has failed to listen to reasonable advice from his own expert Planning Panel and over 870 submissions by the public.”
The Minister admits that the project will produce ‘significant’ environmental impacts and lead to the destruction of valuable public open space. The project will impact as much as 175 hectares of open space during the 7 years construction period, with 18.2 hectares ‘required permanently’.
Friends of the Earth’s Sustainable Cities campaigner Claudia Gallois says “This will further entrench Melbourne’s reliance on cars for travel and have negative impacts on local communities and local business, increase greenhouse gas emissions and lead to the loss of valuable open space.”
“We welcome the state government’s investment in public transport, including the Metro Tunnel and Suburban Rail Link. But choosing a mega road over smart transport options like the Metro 2 tunnel is backwards thinking. Developing the North East Link will lock off development options for both Metro 2 and the long-promised Doncaster Rail Link, both of which are better ways of dealing with congestion on our roads, without destroying open space and damaging air quality”.
“In a rapidly growing city, it is simply not acceptable to be destroying public open space and sporting facilities.” (It's unfortunate that this media release doesn't challenge the idiocy of the Victorian Government encouraging further high immigration to this already overcrowded city (see LiveInMelbourne.vic.gov.au) - Ed.)
“There is no meaningful assessment of the rise of greenhouse gases associated with this project. In a time of climate change, this is unacceptable. It is also at odds with the government’s commitments under the Climate Change Act,” concluded Gallois.
Claudia Gallois, Friends of the Earth, 0448 752 656 [email protected]
Michelle Giovas, Friends of Banyule, 0409 179 121, [email protected]
If the Minister for Agriculture were to endorse at least one officer from each local council under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) provisions (section 18), this would add at least 120 new animal welfare officers/inspectors to combat animal cruelty within their area. This would alleviate the workload of authorised enforcement agencies i.e.( RSPCA/VicPol) in the town or city in which an alleged offence has occurred. A section should also be added into POCTA as it was back in the 80’s before it was repealed, that half of the fines from a successful prosecution be paid to council and the other half to state revenue. This would also give council an incentive to work toward costs as RSPCA now do subsequently no out of pocket expenses.
In the past I have advocated for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, but further research and forward thinking has changed my mind and I therefore submit the following suggestions regarding the above.
There are 120 municipalities in the state of Victoria, each have a local laws team that deal with animals including the Domestic Animals Act and other related acts of parliament. Some councils/shires may already have their officers endorsed under section 18 of POCTA to enforce and act under the provisions of POCTA.
From the 120 councils/shires each have officers that total at least 1 and some 12+ in the bigger councils and towns i.e. Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and Casey. Casey was the first to prosecute under POCTA new puppy farm sections successfully. If the Minister would endorse at least one officer from each council under POCTA provisions (section 18) that will at least give animal welfare 120 + new officers/inspectors to combat animal cruelty within the region of their area.
This would alleviate the workload of authorised enforcement agencies i.e.( RSPCA/VicPol) in the town or city in which an alleged offence has occurred. Plus a section should also be added (into POCTA) as it was back in the 80’s before it was repealed, that half of the fines from a successful prosecution be paid to council and the other half to state revenue. This would also give council an incentive to work toward costs as RSPCA now do subsequently no out of pocket expenses.
Training of these officers are on par with RSPCA inspector, rangers having the opportunity of courses offered prior to starting their occupation at council. Court and prosecutions would also be on par with RSPCA procedures.
RSPCA could then engage in their policies of supplying pet ambulance services, animal rescues, education and rehoming.
Barrie R Tapp
Animal Cruelty Hotline Australia; Dipl. equine studies, Police academy det training; JP.
The recent announcement by the Victorian State government to ban native forest logging on public land in Eastern Victoria has been strongly welcomed by local environment groups including the Otway Ranges Environment Network(OREN) and Geelong Environment Council(GEC). Although the local communities of Eastern Victorian will need to go through a transition, claims of economic doom and gloom are unfounded. The logging phase out process to be completed by 2030 for Eastern Victoria is very similar to the process used to phase out native forest logging the Otway Ranges that successfully transitioned the local community and economy between 2002 and 2008.
“When the Otways logging ban was announced in 2002, wild claims were made that the Otways region would be economically devastated if native forest logging came to an end, that there would be mass unemployment” said Simon Birrell spokesperson for Otway Ranges Environment Network. “Claims were made that in Colac, where a number of hardwood sawmills were located, the town would die and that the Midway woodchip mill would close down. Instead nature based tourism has significantly expanded in the Otway region and this can easily be the case for Eastern Victoria.”
“For example, the Otway town of Forrest was founded on logging and had a sawmill mill that was phased out. It is now a hub for those who go mountain bike riding through the forests. Shops that were derelict when the local sawmill was operating have now been renovated and opened as a café. There are accommodation businesses. In another example, Otways logs once went to the Birregurra sawmill. Now many people who live in Birri work as part of the tourism service industries along the Great Ocean Road.”
“For the Otways there was six year transition between 2002 and 2008, for east of the State it will be a ten year transition to 2030. Claims the towns such as Orbost will die are rubbish. Orbost can easily be developed has a major gateway hub for nature based tourism to see the wonders of the tall forests and magnificent scenery the region of far East Gippsland has to offer. What needs to happen is investment in making the place more accessible for visitors and a marketing campaign to promote the wonders of the area so more visitors go.”
“It is concerning that Federal Government ministers were so quick to condemn the Eastern Victorian logging phase out. The Federal coalition government should note that the Victorian Liberal Party supported the Otway logging ban in 2005 and voted to support passage of legislation to ban logging and create the Great Otway National Park. Rather than irresponsibly talk up the negative, it is hoped both the State and Federal Liberal and National Parties will work in a bi-partisan way with the State Government to ensure a just and fair transition for the communities impacted by this decisions and jointly explore nature conservation tourism employment opportunities.”
“Finally, both OREN and GEC have recently been lobbying the State and Federal Governments to cancel the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) that covers the Otways, given logging has already ended. We suspect that the requirement to renew the RFAs, by March next year, has prompted the State Government to announce this latest logging ban decision given there are also four RFAs that cover the East of the State and, if renewed, they would have guaranteed logging to the year 2040. This would have been irresponsible. All the RFAs need to be cancelled as they now all come into conflict with this new State Government policy to phase out native forest logging across Victoria by 2030.”
Campaspe Shire has introduced a great new horse welfare change to its Echuca and District Livestock Exchange. It will no longer accept horses that do not have clear origins and destinations. Let us hope that other shires will follow this example. As you may read in Horses need an identity urgently, Victorian laws are extremely irresponsible towards horses, and many horses suffer greatly in this state.
Echuca & District Livestock Exchange
Echuca & District Livestock Exchange will no longer accept horses that are "on delivery"/ "depot horses"/ "in transit" / "on consignment".
- Effective 2 September 2019.
Echuca & District Livestock Exchange ("the facility") is a Council owned facility that is open to agents and private operators to utilise the Livestock Exchange under a formal User Agreement prepared in line wiht Council's accreditation under the National Saleyards Quality Assurance Program.
Council is committed to animal welfare, compliance, occupational health and safety - personal injury, biosecurity and the monitoring of livestock that move in and out of the facility.
Horses that are "on delivery"/"depot horses"/"in transit"/"on consignment" pose a serious biosecurity threat and disease outbreak risk to the facility and other livestock. There is no traceability or record of the horses' previous or outgoing locations, nor their previous or new owner's details. Council also has no control over the condition that the hores are in when delivered at the facility.
Therefore, as of 2 September 2019, Campaspe Shire Council will no longer accept these horses at the Echuca & District Livestock Exchange facility.
Council seeks your assistance to pass this advice on to all relevant parties involved in the supply chain of horses that may have dealings with hornses on delivery at the Echuca & District Livestock Exchange and advise alternative delivery arrangements will need to be made. This may include, but is not limited to, your staff, buyers, abattoirs, horse transport companies and vendors.
Please note that the Andrew Wilson & Co horse sales will continue as per usual and the staff will be strictly monitoring the condition of the horses included in the sales upon delivery to the facility.
Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Echuca & District Livestock Exchange Manager on 03 5482 2851, or alternativesly, Council's Commercial Operations Manager on 03 5481 2200.
Campaspe Shire Council
Cnr Hare & Heygart Streets
Echuca VIC 3564
PO Box 35 Echuca VIC 3565.
Tel: 1300 666 535 / 03 5481 2200
Email: [email protected]
ABN: 23 604 881 620
(Photos by Fiona Bell.) I have strongly supported the RUANELA (Residents United Against North East Link Option A) campaign against the North East Link. I am opposed to the removal of thousands of mature trees and the massive loss of open space particularly in the Koonung Creek Reserve. 12.7 hectares of parkland will be permanently lost.
I am opposed to the overkill which this project is - a 24 lane freeway at one point, rivalling the word's 26 lane widest at a massive cost of $16 billion, which could properly fund mental health, homelessness or indigenous disadvantage if it were directed there instead.
I am opposed to the impact on sporting and recreational pursuits for my constituents. The Boroondara Tennis Centre will go. The Freeway Public Gold Course will have holes removed, threatening its viability."
I am opposed to the way this project destroys the Doncaster Rail Project - for years residents have been promised this Project was on the drawing board.
I supported local residents and the City of Boroondara in a letter to the Transport Infrastructure Minister in March. I supported local residents in the speech I gave during debate on this project in the Legislative Council in May. I supported local residents in asking a Question in the House urging the Government to reconsider the Doncaster Rail Line in June.
And I will be raising this issue in the Legislative Council again today, urging the Government to reconsider Option A in the light of new modelling work commissioned by Councils.
For further information, or to support the campaign against the North East Link please don't hesitate to get in touch with my Electorate Office.
Clifford Hayes M.L.C.
206-208 Bay Street North Brighton 3186
P (03) 95308399 E: [email protected]
"A hundred kangaroos, some dead, others badly injured." Barry Tapp, Senior Inspector for Animal Cruelty Australia Hotline, and other animal rescuers and carers say that the RSPCA failed to respond to requests to deploy the Mobile Animal Vet van to the bushfire areas where it was much needed (notably round Bunyip) and that they thereby failed to honour the commitment they gave the Victorian Government after the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into RSPCA Victoria. We publish below the Government Response to that Inquiry. Warriors4wildlife provided the photos via Barrie Tapp.
The Victorian Government Response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the RSPCA Victoria
The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Victoria was established in 2016. The Economy and Infrastructure Committee undertook a detailed investigation into the way that RSPCA Victoria used its powers pursuant to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, and the use of State Government funding by RSPCA Victoria.
The Victorian Government thanks the Committee for its report following the Inquiry. It also acknowledges the important contributions made by all stakeholders who participated in the Inquiry.
The Committee found that many of the issues presented were historical. Over time, a number of these have been resolved through the improved operating environment between the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and RSPCA Victoria. In addition, RSPCA Victoria has responded to the 2016 Independent Review of the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate and made substantial progress towards implementing the recommendations.
That the Victorian Government and RSPCA Victoria provide more transparency, information, and detail with regard to the powers of RSPCA Victoria inspectors under the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, and in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between RSPCA Victoria and DEDJTR.
Government response: Support in full
The Victorian Government and RSPCA Victoria are collaborating in a number of areas to improve the transparency, and detail, of information available regarding the powers of RSPCA Victoria inspectors. Improved reporting systems between RSPCA Victoria and DEDJTR have already been adopted under the current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). These changes will deliver further detail regarding the activities of the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate, and the use of government funding.
DEDJTR along with RSPCA Victoria, are considering the best options for developing, and designing resources to communicate the responsibilities of each organisation more clearly. The information on DEDJTR and RSPCA Victoria websites will be clarified and simplified to provide consistent guidance to community members reporting cruelty, as well as informing the community of the roles of each organisation.
The Victorian Government’s Animal Welfare Action Plan contains commitments to review and clarify the enforcement roles of different authorised agencies, including RSPCA Victoria, as well as
governance and funding structures. Future arrangements between RSPCA Victoria and DEDJTR will provide increased transparency, information and detail with regard to the use of powers of RSPCA Victoria inspectors under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA Act).
That RSPCA Victoria ensure that it investigates cruelty to commercial animals in emergency situations only, in line with Division 2 of Part 2A of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Government response: Support in full
The POCTA Act and the MoU between DEDJTR and RSPCA Victoria are clear regarding the requirement to provide services to alleviate animal pain and suffering. The current MoU defines the
roles and responsibilities for both organisations with respect to commercial and non-commercial animals. It also states that under emergency situations “all inspectors ... may be required to respond to animal welfare incidents outside their areas of responsibility ... if there is a need to alleviate pain and suffering”.
Development of new operational agreements between RSPCA Victoria and DEDJTR will take into account, and give careful consideration to, this recommendation, whilst also ensuring that animal
welfare is not disadvantaged in an emergency situation. DEDJTR and RSPCA Victoria will collaborate to develop resources to communicate the responsibilities of each organisation clearly. This will
include clarifying the role of RSPCA Australia Approved Farming Scheme Compliance Officers so they are clearly differentiated from RSPCA Victoria Inspectors.
That RSPCA Victoria in consultation with the Victorian Government, consider ways to improve engagement and collaboration with animal stakeholder organisations.
Government response: Support in full
DEDJTR and RSPCA Victoria are working to develop new strategies to improve the engagement and collaboration with, and amongst, animal stakeholder organisations.
The Animal Welfare Action Plan (AWAP) provides an example of this approach. Two of the key pillars within the AWAP are ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Education’. The former will enhance cooperation across government and animal sectors, while the latter will assist with communication and training that improves knowledge, skills and compliance.
RSPCA Victoria will continue implementation of its Stakeholder Engagement and Advocacy Strategy, which focuses on building engagement, trust and collaborating with a range of stakeholders.
Original publication Authorised by the Hon. Jaala Pulford MLC
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
1 Spring Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
Telephone (03) 9651 9999
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources 2017
Wildlife carers and rescuers and local farmers have requested the RSPCA to provide its mobile vet clinic ready to assist the expected influx of injured and suffering animals as soon as people are allowed back into the areas currently affected by the Bunyip fire. Barrie Tapp, Senior Inspector for Animal Cruelty Australia Hotline, says the RSPCA and their mobile vet van are needed now. "We already have reports of animals dead and dying."
There will be a huge number of wildlife, domestic animals, horse and cattle, and other farm animals, in urgent need of medical care as soon as people are allowed back in. Will the RSPCA mobile vet clinic will be ready to assist? The RSPCA mobile vet would be an enormous help to manage the influx of injured and suffering animals requiring treatment. There will be many locals out there doing what we can to help, but there is a need for vets and experienced animal carers also to give professional guidance and provide the more serious medical treatments.
The RSPCA's experienced vets and medical staff will be desperately required to step in promptly and help in the aftermath of these fires. From a PR perspective, the RSPCA providing assistance in these fire ravaged areas would draw positive media attention. But far more importantly, they would be joining forces with other concerned individuals, and providing care to the affected animals who will be in desperate need of our help.
Barry Tapp, Senior Inspector for Animal Cruelty Hotline Australia, says that he sent emails yesterday to Terry Ness, chief inspector and to the Inspectorate RSPCA, and to Liz Walker CEO - but there has been no response! In his experience, the RSPCA did help, once, when he, Tapp and Animal Cruelty Hotline with Hugh Worth (RSPCA), Animal Liberation, Anil rescue Australia and Nigel's animal rescue delivered food and essentials all around.
Local farmers, Anne and David Serato have also sent an email to RSPCA Victoria, stating that they are horse and cattle owners, describing their concern about herds, horses and wildlife. They have requesting the RSPCA mobile vet to assist the wildlife rescuers once the burned areas are open, stating the need for expert back up in the form of RSPCA and skilled wildlife carers.
At around 5.28 pm Victorian time today 4 March 2019, Barrie Tapp received a response from Liz Walker, CEO of RSPCA Victoria. She reported that the RSPCA attended a meeting coordinated by Agriculture Victoria. She wrote,
"The situation remains hazardous and is still unfolding. The Agriculture Victoria Animal Welfare Commander is currently working with the Incident Agency Commander to determine animal welfare impacts and will keep us updated. Agriculture Victoria has confirmed that there is no additional assistance required from private veterinarians, RSCPA Victoria or other jurisdictions at this stage. This may change as information comes in and initial assessment is undertaken to the impacted properties."
She added, "RSPCA Victoria has the Mobile Animal Clinic (MAC) and operational staff on standby if required. At this stage we anticipate that the MAC with vets and Inspectors may need to be deployed later in the week. We may also need to provide shelter capacity to welfare board some companion animals."
To this Barrie Tapp has replied that their mobile clinic should be there NOW. He explains:
"We already have reports of animals suffering and some dead. Obviously there are going to be multiple complex cases, given the size of the bushfire. The mobile vet should be there ASAP so that they will be prepared for the inevitable influx."