Planning Act Amendment (Recognising Objectors) Bill 2015

Planning Minister Wynne claims the Bill is going to improve decision-making and planning outcomes, and increase the confidence of residents in the planning system. 

Will it make a difference?  Very little…..   See our edited submission to the Parliamentary Environment & Planning Committee (submissions closed on July 6).

THIS is how the relevant bits of the Act would read if the Bill in its current form is passed

This issue is politically important because this Bill is the result of an ALP election promise to ‘give the community a voice‘.  The Minister claims the Bill will improve decision-making and planning outcomes, and increase community confidence in the planning system.  But if it’s going to be able to do that, it needs to be toughened up a bit first – and the Upper House of Parliament is the best place to start!

So please lobby your local MPs and cross-bench Upper House MPs, even if you just reiterate some of our key points and your own comments.

Sixteen submissions have been lodged with the Upper House Parliamentary Environment & Planning Committee, which consists of 3 Coalition MPs, 3 ALP MPs, Greens planning spokesperson Samantha Dunn MP and Daniel Brown MP of the Shooters and Fishers Party – quite a varied bunch, and the cross-benchers have more power in the new Parliament.

At a half-day hearing on July 10, five organisations also addressed the Committee – the transcripts of their comments can be read HERE (including only one community group presentation).

The Bill won’t come up again in the Parliament until after the winter recess (ie, in August), so this is an ideal time to talk to your local MP.

Worried about local overdevelopment in Glen Eira and Port Phillip?

STOP PRESS!   Do you have concerns about over-development such as apartments or multi-storey buildings in Glen Eira and Port Phillip, or questions about planning laws?



Join the Shadow Minister for Planning and Local Government the Hon David Davis MLC and local Caulfield Liberal MP David Southwick on Monday 27 July in Caulfield to contribute and express your concerns.

This is your chance to let the Opposition know what you think of the way the new residential zones have been implemented in Glen Eira, unleashing nearly 90 years worth of extra housing!  Yet the community was never consulted by Council on the form and location of the new zones.

Monday, 27 July 2015,  7:30pm – 9:00pm

Caulfield Park Pavilion Hall, Balaclava Rd, Caulfield North RSVP essential by 5pm Monday 27 July via phone 9527 3866 or email david.southwick@parliament.vic.gov.au

VCAT Dangers – request to cancel or amend a permit (s89 appeal)

This sort of appeal is very different to an ordinary s82 objectors’ VCAT appeal against a council decision to approve a planning application.  Once a planning permit has been issued, an objector who wasn’t notified of the granting of the permit for some reason can only appeal against the permit under s89 of the Planning and Environment Act. Continue reading

Candidate Survey – Victorian planning in crisis

Results from our Candidate Survey are now rushing in. The survey is live and candidates can respond until election day.

The survey provides a snapshot of planning and infrastructure issues across Victoria. Candidates across the state and across the political spectrum share our concern that we have a crisis in planning in Victoria.

The most important areas of reform nominated are:

  •  “Improved public transport network”
  • Governance to protect integrity and transparency”
  • Diverse and affordable housing”

Trend results showed:

  • Over 90% support political donations reform
  • Over 90% think that the Planning Minister should publish advice relied on and reasons for decisions
  • Over 95% say we need to improve transparency, accountability and integrity

Continue reading

We need to talk about Planning – Survey of election candidates

Community groups across Victoria have joined together to survey candidates on the conduct and direction of Planning in Victoria.

The Survey was drafted by SOS with input and support from a wide range of groups. These include some of our smallest newest residents groups and also long standing state wide groups like Green Wedges, Protectors of Public Lands, Planning Backlash and the Public Transport Users Association.

The Survey asks about local issues and key issues of concern including:

  • The need for VCAT reform and better protection of local amenity
  • Whether we have a failure of independent, long term infrastructure planning
  • Failure to secure the Urban Growth Boundary and Green Wedges
  • Whether the increasing deregulation and privatisation of planning is in Victoria’s interest
  • Whether Victoria has ‘an inappropriate culture of undue influence and political opportunism’
  • Whether candidates support reform of political donations laws

Continue reading

Save Our Suburbs AGM 2014

SOS will hold its AGM on Sunday 16 November at 2:30pm, Ground floor meeting room, Ross House, 247-251 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

SOS Notice of AGM 2014   SOS Nomination Form 2014

Guest Speaker, Professor Brendan Gleeson, Professor of Urban Policy Studies and Director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at Melbourne University will speak at 3.00pm.

Professor Gleeson has researched and written extensively on the wellbeing of our cities and suburbs and the political, social, economic and environmental trends shaping Australia. Modern capitalist society has provided our present high standard of living but now also brings challenges and threats, especially climate change, resource depletion, social division and economic insecurity.

So how can we plan for a more resilient city designed to meet these challenges and maintain our residential amenity within sustainable limits? Economic and population growth cannot continue indefinitely – what sort of political, social and economic system might we need to move towards, and what should urban planning policy look like?

Here’s the link to Professor Gleeson’s presentation and the questions and answers that followed.    A transcript will be available shortly.

Glen Eira Residents Association AGM

On 6 November 2014, the Age featured an excellent Focus Report, It’s all go in the election zone.

The article highlights the discontent in Glen Eira with the impacts of the new zones and the fact that people were not consulted.

The article states ‘In a fortnight, Save Our Suburbs will hold a specially convened forum in Bentleigh on the zones’. However, this forum is convened by the Glen Eira Residents Association for the AGM on 19 November at the Bentleigh Club in Yawla St.

The meeting starts at 7.00pm and SOS president Ian Wood will be guest speaker at 7.30pm.

See Focus Report at

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-state-election-2014/swinging-voters-could-knock-denis-napthine-out-in-melbournes-planning-zones-20141105-11h1za.html

Election Candidate Survey reveals Crisis in Planning and support for political donations reform

The early results of the Candidate Survey reveal widespread concern across Victoria. See below for details of Survey.

There is a very high level of concern over ‘how Melbourne is developing’ and that we have an ‘inappropriate culture of undue influence on public decision making’. All candidates support the need to improve transparency, accountability and integrity, with overwhelming support for political donations reform.

There is a very high level of concern over ‘the increasing deregulation and privatisation of planning that successive Governments have introduced over the last twenty years’. All candidates agree that ‘the marketplace alone can not address planning issues that involve long­ term social, environmental and economic impacts’.

The candidates also express very high levels of concern over the lack of certainty in our planning scheme, with overwhelming support for minimum mandatory standards and for limits on Ministerial discretion. There is also strong support for reform of VCAT to make it fairer and more accessible. There is a serious level of uncertainty over the new zones.

There is also overwhelming support for greater precedence for Ecologically Sustainable Development, Green Wedges, public transport, and for local policy and amenity.

Candidate Responses are being collated and will be posted over the next two weeks.

Petition for political donations reform

SOS supports political donations reform.

Victoria has some of the weakest electoral donation integrity laws in Australia. 

SOS would like to see all donations over $1000 disclosed. The Federal Liberal Government recently increased donation disclosure levels to over $12,000. We also need timely reporting of donations, within 14 days as in certain UK and USA elections, not up to 18 months as in Victoria. We would also like to see a ban on certain classes of donation eg developer donations, as in NSW.

Rob Oakshott has started a petition calling for reform. See details and the link below:

To: The Governor-General of Australia http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_GovernorGeneral_of_Australia_approve_a_Royal_Commission_into_Australian_political_donation_reform/?krEOxib