In the most scathing terms possible, and with conclusions that reveal the mess that State and Local planning authorities are in, the Auditor General released a report yesterday that basically found:

  • The Department is not doing its job
  • Ministers, department, and councils lack transparency and accountability
  • The legislation is inadequate and contradictory

It is a comprehensive review of planning in the state and well worth a read for those interested. Some of the most interesting points made emphasise that very few amendments or planning permits adhere to the ‘social, environmental, and economic’ ‘net benefit’ for the community that the legislation requires. In most cases, these elements don’t even get a mention in reported decisions. Here are some quotes, which we believe apply most strongly to Glen Eira City Council:

If the community is to have confidence and trust in the planning system, decisions must be transparent, and planning schemes must be well implemented and operate as intended.

The assessments DELWP and councils provide to inform decisions are not as comprehensive as required by the Act and the VPP. DELWP and councils have also not measured the success of the system’s contribution to achieving planning policy objectives.

Transparent—there is generally strong community participation due to extensive third-party and appeal rights in planning decisions. However, planning assessments used to inform decisions do not transparently analyse all relevant planning matters as required by the Act and the VPP, and not all decisions are accompanied by published reasons.

Some councils are also slow to review and revise local planning schemes, and there is no requirement for DELWP to regularly review and revise the content of the VPP.

The following image sums up many of the issues that bedevil Glen Eira –

The full report can be found at –

PS: just as a reminder of council’s failure to deliver on long made promises, we repeat part of a previous post that confirms everything the Auditor General claims. The image below comes from the minutes of 2010 and the (in)famous 2010 Planning Scheme Review. Please note all the promises that were made with none being delivered in the space of 7 years! Three councillors of that time are still on council – Esakoff, Hyams and Magee and Delahunty arrived in 2012. What have they done to ‘progress’ the initiatives of the review over this time span? The highlighted sections below speak for themselves.