Presented below is today’s council Media Release. Please note the following:

  • It’s all about money
  • Not a word about strategic planning and halting the overdevelopment in Glen Eira

Council has distinguished itself by failing to make any public comment on recent State Government changes to planning schemes and legislation. We can only suspect that any criticism of government will not be rewarded by millions as ‘pay off’. There have been innumerable instances where council should have stood up for its residents if ‘advocacy’ was genuine. What we had was absolute silence.

It’s also worth pondering whether these projects do in fact represent money well spent. We remind readers that the Bentleigh Library underwent a million dollar plus renovation in the past few years. Community views on the Carnegie market were never solicited appropriately and the comments that have been received remain highly dubious as to the potential ‘success’ of these grandiose plans.

More importantly however, please compare how other councils ‘advocate’ for their residents when they feel it is important to highlight state government actions that will have a negative impact on their municipalities. Here are two examples from the Mayor’s Blog from Boroondara. Again, no such public comment from Glen Eira and definitely not a word of criticism to be found. As we’ve stated: this isn’t ‘advocacy’ it is a sell out.

The reality of the Victorian Government’s Reformed Residential Zones

Boroondara Mayoral Blog

Thu 25 May 2017

Accommodating Melbourne’s unprecedented population growth is not an easy task. It requires all three levels of government to work together, respectfully.

Unfortunately, local councils and specifically the planning system are unjustly targeted to address a housing supply and affordability problem. The most recent example is through the Reformed Residential Zones.

When the Victorian Government announced the reforms, we sent a letter to inform you about the impact of the reforms to the zone that you live in and asked you to write to the Minister for Planning to express your concerns. Thank you to those who have taken the initiative. Your voice is important in this debate.

It is disappointing to learn that in responding to the community’s concerns, the Minister has attacked Council for representing the interests of our community, accusing us of making “petty political arguments” and calling us “mischievous” and “deliberately misleading”.

Let’s look at the facts.

In the Neighbourhood Residential Zones (NRZ), the limit of two dwellings to a lot has been removed. In the General Residential Zones (GRZ), irrespective of the established character of these areas, the new height limit is 11m with a
maximum of three storeys.* As we outlined in our letter to you, “… the removal of the dwelling density requirement will have a significant impact on potential development outcomes in the NRZ.

The fact that properties within the NRZ can now be developed for more than two dwellings means that the NRZ is going to experience more intensive in-fill development in areas that were previously identified for minimal change. Coupled with the increase in building height, multi-unit development and apartment style development proposals are likely to be the inevitable consequence of the reformed zone.”

Nothing in the above statement is incorrect. In his letter, the Minister doesn’t deny the above facts, but rather deflects from the reality created by the new zones. For the Minister to suggest that the changes to the zones won’t lead to more intensive in-fill development is simply untrue.

The new mandatory garden area requirement introduced by the Minister will have little positive impact on the design of development beyond what is already required under existing planning controls, and will not achieve the protection of neighbourhood character or amenity as stated by the Minister.

There was no opportunity for either Council or the community to comment on the new controls before they were introduced.

Council did provide a submission to the Minister’s Managing Residential Development Advisory Committee, which reported the outcome of the residential zones review to the Minister. However, the Minister’s reforms go much further than what
his own committee recommended.

We are deeply concerned for the future of our City. Victoria needs a responsible longterm strategy for the provision of housing to retain Melbourne’s mantle as one of the world’s most liveable cities, not short-term planning reform that will line the pockets of developers and inextricably change the character of our suburbs forever.

We will not stop voicing our concerns about the reforms. We urge you to do the same. You can write to the Minister for Planning by emailing Richard Wynne.

*This change doesn’t currently apply to our current GRZ1, GRZ2 and GRZ3 areas. However, these zones will inevitably lose their existing stricter height requirements after three years.

Cr Phillip Healey


Victorian Government weakens protection of Boroondara’s neighbourhood character

Boroondara Mayoral Blog

Tue 28 March 2017

The Minister for Planning’s decision to reform residential zones is unravelling the protection of Boroondara’s neighbourhood character.

About 80 percent of our residential area is classified as Neighbourhood Residential Zone where the maximum number of dwellings on a lot is two and the maximum building height limit is 8 metres.

Yesterday, the Minister removed the limit of two dwellings to a lot and increased the mandatory building height limit to 9 metres. The changes were made without consultation with local residents, communities and Council.

The Minister argued that the reformed residential zones “will be fair and provide certainty for all of our suburbs”, “provide for new housing opportunities” and “get the balance right”. We strongly disagree with his argument.

There is no transparency, accountability and justification to the proposed changes. The extensive process of planning work required to introduce the current residential zones by Boroondara and other municipalities has effectively been thrown out at the stroke of a pen. It is heavy handed and unfair.

Council’s planning policies have created capacity for an additional 62,546 dwellings which is more than four times the Victorian Government’s own forecast dwelling need for the area by 2031. These policies have clearly been working as Boroondara has the second highest spend on building projects in Victoria.

What will be certain is that the reformed residential zones will result in more intensive in-fill development in areas that our community has told us they want to preserve. The changes will have long lasting negative impacts on our highly valued streetscapes.

The Minister hasn’t got the balance right. He has tipped the balance in favour of increased density that will only benefit developers and destroy both Boroondara’s and Melbourne’s liveability.

We are deeply disappointed by the Minister’s decision. We urge community members to write to the Minister for Planning ( to voice their concerns.

Cr Phillip Healey


PS: Here’s another post that could be compared to Amendment C157 and Wynne’s refusal to grant Elsternwick mandatory height limits. In contrast, our council meekly accepts the outcome it would seem. Since this mayoral post Boroondara has achieved mandatory 3 storey height limits for 15 of its neighbourhood centres.