AND FROM HANSARD – 22/8/2017

Southern Metropolitan Region


(Southern Metropolitan)

— My constituency question is for the attention of the Minister for Public Transport and it relates to the proposed 13-storey sky tower development at Ormond railway station. This is another secret development being undertaken by Daniel Andrews that the community had no knowledge of . Many residents have contacted me to voice their concerns about the sky tower and are also now asking for updated information regarding this proposed development . The government has provided little to no information regarding this project since a public hearing was held in early February of this year .

Following that hearing a report undertaken by the Victorian Transport Projects Advisory Committee was submitted to the minister as it is obliged to within 20 business days of the last hearing . Well, that was months ago.

My question to the minister on behalf of the many anxious residents within the area is: can she provide an update to the house on the proposed development and the details of the report, so that the residents of Ormond and the surrounding areas of Caulfield and Bentleigh understand exactly what was recommended to the Andrews government at the Ormond sky tower site?


Plan Melbourne: Refresh


(Southern Metropolitan)

— My matter tonight is for the attention of the Minister for Planning, and it concerns the City of Monash. On Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend a forum on planning in the City of Monash. A range of people were there who had very strong views about what is occurring in the City of Monash

. The recent changes that the government has made under Plan Melbourne: Refresh and the subsequent decision of the planning minister to put in place the VC110 planning scheme amendment have meant that a significant set of changes have occurred .

In municipalities like Glen Eira and neighbouring municipalities the increased density the government is pushing for very strongly — and that is its policy through Infrastructure Victoria and the stated comments of the Premier and the planning minister — will see neighbourhood residential zones with massive density occur on those blocks . The two -dwelling cap has been removed, and there can now be unlimited dwellings on those properties . But in the City of Monash there is less of that sort of planning overlay and protection, and it has mainly general residential zones . The government’s changes there have seen the increase in the minimum maximum height — if I can describe it that way— from 9 metres to 11 metres and an explicit allowance of  three storeys in the general residential zones

Some other municipalities face this challenge too . The Mornington Peninsula Shire and the City of Kingston are also areas where general residential zones predominate . There is a significant push now occurring, and a number of people related this to me closely at the forum that was held on Saturday of the weekend just gone . What we will see is a massive increase in density and a change to our suburbs.

What I am seeking from the minister is that he review VC110 and its impact and reverse some of these changes that he has put in place.

These changes clearly are going to change the nature of our suburbs . There is no sufficient planning behind it in terms of infrastructure, whether it is for traffic support, parking, schools, maternal and child health— I could go on.

Thanks to the Stonnington agenda, we now know that the state government’s promise to facilitate social housing is a step closer. We’ve uploaded Stonnington’s submission, plus provided extracts from their officer’s report. Whether or not this will be another example of government policy railroaded through on the back of poorly drafted legislation and with little thought given to the countless loopholes that can be exploited, remains to be seen.

Here are the officer report extracts –

Proposed Planning Reforms

Council was notified on 22 May 2017 that the Minister for Planning is seeking feedback on proposed reforms to the Victoria Planning Provisions to provide permit exemptions or streamline permit application processes for specified accommodation land uses.

Comments on the proposed reforms are due by Friday, 16 June 2017. Due to the short consultation timeframe and the timing of Council report cycles, this provides Council a short time frame to review the reforms and prepare a submission for Council endorsement.

Facilitation of public housing

The Government argues that there is a pressing need to increase the supply of social housing in Victoria. The reforms are intended to help support government policy to replace ageing public housing stock and develop new public housing.

The reforms seek to streamline the planning permit process for the development of no more than 10 dwellings on a lot by, or on behalf of, a public authority such as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It exempts assessment under Clause 55 (ResCode) and car parking requirements if specified requirements are met. In addition, it exempts an application from public notice and review requirement

Rooming house

The term “shared housing” is proposed to be replaced by the term “rooming house” (a newly defined land use term under Clause 74 of the Planning Scheme) which clarifies that other land uses such as a backpackers accommodation, boarding houses and hostels cannot benefit from the provision. The provision proposes to provide a permit exemption for use and development of land for a rooming house where specified requirements are met supporting the development of ‘domestic scale’ rooming houses under the proposed draft provisions.

The requirements propose limits of 12 persons, 8 bedrooms and a gross floor area of 300 square metres. It proposes to exempt applications by public authorities from public notice and review requirements.

Council is not confident that the draft controls will result in a high level accommodation that is respectful of its neighbourhood character, context or surrounding amenity.

The draft controls propose to provide a reduced assessment threshold to a proportion of Public Housing, Community Care Accommodation and Rooming Houses. This raises concern in relation to whether adequate levels of internal amenity, managing off -site amenity impacts and how successful integration of development within its neighbourhood context will be achieved.

The lower assessment threshold may lead to an increase in such developments, creating a loop hole for the development of sub -standard accommodation if the buildings are retro fitted into private apartment buildings in the future.

It is also considered that the Clauses as drafted will pose challenges in the extent of public notice and review exemptions. The lack of notice and review means that where otherwise affected parties would be able to make submissions, there will not be an opportunity to do so.

The proposed exemption from notice and review may result in a disconnected community and potentially increased compliance expectations on Council

Stonnington’s submission uploaded HERE



Wynne’s announcement of his ‘vision’ for Plan Melbourne continues the Matthew Guy tradition of:

  • releasing major news late on the eve of a weekend or long weekend
  • misleading and deceptive spin aimed at the uninformed and ignorant
  • no documents that provide the full details – ie nothing on the department’s website as to the actual amendments
  • 8 months to ‘consider’ the advisory committee’s report that remains ‘secret’

Result? Developers and their cohorts continue to exert undue influence to the detriment of communities!






Greens, independents say council fight set to be fairer after how-to-vote cards scrapped

Megan Bailey, Cranbourne Leader

September 2, 2016 2:15pm

CHANGES to postal ballot packs could make council elections fairer by making it harder for hopefuls relying on dummy candidates to get votes. State politicians last week voted to ban how-to-vote cards in postal ballot packs.The move was sought by the Liberals and backed by the Nationals and Greens.

Labor voted to keep the cards in the packs earlier this year, saying removing them would increase informal voting.

The change will mean that election candidates who plan to use dummies will have to spend more money sending their preference information to voters or pay to mail out brochures for dummy candidates running on their behalf.

“This is a good move but we’re yet to hear whether the VEC have been told by the government that these will be the rules for the election,” Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said.“We hope the government doesn’t do something dodgy to try and reinstate preferences and stooge candidates.”

Former Casey councillor Steve Beardon, who said he was now planning to run in October, said the decision was great news.“Independents have the greatest opportunity now more than ever to take control of council and return it to the people, to our communities,” he said.

Rex Flannery, who earlier in the year told Leader he felt he had no choice but to use dummy candidates in this election, said it would even the playing field for independents. “Four years ago when I ran in the Springfield Ward, I was subjected to eight candidates out of eleven placing myself at the bottom of the ballot paper,” he said. “This will make way for fewer dummy candidates running and give all independents a fairer chance of winning. “Only those candidates who want a chance to become a councillor will publish a brochure to send out to the residents and they will see who the real candidates are.”

Cr Gary Rowe, who will stand for election this year, said the decision may stop the manipulation of the election process.“There will still be “dummies” running in every ward but hopefully fewer of them,” he said. “They can be identified by lack of a genuine campaign, checking the flow of preferences and where they end up.“The ‘real’ candidate is the ultimate beneficiary of the preference flow.”

Monash councillor Geoff Lake said changes to how-to-vote cards were ‘overwhelmingly opposed’ by councils.  “If the opposition consulted councils, like the government recently did on this very issue, they would be aware that the overwhelming majority of the local government sector opposed this change,” he said. “Voters who are used to receiving a how to vote card whenever they vote are now going to be on their own when voting at these elections — in some situations with more than 20 boxes to number.”

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/greens-independents-say-council-fight-set-to-be-fairer-after-howtovote-cards-scrapped/news-story/ba230ecff55d88bf39bbdb56b38031df


We welcome the absence of How-toVote cards in the election packs sent out to residents. This will not remove dummy candidates  but it will ensure that it makes it that much more difficult for votes to be steered and manipulated in a specific direction.

The Leader article however is not 100% correct. Those councils undertaking attendance voting will still be permitted to hand out How-to-Vote cards in their election packs. Glen Eira has opted for postal voting.

Below we feature part of the ‘application’ process that candidates have to fill out. Question 4 is basically useless in that it asks candidates if they are ‘endorsed’ by any political party. Given that only the Greens officially ‘endorse’ candidates it reveals nothing about the candidates political leanings, nor does it reveal if they happen to be a member of either the Libs or Labor. When the flyers start arriving in letter boxes we urge all residents to carefully scrutinise candidates’ preferences.






Is it a mere coincidence that now with Paul Burke gone, and rumours that Linda Smith has also departed, that the GESAC basketball issue has again come to the fore? It would seem that Bob Mann has been ousted – much to his chagrin since he is threatening legal action. Be this as it may, residents have never received full disclosure on the following:

  • Have the Warriors been completely fulfilling the terms of their ‘lease’?
  • Have they occupied all the court hours they promised?
  • Have they been paying the entire weekly rent as promised?
  • Have they been subletting?
  • Was the new lease signed with new conditions?
  • Are residents subsidising this group in any shape or form?

We repeat what we have continually stated – until a comprehensive ledger account is provided of GESAC operations, including full:

  • staff costs
  • maintenance costs
  • income from contracts/leases/memberships
  • insurance costs
  • heating costs
  • water costs
  • interest repayments
  • car park expansions
  • lawyers’ costs, etc.etc.

residents have every right to continue to question the operation of this facility and whether in fact GESAC is paying its own way as continually claimed. Until there is complete transparency, doubts must remain.

Only 200 voted on Melbourne Racing Club change

Date: May 2, 2016

Patrick Bartley

The board of the Melbourne Racing Club was again under pressure to explain how only 1.5 per cent of its membership voted in last Thursday’s controversial special meeting at Caulfield racecourse to give office bearers a further six-year term

And of the membership of 14,000-plus, only a little more than 200 voting members carried the motion to extend the terms in office and, of that figure, many were postal votes lodged by friends and family of board members.

While outraged members began to form groups to challenge the club, a spokesman for the MRC said there would not be another vote on the issue despite the small number of votes.

A spokesman for the MRC, Jake Norton, said he and his club doubted that the state’s ruling body, Racing Victoria, had jurisdiction over the club, despite being asked for a please explain after last Thursday’s meeting, which was described by members as a “farce”.

He said the club had been in constant communication with Racing Minister Martin Pakula. But Fairfax Media understand RVL has the power to register all clubs in Victoria each year.As well, a core of members is  in talks with a constitutional lawyer in a bid to find a way to have last Thursday’s decision overturned.

Other members on Monday lodged letters of complaint to not only the minister but Premier Daniel Andrews and all federal members within the Caulfield district.

“We will have this changed,” one member said. “It cannot possibly go on. We have 200 members voting on the most important issue the club has faced since the new century.

“And we know now that thousands and thousands of members were not contacted. That’s, of course, unless you were a friend or a family member of a board member. It’s outrageous and the ill feeling within the membership is growing by the day.”

It takes 150 signatures of Melbourne Racing Club members to spill the board, a figure that will easily be gathered by the end of the week, according to those members against the move

Racing Victoria officials confirmed they had received an explanation from the Melbourne Racing Club after last Thursday night. “We will be examining the report over the next few days but at the moment we won’t be commenting,” a spokesman said.

Other members have been outraged because they never knew of the meeting. A doctor from the Mornington Peninsula said: “We have been manipulated. We were told that we’ve got to get onto the website and look up an obscure page to find the most important piece of legislation the club’s ever voted on.

“They have flouted their position of trust and what an outrage – just over 200 votes and the matter swept away.

“If Martin Pakula and the government here can’t do anything, my friends and I will go federally. Many prime ministers have been members of this club and it’s now reduced to a boys’ club.”

Other questions have been raised over how the executive wages bill has jumped from $2 million to $4 million and why a race club needs 50 per cent ownership in a bakery in Collingwood.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/horseracing/only-200-voted-on-melbourne-racing-club-change-20160502-gokcsl.html#ixzz47YTWM5GO


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