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(generated from captions) CC Tonight on Stateline CC Tonight on Stateline - after legal battles, a drown

out tender process and

thousands of objections, it's

a St Kilda landmark. It's being decision time for the future of

greedy. There

commercial activity on the side

that is Crown land. Is the

Yarra River paying too high a price for Melbourne's thirst? I

think that the decision-making

has got a little screwed has got a little screwed up, I've got to say. Hello I've got to say. Hello and

welcome to Stateline. I'm Kathy

Bowlen. On Monday, the future

of the St Kilda try angle site

will be decided. The council committee considering the developer's plan will decide

whether to approve it or, as is more likely, make minor modifications but proceed

nonetheless. It's the

culmination of a 6-year process

and whatever the outcome, it's

bound to be controversial.

While everyone seems to agree

on the need to improve the site, there is passionate

do it. disagreement over how best to

I think 65% of the site area

is handed back as public open

space. Their plans show a pie

dhart of 15% public

space. Something like f 0% of

the site is open space. From

the upper esplanade is 75% open

space. The argument about open

space captures the essence of

the dispute over the St Kilda

development. In many ways, it

depends on how you look at it.

When the project is complete,

the roof of the development

will be level with the upper

esplanade. Much of it, 60%,

will be grassland, promminade,

a plaza and public square.

There will be three standalone

buildings. The development goes

underground with shops, bars, a

supermarket and car park. When

these are added to the

calculation, the open space is

15%. There are 180 tenancies,

120 of them retail. Objectors say that is far too many. It's

being too greedy. There is too

much commercial activity on much commercial activity on a

site that is public land that is

is set aside for public purposes. I cannot understand

how 180 tenancies where the

cafe s and shops can qualify as

public purpose. You can walk up

to the esplanade. Ian McDougall

says his brief was to capture

his sense of what the council

called St Kildaness and reflect

it in the design. He thinks he's done that. The development

is about making open spaces

that terrace down from the

upper esplanade. That's the key

part of it and the way that we've tried to maintain

we've tried to maintain new

green space and then new plazas

and lanes and streets. Stephen

McMillan is a director of Citta

Group, who won the tender to

develop the area. He says the

requirements from explicit and

are reflected in the plan. A

central component would be live performance venues, different

types of nightclubs and dance venues. Fine dining, family dining. And a hotel. Janet Bolitho has dining. And a boutique

hotel. Janet Bolitho has been

mayor for two years and says

the design has all the elements

the council wanted and the the council wanted and locals shouldn't be locals shouldn't be worried

about the shops. There will be

retail, but it will not be the

focus of the development. The

focus of the development will

be on visitation for

entertainment and recreation.

But there is a highly organised campaign trying to

stop the plan in its tracks.

Unchain St Kilda is using local

celebrities on its website to

drive home its case. It is

garnering support for council has received over 5,000

objections. Down via the

letter, send an objection in.

You have to do it very, very soon. Chadstone on this side is

crazy. One of the driving

forces behind Unchain St Kilda

is Brendan Keilar. She lives

opposite the area and bought

her apartment 17 years ago. There is three main

objections to the plan. It is a

loss of quintessential views

from the eplanade, the massive

retail, which will dominate the

site and the creation of a

nightclub precinct that will

empty out thousands of

revellers into our streets. Another local, Ron

Barassi, hopped on his bike to

come and make his point. While

he admits he hasn't seen the

design, he says St Kilda

doesn't want 9 shops. We just

don't need it. This is Crown

land, using Crown land for shops. It's pathetic. The issue

of Crown land is the foundation

from which all of the

controversy springs. The State

Government has refused to fund

the development of the the repairs to the pallai, or

foreshore. So the private

company which won the tender

must fund the lot. Locals are

angry that the $20 million

refurbishment of the palla has

become a $300 million development. It's too

commercial for the sie. I think

it needs to go back to the

drawing board and another

solution to be

resolved. Stephen McMillan from

Citta Group is the man who

pulled together the project

team and, crucially, the money

to fund it. He denies the

development is excessive and

while he won't reveal how much

profit the company will make,

says strong competition kept it

within reasonable limits. While

it is true we are making

substantial investment, we

expect to get an appropriate

return on that. The retail

component, which is a

proportion of the site is being

used for retail. That is one of

the ways in which we recoup our investment. Objectors are still

hopeful of a last-minute change

before the council signs off on

the plan. Sheer volume of

objections have led council to

discuss changes with Citta and

it seems likely some of the

standalone build in connection

the plan will be modified. What

we've been looking at is

massaging their shape, just to

see whether re-orientation can

minimise the impact on the

skyline or also look at overall

bulk issues. Everyone loves

skilleda, but everyone has a

slightly different take on what

that means. We want to ensure

that St Kilda stays a vibrant

active place where people come

to have fun.

And the St Kilda triangle

development is due to start in

April and be completed by 2010.

Now to one of the most

maligned and iconic features of

Melbourne - the Yarra River.

After 11 years of low rainfall

and with forecasts of more of

the same to come, the river

level is dropping to a crucial

point. In a move seen by some

as a employ to delay the

possible tightening of

restrictions, the Government is taking more water out of the

river than ever before, putting

the Yarra under increasing

stress. Cheryl Hall reports.

Tes been swum in, rode on and

fished as well as polluted and

den ig rated. Most of all, the

Yarra has been drunk by the

people of Melbourne. It

supplies most of Melbourne's

drinking water and is, right

now, being put under more

pressure than ever before. The

river is in a risky state right

now. We're talk being a river

suffering an extended drought,

not just the last year, but 50

years of drought because the

way Melbourne has taken so much

water out. For 50 years, half

of the Yarra's water has been

diverted into storages. This

year the State Government is

reducing the flows even

more. As the Yarra winds past a

reservoir in the Yarra Valley,

the flow will be reduce Friday

245 megalitres to 200

megalitres. The extra 45

megalitres will be diverted

into the reservoir to top up

Melbourne's water storages. I

am the minister responsible for

the environment and am mindful

of the need to make sure we

balance our objectations to

provide our citizens with water

supply and security and the

confidence that they will have

something to drink with the needs of the environment and making sure making sure we don't making sure we don't do damage

to the environment. It's a

difficult balance. It means

another 10 megalitres or 10

billion litres of water is being taken out of the

Yarra. All that water will

supply just ten days of water for Melbourne in an emergency.

We are accounting for the

worst-case scenario. We're

saying if we don't get any rain

falling in the next two or

three years, how do we account

for Melburnians, how do we

account for Victorians getting

by with the amount of water we

V The river isn't a static

level. Even now, what is

important to the ecology is

that it goes up and down. Ian

Penrose knows a lot about the

Yarra River. As the river

keeper, he cruises it twice a

week and monitors its health.

He believes taking another 10

billion litres of water out of

the Yarra will have serious

affects. At the moment the

level is about half a metre.

The current proposal is to go

down two or three centimetres

on that. That may not seem

much, but that's 20% less flow.

What the river is missing is

flows above the base. They are

being captured by the

reservoirs. Many of

Australia's native fish require

triggers of flow. Last year the

State Government pledged to put

17 gigalitres of water back in

the Yarra. Not only has that

been stopped, the extra 10

megalitres has now been taken out. Government committed to

delivering environment flows

for the river. It was a

history-making policy reform

that we all had reason to feel

really proud of as Victorians,

making us leaders. It is just so disappointing to see the

Government's retreat on these commitments. commitments. Melbourne's

reservoirs are currently 40%

full. That's a little less than

this time last year when they

were 41.7% full. After 11 years

of drought, the Government is

preparing for the prospect that

they may never get much

fuller. Some believe we just

have to use less water. I think

that the decision-making has

got a little screwed up, I have

to say. In fact, it's once

again raiding the environmental

flows presumably because the

environmental lobby or those

that are talking on behalf of

the environment are not as

politically powerful as the

residents of Melbourne.

Professor Barry Hart advises

the Government on water policy.

He chairs a number of

Government water organisations, including the Yarra

Coordinating Committee. The

minister has made a statement

saying that each of the major

users, and in this particular

case, it's urban versus the environment, each has to

shoulder the burden. I would

argue that the environment is,

once again, shouldering too

much of the burden. If we go

on with these draconian

restrictions on the

environment, we've got some

real potentials that we won't

have enough flushing flows,

that we will have a build-up of

organic matter and nutrients. I

would predict there will be problems. It's not the Government's fault it hasn't

rained. For 11 years we've had

low rainfall. With the

extension of the drought, we've

had to make tough decisions

about the way m which we can provide certainty for

Victorians going forward. Melbourne's future

water supply will depend on

four major developments,

including a pipeline from the

Goulburn Murray system and the

$3 billion desalination plant

in Gippsland. But it will be

five years before they are all

completed. Until then, those responsible for Melbourne's

catchment believe the Yarra can

tolerate further strain. If the

water levels fall lower, or if

we reach trigger points that

are indicated by our water

quality monitoring, we have the

ability to immediately require

releases of water from storage.

Melbourne is on stage 3 A water restrictions and the

State Government says it won't

move to stage 4 unless water

storage levels fall to 29% in the new year. Professor Barry

Hart beliefs it's all about

politics and the State

Government simply doesn't want

to make a politically unpopular

decision to complement stage

four in Melbourne. Almost all

of the country towns in Victoria has been on stage

four. I live mostly in echukand

we're on stage four and we're

on the Murray, which has more

water than the Yarra. Cheryl

Hall reporting there. And the

Yarra is just one area where

the impact of the drought can

be seen. Of course many parts of

of the state are

drought-affected and in the

west a community program has

asked kids in country areas to literally draw on their

experience with the drought.

The aim is to remind others

they are not alone and to

spread some goodwill this Christmas. Tamara Oudyn

reports.

The Balmoral Post Office

might look relaxed, but it is

well and truly in the grip of

the pre-Christmas rush.

Morning. At this time of

year, mail deliveries out of

rural towns swell with

Christmas cards and presents.

This December, farmers across

the north and west of Victoria

will also receive good tidings

and messages of support from

children they don't even know,

but who are sensitive to the

hardships of drought. Maybe a

bit of pain and agony. Not that

happy. Stressful at times.

Busy all the time. The drought

makes us sad and fish die

because the dams are going

lower and lower and lower. The

southern Grampians and Glenelg

primary care partnership in

Hamilton has come up with a

unique way of getting the

health message out to farmers.

It proidz blank postcards to

school children in

drought-affected areas and asks

them to write and draw personal

messages to others who need

support. The program started 12

months ago and by early next

year, postcards will have been

delivered to 25,000 farming

families across Victoria. The

idea came about certainly

focussing on the farmers first.

How can we get information to

them that they will read. And

we also had in the back of our

minds that this would be good

for the kids. But the feedback

essentially - we've done a lot

of feedback work with teachers

and school principals and it's

been extraordinary. Stressors

in farming families are known

to flow through to children and

reflect in their behaviour in

the playground and the

classroom. Inevitably the drawing sessions prompt

interesting classroom discussions about how

communities deal with drought

and the postcards provide

another way to get creative

with issues that are very close

to home. I'm thinking about

some clouds with kind of rain

dripping out of them, but it's

not pouring like normal. Just

little flames. That's about a

farmer and their son playing

ball and the next one is a

sheep eating grass by the

dam. That's the grass there.

There is the rain. Some

lightning and showers. Earlier

this year, Gerard Watt and his

family received a postcard at

their 800 acre sheep farm near

bal more A it arrived at a

particularly difficult time,

just before the

much-anticipated autumn break.

Their feed and water supplies were dwindling and they had

made the stressful decision to

pour their savings into buying

huge amounts of feed to keep their stock alive. Gerard tX r stock alive. Ge ard their stock alive. Gerard Watt

says the postcard from a

schoolgirl in Portland did a

lot to lift his spirits. It had

quite a profound affect,

actually. I thought for someone

else to be thinking of me, not

that this young lady was the

only one, but I thought - it

was sweet of her and every

little bit helps, as they say.

Beyond the thousands of

farmers who have already

received drought postcards and

the information included in

them about support services,

there has been some unexpected

bonuses. The mental health

message is also going home with the children who participate.

And some have heard back from

the recipients of their drawings. Td feedback from the

teachers have said they love

this and want to do it again.

They feel that it has created a

lot of community strength and

just that act of doing something positive. For many

kids, what do they do? It is a

huge issue, well beyond their

control. Drought and any impact

from climate. This is something

positive they can do in their

lives. I want them to think

about the drought will be over

soon and then you can have green grass and full

dams. Well, done,

Patrick. Forget about the

drought and have a nice

Christmas.

Lovely story. Tamara Oudyn

there. This is our last program

for the year and it's been a

busy one. Editor Ken Greenhill

prepared this look back at the

stories that made news in

Victoria.

EERIE GUITAR MUSIC PLAYS

I would like to reassure the

Melbourne public that Mel ourne pu lic that Melbourne public that our

system, our train system,

continues to be safe. We are,

of course, requesting urgent

remedy to this situation. What

commuters want, what all

Victorians want is the trains

fixed and back on the

line. Carl Williams pleaded

guilty to ordering Jason and

Lewis Moran's murders. He's a

person that thought he was

above us and was too smart for

us. I'm afraid he's not. If

Carl Williams was the Premier,

Tony Mokbel was the PM. He fled overseas last year while fled overseas last year wh le fled overseas last year while

on trail for cocaine

trafficking. People usually

turn up in due course. Yeah.

I have not got the Premier's

conscience in my conscience.

Every individual has their own

conscience and they have to be

comfortable with that. Socceroo

this is a great and important

breakthrough, one that could

lead to cures for intractable

diseases around the world. On

behalf of Gunditjmara country,

elders and families, I welcome

the Federal Court of Australia

to Gunditjmara country today.

Broughton Hall cares for

frail and elderly residents.

The deaths were not unexpected

and staff were managing the

residents and families were

kept advised. Staff did not

immediately connect the deaths

with the gastrooutbreaks as they were both frail and

elderly residents. Every

attempt will be made to find

the mother. Every attempt will

be made to give enough time for

her to come forward and for her

to then decide what she wants

to do. The Lord Mayor is

usually smiling but the strain

was showing as the torch was

applied to his credentials. A

heavy articulated vehicle

failed to give way to a train

on a level crossing. She heard the wind first before the

bang. The wreckage over there

you can see looks like a bomb scene. Everyone in the

community will know someone

that has been impacted by this.

It is all a conspiracy of the

Australian police. My client

denies any involvement in the

case. Desalination is a

technology that is being used

around the world and we can deliver d l ver it in

deliver it in a relatively short

short time, around 4.5 years.

Brendan Keilar was going about

his business on Monday morning

when the shooting happened. He

saw someone who needed help and

did the instinctive thing that many people around Australia

would do and that is to offer

his help, offer his support, to

intervene to protect someone

else who appeared vulnerable at

the time. It felt like seconds,

but it was probably minutes. We

try grab what we could that was

valuable to get it up high.

Then the water was up to our

waist. We are only but a small

part of the ford world and it

is looking less and less

significant. I would like to

be remembered as the person who

put the heart back into Victoria. The person who was

able to manage a able to mana e a strong able to manage a strong

economy, but also to do it with

compassion and decency. Thank

you for giving me the privilege

and opportunity to serve this

great state. I mean, there is great st te. I mean, there is great state. I mean, there is great state. I mean there is

no better state in Australia.

It is time for someone else to

take that on.

We'd like to think we can

bring people to justice more

quickly than ten years, but

sometimes that's not the case.

This is the biggest crisis

that's ever faced the

Australian racing and horse

industry and we must leave no stone unturned at containing

the outbreak. This is a

project that can be undertaken

without doing long-term damage

to Port Phillip Bay and

motherover it's a project which

in an economic sense is

important to do. At lunchtime

today I accepted the

resignation of assistant

commissioner Neol Ashby

forthwith and I also issued an

order this afternoon to Stephen Linnell, the director of corporate communications and

media to be suspended with pay

until further notice. I want

to say to the community how

disappointed I am by this whole

episode. We believe it's been

leaking since Cup day. Maybe

they mined too close to the

river. There was cracks

appearing in the ground and

there seemed to be earth

movement. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

And that brings us to the end

of Stateline for this week and,

indeed, the year. A big thank

you to all the people who have

worked on the program in 2007 and to you for suggesting

stories and tuning in each

week. And, as we head off for a

summer break, we leave you with

a look at Victorians on

vacation, a new exhibition

running at the State Library.

Have a happy Christmas and stay

safe over the holiday season.

We'll see you again next year.

Goodnight.

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