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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6685

Ms O’DWYER (10:43 AM) —One of the critical issues in my electorate of Higgins is planning, whether it be in Windsor, Prahran, Armadale, South Yarra, Malvern, Malvern East, Glen Iris, Ashburton, Camberwell, Carnegie, Murrumbeena or Hughesdale. It is an issue that concerns all residents.

The Victorian government has this week introduced new planning amendments through the state parliament that will permanently redefine the built environment and demographics of our local area. These changes will affect all suburban areas of Melbourne, with effects being particularly acute in my electorate.

The Brumby government’s aim is to create a smaller, denser city with a higher population concentration in urban areas. This is the government’s multistorey solution to Melbourne’s growth. They want to change the character of inner-city Melbourne. The government’s changes to the Victorian planning provisions reflect this new strategic direction and come after earlier changes to the planning laws that have the effect of bypassing local council and residents and automatically green lighting planning projects according to set criteria. There is also an exponential increase in the minister calling in planning projects and green-lighting them. Transport corridors, including train and tram lines and bus routes, have been earmarked for new multistorey development nearby, yet these key parts of our transport and social infrastructure have been neglected for 11 years.

It used to be the case that residents could have their voices heard on any new plans for development in their area. Now it seems that the state government has decided that creating a sensible and sustainable growth strategy is too difficult and that it is easier to ignore the concerns of suburban residents to try to squeeze more and more apartment blocks into areas that are already struggling.

Under the Brumby government, local residents have been told that their views do not matter. I have joined with local residents to fight against their voice being silenced. I have joined with local residents to campaign for the restoration of local councils making decisions with residents about local planning issues. Together with my state colleagues Andrea Coote, member for the Southern Metropolitan Region; Georgie Crozier, candidate for the Southern Metropolitan Region; Michael O’Brien, member for Malvern; and Clem Newton-Brown, candidate for Prahran, I will stand up for residents and their rights. I urge those who care about their local area to stop inappropriate development and restore residents’ rights.