Posted 30/5/09

 

 

how DACs will impact on your council

 

Advice from Matthew Guy, Shadow Minister for Planning:

 

As you may be aware the Brumby Government has recently introduced legislation to establish Development Assessment Committees (DACs) which will initially apply to five activities areas (Preston, Coburg, Doncaster, Camberwell and Geelong) before being expanded across the Melbourne metropolitan area. There is no indication that they will not be introduced across rural and regional Victoria over time.

 

Each DAC will consist of 5 members - 3 appointed by the Minister and 2 being nominees of the relevant council, approved by the Minister.

 

I write to you to make you aware of the following points regarding these proposed Development Assessment Committees.

 

The Brumby Government's proposed DACs

  1. The Brumby Government initially claimed there would be an 'Independent' chair of each DAC - this is now not the case. Each Chair will be appointed by the Minister with no requirement for prior consultation;
  2. The three Ministerial appointees to a DAC will have no requirement for any knowledge of the geographic area in which they will be making a planning decision;
  3. The local government whose powers of Responsible Authority are being usurped by the DAC will carry the cost of the DAC, possibly at a greater cost to council than is currently the case. It should be noted that there are no ongoing funds for DACs in the state budget;
  4. A quorum of each DAC is three unspecified members. Thus a quorum may consist of the three Ministerial appointees with no local government member;
  5. The Bill before the parliament has provisions that target public criticism of DAC decisions. If a Councillor on a DAC publicly disagrees with a decision made by it, they may be subject to fines of over $10,000.
  6. DACs will not speed up the planning process. The DACs preparatory work is still conducted by Council staff having gone through the same processes as an elected Council;
  7. A ward councillor who is on a DAC may be considered conflicted simply by living in the ward where the decision is being made (under the residential amenity guideline) and thus her/his voting powers may be removed;
  8. Despite having planning powers removed, then being hit with the DAC bill, a local council cannot appeal a DAC decision as it is considered by law the decision of that council.  

The Liberal Nationals Coalition's position on DACs

 

The Liberal Nationals Coalition will be voting against the establishment of Development Assessment Committees. We believe they are undemocratic and that the basis on which they have been proposed is fundamentally false. DACs will not speed up planning approvals in activities areas, they will not cut red tape and nor are they representative of the community view.

 

It is a unique approach by the Brumby Government to claim that to speed up the planning process, a new layer of bureaucracy is needed. This is now a common feature of this government's mentality.

 

Further the Brumby Government's total paranoia over public criticism is now at obscene levels. Potentially fining councillors who speak up over DAC decisions is outrageous and indicative of an arrogant government that has lost its way.

 

The legislation to establish DACs is currently before the State Upper House. It is scheduled for debate in the first week of June.

 

If you would like further information from me on this Bill, please do not hesitate to email me or to call my office on 9457 5328.

 

Matthew Guy

 

Matthew Guy MP | Shadow Minister for Planning | Member for Northern Metropolitan | ' 03 9457 5328 | 7 03 9455 2968 | 0400 001 282 | * matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au