Posted 21/6/09

 

A Shock, Horror, "How can you do this to us" Statement by the Property Council of Australia: 

 

Now you know who and what is driving the Victorian government's moves to remove your rights.

 

 

"Opposition to planning reform will halt development"

Jennifer Cunich, Property Council of Australia

 

The government is under attack from community groups, councillors and NIMBY’s rallying in Melbourne against proposed planning reform.

 

Around 300 local activists staged an anti-development rally against on the steps of Parliament House on Wednesday 10th June.

 

Campaigning on a range of planning issues, from the introduction of Development Assessment Committees through to green wedge politics, local community groups are trying to polarise the community.

 

The Property Council has been a vocal supporter of the government when it comes to making tough decisions that speed up our planning system.

 

While DACs do not go far enough, they are a step in the right direction and will go a long way to easing the planning bottlenecks our Victorians face daily.

 

The debate has been skewed toward a vocal minority, arguing all proposed planning reforms will take away residents democratic rights.

 

We do not understand why the DACs are being met with heavy opposition. DACs are independent panels, with representation from both levels of government, state and local, making decisions in line with local policy, how much more democratic can that be?

 

More and more councils are influenced by groups, such as Planning Backlash, that advocate the BANANA approach – building absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone.

 

Developers and the community seek certainty in the planning process. Councillors should work with their local communities to develop sound policy, ensuring everyone knows what the rules are from day one.

 

The rally also attacked the governments plan to expand the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

 

The Property Council has consistently argued the UGB needs to be flexible to ensure Victoria continues to deliver an affordable housing product and maintains its competitive advantage.

 

The Property Council has however expressed concern about the new Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) and its implementation. The GAIC appears to be intrinsically linked to the expansion of the UGB. The Property Council gave in principle support for the levy in 2005 and whilst the amount is not in question, the implementation is.

 

The development community and the community at large are sick of waiting for major infrastructure projects to be delivered.

 

As stated, we have growing concerns around the implementation of the new Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution and are eager to make sure that the infrastructure delivery meets the needs of local communities but does not cripple the residential development sector.

 

The Property Council is urging the government and the Growth Areas Authority to work closely with the the Property Council in determining how the funds from this charge will be delivered directly to those communities in the Growth Areas.

 

Growth is not a dirty word. Growth means more employment opportunities, more revenue to provide much needed community infrastructure, and more choices for Victorians. However, growth must be managed in a sustainable manner and be shared by all Victorians. It is time the community supported the government in its attempts to keep Victoria moving and encouraged."