Archive: MRRA Calls On Victorian Councils To Help
Last Updated 12/5/05 - SP
MRRA asks Victorian Councils:
Please add your voice to ours in calling for the State government to move immediately to stop suburban encroachment, and to protect Macedon Ranges as an area of significance to the state of Victoria.
The Association today sent a letter to all Councils in Victoria asking for them to add their voices to those of Macedon Ranges’ Council and community in calling for the State government to act to protect Macedon Ranges. The letter also alerted Councils to the poor standard of advice provided to the Minister for Planning, Rob Hulls, at his meeting last week with MRRA.
Here's MRRA's letter:
Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association Inc.
Regn. No. A0034439T
6 Currawong Road,
P.O. Box 359,
12th May, 2005
To The Mayor/Shire President, Councillors and Chief Executive Officer:
Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association (MRRA) met with the Minister for Planning (Rob Hulls) in Kyneton on Friday 29th April asking for State level planning protection to be re-instated in Macedon Ranges Shire. The Association also met with former Minister for Planning Delahunty in April 2004 seeking the same outcome, and received a commitment that the government would act to protect Macedon Ranges at State level. Deeds however have not matched words.
As you may be aware, in 1975 the Hamer government introduced Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (SPP8) to the Macedon Ranges and Surrounds area as State policy. SPP8 has been downgraded to local policy in Macedon Ranges’ current planning scheme. Macedon Ranges is not a green wedge area, nor does it have any relief from generic VPP provisions as has been provided for other environmentally sensitive areas through VPP Clauses 53 and 57. Macedon Ranges is in fact currently operating under the same zones, same standards (ResCode) and same State policies as designated growth areas in metropolitan Melbourne, and is using a planning scheme which has never been completed. Strategic work for the amalgamated Shire as a whole has still to be done.
MRRA and many residents believe the government has a growth agenda for Macedon Ranges which, unless reversed, will see this sensitive area become the next suburb of Melbourne. Macedon Ranges’ growth rate to June 2004 was 2.8%, up from 1.8% the year before. 800+ lots were approved between April and October 2004 (VCAT overturned every Council refusal). DSE’s Victoria In Future growth projections predict Macedon Ranges will be one of the fastest growing exurban areas in the State.
MRRA has been conducting a Say NO To Suburbia campaign which has captured broad community support. On April 29th, the Association asked the Minister to re-endorse SPP8 as State policy, and to provide State government leadership and support to help undertake strategic and other work needed to recognize and protect Macedon Ranges’ significance at State level.
Minister Hulls however told MRRA that the State government will not act to help Macedon Ranges.
The Minister also met with Macedon Ranges Council the same day and delivered the same message. A notable feature of both meetings was the behaviour of the Departmental representatives accompanying the Minister, which in MRRA’s case at least, left us feeling ‘hectored and lectured’ by the Department.
Our purpose in contacting you is two-fold:
Firstly, to alert you to the poor standard of Departmental advice upon which the Minister based his decision to not help Macedon Ranges. Advice, for example, that there is no State section in planning schemes, that Macedon Ranges already has protection, and that local policy is law.
Attached is a copy of the text of the press release issued by the Minister following our meeting, and MRRA’s press release in response.
Secondly, we know that most fringe, regional and rural areas are struggling with the VPP planning system, ResCode, the intrusion of urban elements of Melbourne 2030, and lack of funding for planning projects. Although metropolitan Councils may also not be happy, country Victoria is certainly not getting a good deal, and sensitive, fragile Macedon Ranges is perhaps getting the worst deal of all.
Macedon Ranges’ Council on July 28 2004 resolved “that Council request the State government to act with urgency to provide the level of State Protection that was previously applied to the Macedon Ranges and in keeping with the protection provided to the Yarra Ranges and Mornington Peninsula, and that interim protection be applied immediately to protect the Macedon Ranges prior to the completion of that State Protection”.
Around 500 residents at public meetings run by MRRA late last year by resolution called on the State government to “provide all necessary support to the Macedon Ranges Shire Council and community to ensure long-term State level planning protection for the Macedon Ranges” and to “provide immediate interim planning protection for the whole Shire to control development pending completion of the necessary strategic work and planning scheme improvements”.
With the government now saying it won’t act, the situation in Macedon Ranges is becoming desperate, and so MRRA looks to Victoria for help and support. We turn to you to ask if you too could add your voices to those of the Macedon Ranges’ Council and community in calling for the State government to move immediately to stop suburban encroachment, and to protect Macedon Ranges as an area of significance to the state of Victoria.
Further background and information is available from MRRA’s website at http://www.mrra.asn.au or you may prefer to contact Mr. Ian Morris, Chief Executive, Macedon Ranges Shire on 5422 0301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Macedon Ranges: an ENDANGERED environment