Archive: MRRA Meeting With Minister for Planning Hulls

Last Updated 7/5/05



MRRA Meeting with Minister for Planning Rob Hulls

(3/5/05 - SP) No Money, No Help: “Macedon Ranges, You’re On Your Own”

In Kyneton last Friday (April 29th) MRRA reps met with the Minister for Planning, Rob Hulls, looking for State government help to restore State level planning protection in Macedon Ranges Shire.


The Association greatly appreciates the time and effort the Minister put into attending the meeting, but is very unhappy with the outcome.  In particular, MRRA is angry that once again, poor quality advice from the Department of Sustainability and Environment held sway and has resulted in a situation which s disaster for the future of Macedon Ranges.   The Minister, on the department’s advice, has said there isn’t a problem in Macedon Ranges, and there will be no more money or help except for him expediting approval of work done by Council.   Click below to see the text of both the Minister’s and MRRA’s press releases about the meeting.


Minister’s Press Release Text


MRRA Press Release Text


MRRA Says:


The MRRA Committee met last night and decided unanimously to respond as we have.


The Association has tried since 1996, through letters and meetings, to convince the Kennett and the Bracks governments to make protecting Macedon Ranges a priority.  The Bracks government’s promise in 1998 that it would provide that protection if elected gave us great hope.  The broad Macedon Ranges’ community welcomed Minister Mary Delahunty’s commitment last year to finally act to protect the Ranges.  But each time a promise or commitment is made, it seems to be de-railed by the department.   It happened again at the meeting with the Minister last Friday, where MRRA was told Macedon Ranges already has protection.


Those of us who live here - who live with the heartbreak of seeing this place picked over by speculators, of poor standard, metropolitan-style development destroying our heritage and rural character, of our water catchments becoming rural residential enclaves, of our landscapes under threat from wind turbines - know that statement is not true.  We are the people who stand powerless, frustrated, angry, disillusioned, tired of constantly fighting.   We grieve because something we value intensely, something precious to most Victorians, is being allowed to be damaged and destroyed, lost piece by piece to future generations.


Why is it happening?  Because no-one will stand up and take responsibility for planning in Macedon Ranges.


No-one will stop the department’s agenda to turn Macedon Ranges into the next suburb of Melbourne, an agenda that seems to have been around since about 1996.   Our former Councils must accept responsibility as well.  They didn’t do the work, but no-one made them.  They didn’t defend State protection, but neither did any State government.  Our current Council and Chief Executive, quite differently, have asked for help and have committed to do the work, but standing alone, progress is slow and completion lies years away.   We asked the government to give us the State’s best and brightest, to support and drive a project to produce a Macedon Ranges’ Strategy, to change the planning system and law to accommodate Macedon Ranges’ sensitivities and fragility, to help us finally complete our planning scheme, and to give us some protections while all of that is done.  It seems the answer is NO.   But we believe that answer is really coming from some elements in the department, an unelected body not answerable to the people.


Victoria has a strategically based planning system.  Yet no-one has ever produced any strategic justification for not continuing to protect Macedon Ranges, because that justification doesn’t exist.  Rather, Macedon Ranges is simply being left to die from neglect, and current plans for accelerated growth will finally finish it off.


We are not asking for something new.  We are only asking the government to give us back what we had.  Macedon Ranges as an environmental and recreation resource makes a far higher contribution to Melbourne’s liveability than it ever would as Melbourne’s next suburb.  The current impasse is a distinctly lose/lose situation.  How easily that could be turned to win/win.


All Victorians should care about preserving Macedon Ranges because, in one sense, its unique beauty and natural assets belong to and nurture all of us.  It is an area which provides an indelible link with our past and is an irreplaceable inspiration for our future.  It will only survive if action is taken now.



Minister for Planning To Meet With MRRA

(27/4/05 – SP)  Meeting now scheduled in Kyneton on Friday 29th April.

Minister for Planning Rob Hulls today called MRRA to advise that due to changes to his schedule he was now available to meet with MRRA reps in Kyneton this Friday.  A meeting had previously been arranged between MRRA and the Minister’s advisors in Melbourne for the same day.  MRRA welcomes this change and is pleased with and appreciative of the Minister’s news.  MRRA is looking for State government action on State level planning protection for Macedon Ranges, and the meeting with the Minister will provide an opportunity to place key issues before the man who makes the decisions.



Have We Waited Long Enough For Mr. Hulls?  What You Said…

(26/4/05 – SP)  Here is some of the feedback residents gave MRRA in response to our question: ‘Have we waited long enough for Mr. Hulls?’


MRRA To Meet With Minister for Planning’s Advisors

(18/4/05 – SP)  Following phone contact today from the Minister for Planning’s office, Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association representatives will meet with the Minister’s advisors next week.

At the meeting, MRRA will be putting the same issues it took to former Minister Delahunty back on the table because, firstly, the key issues remain unchanged, and secondly, not much has been done to address them in the past year.  MRRA hopes some very positive outcomes will flow from the meeting.



‘Say NO To Suburbia’ Campaign:  Stalled, or Just Starting?  MRRA ASKS COMMUNITY “Have we waited long enough for Minister Hulls?”

(5/4/05 - SP)  Minister Hulls has failed to even acknowledge two MRRA letters requesting a meeting.  Tell us if you think we’ve waited long enough for Mr. Hulls to respond.  Click to send us an email.   See also Sounds of Silence (below) for more background information.

MRRA met last night and discussed the complete lack of response we have had to our two letters to the new Minister for Planning, Rob Hulls.   We sent the first letter on 31st January and the second on 11th March.   We have yet to receive even an acknowledgement that the letters have been received.  To date, both letters have been acknowledged by the Premier’s office, MLA Geoff Howard wrote on 2nd March saying he and MLA Joanne Duncan were going to follow up with the Minister (nothing since), Shadow Planning Minister Ted Baillieu acknowledged the first letter, and MLC Dianne Hadden has written to the Minister supporting MRRA’s request to meet with the Minister.   While we wait, more damaging development is occurring, the latest being an application for a Telstra tower on Mt. Gisborne, which we have heard is supported by the State government.  Add to this the use of the ‘fast growth’ Victoria In Future growth projections (and then some) for the Gisborne Outline development plan, the rash of ad hoc amendments arriving at Council (e.g. the ‘Braemar’ rezone of a maximum conservation area), the way natural gas is ‘ploughing’ ahead (will the State significant Woodend Avenue of Honour survive?), the recent poor performances of our Councillors, and things aren’t looking too good.

Tell us what you think.  Click to send us an email.


Update:   ‘Say NO To Suburbia’ Campaign:  The Sounds of Silence From The State Government

(21/3/05 - SP)  While you ‘Say No To Suburbia’ and we call for the State government to ‘Keep It Rural’, is anyone listening?   New Minister for Planning Rob Hulls has not yet responded to MRRA’s 31st January request for a meeting.


Here’s an update on what’s been happening since MRRA’s ‘Say NO To Suburbia’ meetings attended by about 500 residents (Woodend, 16 September 2004 & Gisborne 28 October 2004).  Resolutions from those meetings called for the State government to act immediately to protect Macedon Ranges.   The State government has said ‘no’.


In a letter dated February 2nd written by Mr. Kevin Love (DSE) on behalf of the Minister for Planning, Mr. Love advised one of the reasons the government would not act was because protecting Macedon Ranges was not a matter of either State or regional significance.


With the announcement of Rob Hulls’ appointment as new Minister for Planning, MRRA wrote to Mr. Hulls on January 31st asking to meet and discuss re-instatement of State level planning protection in Macedon Ranges.  One of the main points of the letter was the Association’s view that the Department of Sustainability and Environment has control of the government and is implementing its own agenda in Macedon Ranges.  MRRA’s letter included a chart comparing how much protection Yarra Ranges has, how little Macedon Ranges.   It’s a case of equal significance, unequal protection.   The letter was circulated to all relevant politicians, and Macedon Ranges Council.   Premier Steve Bracks and Shadow Minister for Planning, Ted Baillieu, acknowledged receipt.  The Minister has not yet responded.


A second letter was sent to Mr. Hulls on 11th March, again asking for a meeting to discuss State level planning protection in Macedon Ranges.  MRRA included a list of work needed to finish Macedon Ranges’ Planning Scheme.   The list is Panel recommendations and the former Planning Minister’s requirements, dating from 1999 and 2000 respectively.   MRRA has also asked the Minister to join us on a tour of the Shire to see firsthand what’s happening.   Copies of MRRA’s letter were again circulated to relevant politicians and Macedon Ranges Council.  The Minister has not yet responded.


Meanwhile, in a letter dated March 2nd  Ballarat East MLA, Geoff Howard,  advised he and Macedon MLA, Joanne Duncan, have discussed re-instatement of State level planning protection with Department of Sustainability and Environment officers, and will be following up with Minister, Rob Hulls.  MRRA has responded expressing appreciation, urging both politicians to pursue Minister Hulls with vigour.


MRRA says:


The Association welcomes the appointment of Rob Hulls as Planning Minister, and has held off calling for community action to allow the Minister a reasonable time to familiarize himself with his new portfolio before responding to our plight in Macedon Ranges.  The question is, how long is reasonable?    While we wait for the Minister to turn his mind to Macedon Ranges, more and more of this place is lost to urbanization.   We simply can’t afford to wait much longer.