'Say NO To Suburbia'

(Updated  10/3/16)

 

The Battle For State Level Planning Protection In Macedon Ranges Shire

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(1/12/14) LABOR WINS LOWER HOUSE, PLEDGING LEGISLATIVE PROTECTION FOR MACEDON RANGES.

"Inappropriate development risks destroying the area.  Labor will legislate to protect this iconic and historic region.”

"We will use SPP No. 8 as the basis for legislative protection."

"Labor's plan for the Macedon Ranges will provide the highest level of protection possible against inappropriate development."

"Under Labor, the beauty, heritage and unique characteristics of the Macedon Ranges will be protected for good."

We will be holding you to delivering that.

 

 

UPDATE  MACEDON RANGES PROTECTION 'ISSUES PAPER' Submission Link

(10/3/16 - SP)  Seems submissions on the Issues Paper for protection can only be made on-line so here's the link.  Also seems there may be a few errors in the Issues Paper - if you find any please make a note of them in your submission. 

Submissions:  http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/planning/panels-and-committees/current-panels-and-committees/macedon-ranges-protection-advisory-committee/Submission-form

 

 

 

 

NEW  BIG Action Required  Macedon Ranges Needs You!  Here It Is - The Issues Paper For Protecting Macedon Ranges - Submissions Close 15 April

(9/3/16 - SP)   This is the "big" one, and your chance to say "put Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 across the whole shire."  And you'll need to say it, because Council is pressuring for its ghastly Localised Planning Statement (aka investment prospectus) and - hello? - it's in this Issues Paper as competition against SPP8.  Which leaves us to ask, "what happened to legislation based on SPP8"?

The Issues Paper is quite long, inviting you to answer specific questions, and you can also make other comments as well.   Absolutely critical that you do make a submission, though.

 

You will learn a lot from reading it before you begin to make comments, so please do take the time to get your head around it before picking up your pen!  Any questions?  Contact Elissa Bell from Planning Panels Victoria on (03) 9223 5317 or planning.panels@delwp.vic.gov.au.  Click on the link below to go to the Department's website for information and get a copy of the Issues Paper, or click here for a copy.   Submissions close 15 April, and a formal hearing is scheduled to start on 2nd May. 

  http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/planning/panels-and-committees/current-panels-and-committees/macedon-ranges-protection-advisory-committee

 

MRRA Says: 

It's great to the Issues Paper out, but what a disappointment that the government has given that ghastly Localised Planning Statement such a prominent position - the promise was 'legislation based on Statement of Planning Policy No. 8', so what's going on?  Get on it - with the ghastly LPS in here, there's a risk Council is hijacking protection - again.   Tell your friends and groups they need to read the Issues Papers and make submissions.

 

 

CURRENT   Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee Members:  Names and Bio

(20/1/16 - SP)   Committee make-up has a strong environmental flavour 

The four members of the Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee are now available (apparently on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's website but that website isn't (hasn't been) working recently). 

 

The Advisory Committee membership is:

Brett Davis (Chair)

Sarah Carlisle

Mandy Elliott

Lisa Kendal

Click here for the full bio sheet.

 

 

CURRENT Terms of Reference for Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Panel Released

(8/1/16 - SP)   Another welcome step towards protection, but where is the government's priority for Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to be the basis for legislation?

 

MRRA hasn't yet been able to find a media release from the Minister for Planning announcing the Terms of Reference,  or who the Advisory Committee members will be, but local Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas has made an announcement about the Terms of Reference on her Facebook page.   MRRA received a copy of the Terms of Reference on 6 January from Mary-Anne’s office on 6 January.  Download a copy from here  Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee Terms of Reference

 

The Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee reports directly to the Minister, and its role is to identify what needs to be protected, from what, and how that protection will be delivered through both legislation and planning controls, and to make recommendations to the State government by July, 2016.

 

The Terms of Reference require the Committee to first research issues considering various documents and matters, and to prepare and exhibit an Issues Paper for public submissions.  The Committee will then hold public hearings to hear from submitters.  The Terms of Reference identify MRRA as one of the organisations the Committee specifically should consult.   

  

MRRA Says:

 

Approval of the Terms of Reference and appointment of the Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee is a major and welcome step in the protection-for-Macedon-Ranges process.   

 

The Terms of Reference seem quite comprehensive, and have a strong focus on protection issues.  The Committee's purposes include providing "advice to the Minister for Planning on an appropriate policy to support changes to the legislative framework to achieve protection for the Macedon Ranges and its unique natural attributes, high environmental values and distinctive rural character and townships".  

 

All excellent, except...  we thought the "appropriate policy" would be Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, because it is in effect the basis for this legislation process.  As it was formerly State policy, is currently in the existing Macedon Ranges planning scheme, has been the basis for strategic planning here for 40 years, and continues to be recognised in policy, strategies and by planning panels, it must be the over-arching policy in the Advisory Committee's Terms of Reference. 

 

Instead Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is one of the documents the Committee must consider, but so too are Council's damaging draft 2014 Localised Planning Statement, and the 2014 Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan - the growth plan developed without community consultation which says Macedon Ranges, with Bendigo, will take most of the future growth for the entire Loddon Mallee region.  This appears to be a mistake – it’s the the tail wagging the dog!  The policies in these other documents are what Macedon Ranges needs to be protected from.

 

MRRA has alerted Mary-Anne Thomas to our concerns, and has asked the Minister to explain why Statement of Planning Policy No. 8's status as the basis for legislation has been overlooked in the Terms of Reference.   Meantime, we will assume SPP8 has over-arching priority for the upcoming Advisory Committee inquiry. 

 

 

See also:

 

Current (2014 State (Labor) Government

2014 Election Result

 

Previous State (Liberal) Government

Localised Planning Statement

Macedon Ranges Needs You - bumper stickers

Say NO To Suburbia Main Page

Macedon Ranges draft Settlement Strategy Archive

Committee For Melbourne Thinks Macedon Ranges Is A Place For A Suburb

Regional Strategy Plan

Urban Growth Boundary

 

Previous State (Labor) Government

Development Assessment Committees

Gisborne ODP

Keep Macedon Ranges Rural - Petition

Victoria In Future Population Projections

Growth Rates

Government Growth Agenda

 

 

 

NEW  MRRA Reps Meet Minister For Planning, Richard Wynne

(27/4/15 - SP)  Minister says he can't say it any clearer:  Labor will legislate to protect this iconic and historic region.  We will use Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 as the basis for legislative protection.  That's what the government said it would do, and that's  what it will do.  Labor Protection file

On Tuesday 21 April, four MRRA representatives and Macedon MLA Mary-Anne Thomas met with Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne. 

 

MRRA requested a meeting with the Minister early last December, shortly after the State election.  Unfortunately, the Minister fell ill, and the delay pending his recovery sees planning now running 3 months behind.

 

Issues raised with the Minister included:

The Minister asked us to tell him about our Council, so we did.  Council’s inconsistent planning decisions about houses on rural land, the importance of protecting drinking water catchments, and the recent Macedon VCAT decision were raised, along with concerns about various policy changes Council is pursuing. 

 

In response to our question - when would the process to produce legislation begin - the Minister said it had not started as yet and he couldn’t give us dates at this stage.

 

He did however confirm several times that the government's commitment and intent was strong.  Its election policy for Macedon Ranges will be delivered, and he couldn’t say it any clearer – the government will legislate to protect Macedon Ranges, and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 will be the basis for that legislation.  

 

MRRA Says:

 

Although we and many others in the Macedon Ranges' community would have liked to hear that the process to protect was about to roll out, we take on board both the Minister's commitment to deliver legislation, and that planning programs are presently delayed.  Having now ‘gone to the top’, at this stage there isn’t a lot more to be done other than accept, wait, watch, and remind. 

 

The Association thanks the Minister, his staff, and the Departmental people involved.   We also thank Mary-Anne Thomas for her support.

 

And here's a link to Macedon Ranges' Residents' Association's Facebook page, and a picture of MRRA reps with the Minister and Mary-Anne.
https://www.facebook.com/120331464721995/photos/a.837341216354346.1073741828.120331464721995/837340399687761/?l=224e99b64c

 

 

MRRA Stickers: Stand Up, Show You Care, And Get That Message Everywhere:   "Protect Macedon Ranges"

(11/11/14)  MRRA will be handing out stickers in the main towns over the weekend of 22 and 23 November  Macedon Ranges Needs You file    

 

Minister for Planning Says State Government Will Not Protect Macedon Ranges Before The State Election, and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 Is Out-Of-Date, Old-Fashioned

(30/10/14 - SP)   MRRA:  If the government now thinks SPP8 - the policy it promised to retain - is so out-of-date, so old-fashioned, it's the fault of the government which has had 4 years to fix it, and honour its election promise to put it in place as State policy.     See LPS file report

 

When elected in 2010, the State government promised to protect Macedon Ranges by reconfirming the 40 year policy - Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, Macedon Ranges and Surrounds - as State planning policy.  Before, and many times since that election, the Minister for Planning has repeatedly publicly stated the government would deliver its promise and protect Macedon Ranges.

 

LLast Tuesday (28/10/14), on ABC Radio 774 (Jon Faine show), the Minister for Planning revealed the State government will not keep its promise to protect Macedon Ranges with State policy unless it is re-elected at the State election, now four weeks away.

 

 Listen to the Minister's response to a caller's questions by clicking on the link (starts at 21.57 minutes into the discussion)

https://soundcloud.com/774-abc-melbourne/matthew-guy-on-mornings-with-jon-faine-1?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email (right click and open in new tab)

 

The Minister additionally said (mirroring Macedon Ranges Council's argument) that Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds (introduced by the the Hamer government in 1975) is out-of-date and old-fashioned.  He said references obsolete planning schemes and policies, and it needs to be 'contemporised' - it couldn't be used in its current form as State policy.

 

Although Macedon Ranges Shire Council has produced a draft Localised Planning Statement which is not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and introduces different policy settings for the Shire, the Minister said Council had produced a document which fulfilled the government’s commitment.  He attributed the delay in introducing State policy to an “on-going blue” between the local community (i.e. MRRA) and Council, and pledged the State government would act as mediator in the next round of consultation, if re-elected, ensuring neither party took the lead.

 

When challenged that failure to deliver State policy and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is a broken promise, he told the caller “you need to have a conversation with your Council instead of blaming others for your own fights”.

 

MRRA Says:

 

At this late stage, for a government that vowed it would protect Macedon Ranges with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 as State policy, to now say that policy isn’t right, and blame the community for the government’s failure to deliver, is a cowardly act, and deplorable. 

 

The government has had four (4) years to get this right.  Before the 2010 election, the government didn't say it would protect Macedon Ranges if re-elected for a second term.  It didn't have issues with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 when it promised to reinstate it as State policy, and only identifies these now, four weeks from the next election.

 

To anyone who has attended recent Council meetings, discussion of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in terms of "old" and "old-fashioned" will sound familiar, as will the need to "contemporise" its language.  Modern policy uses "encourage" and "limit" but Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is strong policy that says what it means using old-fashioned "shall" and "must" language.  This policy, which fits on 2 double-sided A4 pages, has safeguarded Macedon Ranges for 40 years.  It's the policy we were promised as State policy and, with such endorsement, can stand alone without reliance on other documents.

 

The Minister says Council's Localised Planning Statement delivers the government's commitment.  But it doesn't. It only "retains" about half of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8's policy, and then only applies that to an area not much more than a quarter of the existing Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 policy area, leaving Woodend, Gisborne, Riddells Creek, Romsey and Lancefield unprotected.  SPP8 protects these towns and other areas, Council's LPS doesn't.

 

It is quite wrong for the government to shift responsibility for its failure to provide the protection it promised to a "blue" between Macedon Ranges Council and a single community group.  Doing so fails to recognise that protecting Macedon Ranges and keeping it a rural Shire is a whole-of-community concern.  It also overlooks the 3,000 signature petition calling for Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to be reinstated as State policy handed to the (now) Minister in 2010; the recent 6,000 signature petition calling for Hanging Rock to be protected; and the +80% of 1,100 respondents to a recent survey who said the most important issue is protecting Macedon Ranges' environment and rural character.  Any "blue" in this case should have been between a State government committed to Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and a Council committed to getting rid of it.  The State government instead appears to be favouring Council's position over the community's position.

 

Since Council adopted its deficient Localised Planning Statement on September 24, MRRA has made numerous requests to the Minister and local politicians for meetings and information about where the government stood on protection, the most recent on 27/10/14 to the Minister for Planning; Donna Petrovich (Liberal candidate for Macedon); and Amanda Millar, Wendy Lovell and Damian Drum (Liberal Upper House representatives for Northern Victoria Region).  

 

 From 24 September, Amanda Millar alone responded to MRRA but the information we sought was finally obtained, not by responses to our requests, but from ABC's radio call-in discussion.  Two emails to Donna Petrovich requesting a meeting with her went unanswered.  In contrast, Mary Anne Thomas (Labor candidate for Macedon) recently met with MRRA.

 

By breaking its promise, the government has failed the Macedon Ranges’ and Victorian community, and opened the door for an already out-of-control Macedon Ranges Council to approve all manner of new development that permanently damages Macedon Ranges’ environment and landscape.  Council’s confidence in having such endorsement is already evident in its latest proposal to carve up the south of this Shire into 4ha and 2ha lots and, without the State policy protection the government pledged, it won’t stop there.

 

 

Macedon Ranges Needs You! 

(14/10/14 - SP)   Get on board.  Write, email or send a carrier pigeon:  Tell politicians to protect Macedon Ranges with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 as State Policy (LPS).  'Keep Macedon Ranges Rural' 

 

Council Puts Another Nail In Macedon Ranges' Coffin:  Its Rampant Rural Living Strategy Will Destroy Significant Landscapes, Clobber Gisborne

(25/10/14 - P)  Council quietly takes the next step in its economic development / equine / growth agenda:  a sea of houses instead of sweeping rural views to Mount Macedon as you enter the Shire from Melbourne. This couldn't happen if we had Statement of Planning Policy No 8 as State policy.    Rural Living File   LPS

At the 22/10/14 Council meeting, Council didn't even bother to debate its new draft Rural Living Strategy (aka the "In The Rural Living Zone" project); it just added it to another 10 agenda items and dealt with them all together under one of its infamous en bloc motions, where multiple agenda items are moved forward, without debate, in a lump.

 

The 'Strategy' is more a cunning plan to push even more growth and development into the Shire, and is driven in great part by Council's questionable Equine Strategy (the Amendment C84 panel did not support its implementation).  The Strategy's aims include maintaining a 30 year supply of Rural Living 'hobby farm' blocks in the Shire, additional to residential land supply in towns (even State policy only requires a 15 year total land supply for the Shire).  It's reducing minimum lot sizes in existing Rural Living Zone from 40ha and 8 ha to 4ha and 2ha - from the Shire's southern boundary with metro Melbourne, up to Gisborne, New Gisborne, and almost across to Riddells Creek, and also removing long-standing legal agreements to not allow further subdivision of some previously subdivided land.  Commercial development in the Rural Living zone, including accommodation uses, is also supported. 

 

It won't matter that this land includes landscape features of State significance and the Jacksons Creek escarpment, as well as the sweeping rural views that historically have announced Macedon Ranges.  It clearly doesn't matter that this rural buffer with Melbourne is the holy grail of planning which Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 has said for 40 years must be preserved and protected.  That Council instead intends to turn this rural buffer into a housing estate, each lot no doubt with room for a pony, is further evidence of why Council refuses to include Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in its Localised Planning Statement. 

 

Gisborne will bear the impacts of all this development and population growth (additional to the growth Council has already locked in for the town itself), with new residents turning to Gisborne as their town base, straining already-stretched services and infrastructure, and adding to the chaotic traffic flow and car parking shortages that are already a bane in the town.

 

MRRA Says:

 

In 2008 a previous Macedon Ranges Council produced a Rural Living Strategy that was adopted for exhibition by Council in September 2008, but never exhibited.  You could hardly find two Rural Living Strategies that were more chalk and cheese.

 

Be afraid, because unless the State government makes Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 State policy, Council's fire-sale agenda - when too much growth and development isn't enough, make some more - won't stop at this.  The next steps in this Rural Living Strategy contemplate rezoning Farming and Rural Conservation zoned land to make even more small hobby blocks.  On-going approval of houses in Farming and Rural Conservation zones looks set to continue as well.  Council's latest fad is overturning planning officer recommendations to refuse new dwellings in the Farming zone (has done so at the past 2 Council meetings).  Why?  Because these new dwellings are ancillary to EQUINE uses.  Got a pony - want a a house with that?

 

Council (not a consultant) produced the Strategy, and from the text apparently with hefty input from real estate agents about market demand, as well as Council's Equine Strategy's development wish-list.  The Strategy's launch also explains why residents were asked that totally unrelated question, in the Localised Planning Statement survey last July, about how important are houses in rural areas.  Responses will no doubt be used to justify this Strategy's radical departure from the principles of proper and orderly planning, and from Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 which 40 years ago identified the type of development the Strategy proposes as the biggest single threat to the the Macedon Ranges and Surrounds' landscapes.  The other question is, will tourists still want to come?

 

The Strategy's changes - and their  location - also confirm that some people knew in advance (or guessed extremely well) that these changes were on the way.  From 2010 MRRA has received reports of real estate agents knocking on doors, offering to buy up land, in the areas the Strategy proposes to carve up.  Insider trading?   If only we had NSW's Independent Commission Against Corruption [ICAC] in Victoria...

 

The Strategy wasn't on Council's website www.mrsc.vic.gov.au yesterday, but you can find a draft with the 22/10/14 Council meeting agenda (the attachment to Item PE6).

 

 

Put This In Your Diary:  Council To Adopt Its Localised Planning Statement (Town Hall, Kyneton, Wednesday 24 September, 7.00pm)

(23/9/14 - SP)  Don't miss the 'brothers' dodging, spinning and pontificating as they sell the Macedon Ranges, their surrounds and what you value, down the river     LPS file

Tomorrow night's Council meeting will be a defining moment in the history of Macedon Ranges.  Our <quote> democratically-elected community representatives <unquote> will decide whether to adopt Council's rehash of the recently exhibited Localised Planning Statement - the one that gets rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in favour of promoting pet projects, motherhood statements and damaging development.

 

A revised draft LPS available from Council's website, www.mrsc.vic.gov.au (meetings > agendas > 24 September > item PE4 attachment 1 of 5), seems to now propose TWO policy areas.  It shrinks the existing Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds policy area to about a third or less of the size it has been for the past 40 years (i.e. Council's new area includes Newham to Macedon only).  It also (inanely) renames this wee scrap of land "The Range and The Rock" policy area but confusingly also calls it the Macedon Ranges and Surrounds area, and the Rock and the Ranges area).  Ominously, unlike SPP8, Council's Range and Rock policy area excludes the main towns of Woodend, Gisborne, Riddells Creek, Romsey and Lancefield (i.e. towns and vast rural areas are no longer the 'surrounds' in Macedon Ranges and Surrounds).  That's NOT Statement of Planning Policy No. 8.

 

The rewritten LPS nods to public pressure by adding some text selections at the Range and Rock segment which, once upon a time, may have had some relationship to SPP8 policy, but is now something else.  Council's determination to not include the real SPP8, or maintain SPP8's "must" and "not" requirements, severely weakens existing policy.  For example, SPP8's "There shall be no further subdivision [at Mt. Macedon and Macedon]..." is translated, firstly, as "Limit subdivision...", then "Avoid subdivision...", and we all know how well (not) Council does "avoid".   That's NOT SPP8 policy, nor is using "priortise" when SPP8 says "shall be the primary concern".

 

Another major change is that the rest of Council's LPS - that is, Council's growth, economic development and equine/horses agenda - is now to be applied to the whole Shire, including the main towns (above) deleted from the SPP8 policy area. Council may think that's two policies for the price of one, but neither are acceptable.

 

There are also TWO unexplained LPS "Framework" plans that don't contain the same information.   One says the shrunken SPP8 (Range/Rock) policy area is the "Special Policy area", the other calls it "The Range and The Rock".  One plan has non-urban breaks around the southern and eastern boundaries, the other doesn't.  Tylden and Darraweit Guim are missing from both, water supply reservoirs are called "lakes", native vegetation extent is shown as a few pale clumps and - wait for it - in a policy which is claimed to be about protecting the environment, the largest feature is the Calder transport corridor.

 

Unlike SPP8's clear, prescriptive policy statements, Council's LPS is a swirl of confusing if not incompatible utterances. The document doesn't seem to know what it's doing, and it's far from clear what is supposed to apply where.  The version up for adoption includes tracked changes, not helped by text running off page 5.

 

The officer's report says "Most of the submissions request that SPP8 be reinstated as the preferred form of the adopted LPS".  However, it then goes on to say retention of SPP8 in the LPS has not been the direction provided by the State government, which if true, raises a new set of obvious concerns:

"Many of them [submissions] also state that Council should comply with the Minister for Planning’s pre-election commitment that SPP8 would be put into State policy. However, this has not been the direction communicated to Council from the State Government over the life of the project.   The extensive communications and consultation program provided by Council to the community and stakeholders around the intention of the project to provide a refreshed and modern statement has been very clear."  24/9/14 meeting agenda, page 51

N.B. There are those who would dispute Council's coupling of the adjective "extensive" with "consultation".

 

What:  Ordinary Council Meeting

Where:  Kyneton Town Hall, Mollison Street

When:  Wednesday 24th September, 7.00pm

Why:  Because you owe it to yourself to witness which Councillors do or don't support SPP8 and protecting Macedon Ranges.  BE THERE.

 

Note:  Other controversial items on the meeting agenda include Council's refusal to support State heritage protection for the east paddock at Hanging Rock (item PE3); Amendment C90 (the abandoned - not abandoned - but now recommended to be abandoned again amendment - item PE6), and Amendment C89 (item PE5) where Council is proposing a process that doesn't appear to be available in the Planning and Environment Act.  The CEO's Review (item CX1) is there too, but it's confidential.

 

MRRA Says:

 

This embarrassing LPS as State policy?  SPP8 policy area replaced with the shrivelled, nonsensically-named "Range and Rock" policy area?  The garbled 'policy'?  The not-self-explanatory, duplicated Framework plans?   You can't be serious - 'tis all surely a joke???  This LPS confirms again that Council does pretty much everything badly.

 

Has anyone seen Mornington Peninsula's LPS?  Holy Cow, it's actually an elegant and professionally-written Statement of Planning Policy, not an agenda-driven de facto local policy that (as someone pointed out) reads like an investment portfolio.  Mornington manages to retain prescriptive language; Council's LPS deletes it (our money is on that not being an accident).

 

Most LPS submissions wanted Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 retained / reinstated. Council says no (and says the State government agrees).  MRRA has asked the State government if Council's comment is accurate.

 

After the Council's appalling behaviour with Hanging Rock, Amendment C84, Vision 2025, Lancefield Community House, Riddells Creek supermarket, Villawood, Kyneton Mineral Springs RV poo-pit, public open space sales, and Daly Nature Reserve, etc. etc., we all know how it works in Macedon Ranges. An agenda is an agenda. Council has a whopper, and as we've all seen, promoting that agenda beats anything that works in the interests of community and environment.

 

Council has been, over time, quietly and methodically attempting to strip impediments to the type of (over) development some favour from this Shire's planning scheme. The final objective - the jewel in the crown - is to get an LPS (as State policy) that promotes Council's damaging development aspirations, and gets rid of SPP8.  SPP8 is the "last man standing", the final impediment to Council's pet projects revving into freefall.

 

The betting is that most of this Council won't be able to help itself, and the numbers will be there to adopt this embarrassment.  We will even hazard a guess at who will be leading the charge. Let's see... 

 

Cr. John Letchford has speared out convoluted emails running on about Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 being a 40 year old document and those supporting it wanting to look backwards (a comment which left MRRA wondering where Cr. Letchford's gaze is focussed).  Illogically, he claims keeping SPP8 in the planning scheme as local policy at existing Clause 22.01 (the Macedon Ranges and Surrounds policy) is a winner, apparently oblivious to 22.01 being mooted for future deletion, and the fact that Council is already proposing to amend it through the Macedon/Mt. Macedon Village Centre Studies).  22.01 was there when MRRA and the community asked for more protection.  D'oh.  By the way John, for completeness, it's the Macedon Massif, not the Macedon Massive.

 

What about the Mayor, Cr. Roger Jukes?  Predictably a strong supporter of all things economic development, the almost dozen references to equine or horses, and other economic development priorities, in Council's LPS should be music to his heart.  Apparently he too subscribes to SPP8 being too old.

 

What a coincidence!  In 2008 former Macedon Ranges Mayor Noel Harvey (and supporter of Council's Hanging Rock development), and former (Brumby govt) Planning Minister, Justin Madden, likewise said SPP8 was a (then) 30 year old document, past its use-by date.  The only option was to get rid of it.  MRRA Extract  Guy media release  Harvey media release  Hansard (Madden)  Hansard (Guy)

 

In what appears to be a 'snap' situation, Crs. Jukes and Letchford seem to be parroting the Harvey/Madden script.  That attempt to get rid of SPP8 spurred MRRA's 3,000 signature petition calling for SPP8 to be elevated to State policy.  Do we have to produce another petition before decision-makers 'get it' that the people want Macedon Ranges protected by SPP8?

 

Strikes us it's more than past time to start asking pointy questions:

 

To Council - who is driving Council's agenda?

To State government and Opposition - when will the people of Victoria be given additional powers to reclaim their democracy when a Council acts like a cartel?

To State investigation agencies - how bad does it need to get before Macedon Ranges Council and administration is investigated?

To the Liberal/National Party - what are you going to do to deliver the State (LPS) Policy and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 protection promised 4 years ago?

To the Labor Party -  Is the Madden/Harvey objective of getting rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 Labor policy for Macedon Ranges?

 

MRRA Calls For Community To Reject Council's Localised Planning Statement: It's Not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, And It's Not The Protection The State government Promised Us

(13/7/14 - P)  Get to Council's "information session" on Monday July 14, 6.30 pm, Gisborne Council Chambers and inform Council you don't support this Localised Planning Statement... Council Performances

Red Alerts

 

The Scenario: 

Council's draft Localised Planning Statement condemns Macedon Ranges to far less 'protection' than it has now - less than it had when we asked for more!  It must be rejected.  Macedon Ranges needs State policy that says protect this place, not develop it.    MRRA Letter to Editor, local newspapers, July 2014   Bellarine Peninsula is also exhibiting a draft LPS, and even though Bellarine Peninsula doesn't already have a Statement of Planning Policy as Macedon Ranges does, its draft LPS seems more sincere if not protective than Macedon Ranges' LPS.  Comparing Bellarine and Macedon Ranges, it also becomes clear that there is an LPS template, and restrictions on language that can be used, which doesn't necessarily allow what needs to be said, to be said.  

 

What You Can Do

Government's 2010 policy for protection 

Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Policy

MRSC draft Localised Planning Statement

Bellarine Peninsula draft LPS

 

MRRA Says:

 

People of Macedon Ranges, you are being shafted in all of this.  Don't let it happen.  This Macedon Ranges Council would like nothing better than to get rid of the "impediment" of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and this LPS is doing it.  Do everything you can to stop that from happening.  Without SPP8, Macedon Ranges as we know it will cease to exist.

 

UPDATE  DO WE HAVE YOUR FULL ATTENTION?   "What You Value" SURVEY NOW EXTENDED TO JUNE 6

(1/6/14 - P)  C'mon, guys, we can do better than the 200 responses Council says it has.   New Direct Link to survey:  Take the survey now →       Red Alerts    

Macedon Ranges Council has extended the closing date for its "What You Value About Macedon Ranges" Survey to 6 June, allowing another week for responses.  Council says it has some 200 survey responses.

 

MRRA Says:

 

The Localised Planning Statement will be the future policy for Macedon Ranges.  Make sure you have your say in what that future will be.  Tell Council you value what's here and want our environment, landscapes, rural areas, character and towns protected.   YOU TELL 'EM!

 

Footnote:  There was a scare last week when someone at Council told someone from MRRA that unless survey respondents filled in their name and particulars at the end, their survey response wouldn't be counted.  Ghastly thought.  Council's Communications Unit has since given an assurance that "ALL results are collected even if you do not wish to leave your personal details."   Hmm... hope that's correct.

 

Registering your survey response is confusing, because the "submit" button is below the personal details section.  Click on that thinking you are submitting your (anonymous) response, you are told you must fill in your details.  Another button, at the top right hand corner, says "exit this survey".

 

Our attempts to check links today using the link from council's website (27 May media release) and a link from a Council email notification of the extended time initially resulted in messages that the survey had closed on 30 May and, oddly, on 6 June.  Gremlins.  Seems to work OK now, but if you have any problems, get onto Council immediately.

 

DO WE HAVE YOUR FULL ATTENTION?   Complete Council's Survey "What Do You Value About Macedon Ranges" By May 30

(22/5/14 - C, P)   If you care about protecting the Macedon Ranges from suburbia and over development, and about passing these landscapes and this environment on to your grandchildren, this is probably the most important survey you will participate in...

 

Macedon Ranges Shire Council has a survey ["Community Views - New Planning Statement for the Macedon Ranges"] on its website, which is supposed to be asking residents and visitors what they value about Macedon Ranges.  The survey closes on 30 May. 

Click http://www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/Council_the_Region/News_Media/Latest_News/New_Planning_Statement_for_the_Macedon_Ranges to go to the New Localised Planning Statement page - the link to the survey is at the bottom of the page.

 

A 'drop in' session will be held on Thursday 22 May, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm  at the Gisborne Council Chamber, 40 Robertson Street, Gisborne, which any residents can attend.

 

MRRA Says:

The "new" planning statement Council refers to is a "Localised Planning Statement" [LPS] which is a product of the State government's promise to protect Macedon Ranges, and to retain Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds 1975  [SPP8].

 

To produce SPP8, the then Victorian (Hamer) government undertook a comprehensive strategic assessment of Macedon Ranges' values, and what threatens those values.  The result was a policy, SPP8, which says that in order to conserve those values, protecting and preserving environment / landscapes / amenity / character must be the first concern in all decisions in Macedon Ranges, and the local community must be consulted.

 

Originally State policy, SPP8 was later downgraded to local policy (Clause 22.01 in the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme), where it has proven to be WAY too easy to ignore (e.g. think development at Hanging Rock; Villawood in Woodend; Early Years Hub at Daly Nature Reserve; and Riddells Creek supermarket, as well as those awful suburban unit and subdivision developments that just keep coming).  

 

Some (including former Macedon Ranges Mayor Noel Harvey) have previously said SPP8 isn't relevant any more, and Macedon Ranges has enough protection.

 

Unless you agree with sentiments like that, IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY IMPORTANT THAT THE LPS, AS STATE POLICY, INCLUDES STATEMENT OF PLANNING POLICY NO. 8.

 

Unlike Yarra Ranges and Mornington Peninsula Shires, which are recognised in legislation and have State provisions as well as Statements of Planning Policy, SPP8 is all the 'protection' Macedon Ranges has.  Making it State policy again will make it less able to be ignored.

 

Warning:  As we said in our recent letter to the editor, MRRA is troubled about some of Council's survey questions (rural housing, rural employment and visitor/tourism facilities), issues that have more to do with Council's pro-development and rampant economic development agenda than with the values of Macedon Ranges.

 

Fill in the survey, and go to the 'drop-in' tomorrow night.  As State policy, the LPS has to be right!  Tell them if it's not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, it's not protection.

 

Think carefully, because this is your last opportunity to say NO to suburbia in Macedon Ranges. 

 

 

 

 

Posted 9/10/13, updated 25/3/14

 

October 2013: Still waiting for State level policy protection for Macedon Ranges

22/10/13:  Plan Melbourne - State govt's new strategy says Gisborne is a peri-urban growth town = NOT protection

 

Macedon Ranges Council gets to "review" Statement of Planning Policy No. 8.

Well, that's the end of that policy, then.

 

1 February, 2013: Minister For Planning announces State policy protection for Macedon Ranges

Click here to see the Minister's media release.  More news as it becomes available...

 

18 September 2012:  Minister tells MRRA protection "definitely coming ", and "soon" Reaffirmed 18/12/12

  June 2011: Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 To Be State Policy By End Of 2011  When?

 

 

 

STATE PROTECTION FOR MACEDON RANGES

REINSTATEMENT OF STATEMENT OF PLANNING POLICY NO. 8 AS STATE POLICY

28/7/12

 

Flashback to 2010

 

2010 Victorian Election:

 

Liberal / National State Government "Keeps Macedon Ranges Rural"with STATE LEVEL PROTECTION

 

Thank you, Baillieu government!

Thank you to everyone who supported and helped MRRA,

and worked towards this result

 

MRRA Post Election Media Release

 

 

They said they would protect Macedon Ranges.

 

They said protection would be in place before Christmas, 2011.

 

Come on, Liberal / National Coalition Government...

 

 

You Promised.

 

Macedon Ranges needs it.

 

We are counting on you.

 

WHEN?

 

 

MRRA Meets With Minister For Planning, Matthew Guy, June 22

(17/8/11 - SP)  Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to be State policy by end of 2011

 

When MRRA met with Planning Minister, the Hon Matthew Guy, on June 22, he delivered welcome news:  Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 would be re-instated as State policy by the end of this year.

 

The Baillieu Coalition government's commitment to protect Macedon Ranges was spelt out in the Liberal/National Party Planning Policy published before the November 2010 State election.

 

LOCALISED PLANNING STATEMENTS (page7)

 

A Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will:

 

Establish localised planning statements for a number of key areas around Victoria.   These new Statements of Planning Policy will apply to:

A Liberal Nationals Coalition Government reaffirms its support for the retention of Statement of Planning Policy Number 8 that currently exists in the Macedon Ranges but which is being repeatedly undermined by the Labor Government.

On March 16, 2011, the Minister issued a media release announcing the formation of the Peri Urban Unit within the Department of Planning and Community Development, which will oversee preparation of the Localized Statements of Planning Policy.

 

MRRA Says:

 

Thank you, Minister, for your time, and the good news about Statement of Planning Policy No. 8.  Our thanks also to Northern Victoria Region MLC Donna Petrovich, whose office made the meeting arrangements.

 

While with the Minister, MRRA suggested a way in which the policy could be incorporated within the State section of the Victoria Planning Provisions to allow it to truly be part of day-to-day decisions and strategic planning.  The Association also raised some other planning issues, including deficiencies with current State provisions relating to Development Plan Overlays, and gaming (pokies).

 

The Minister said he would be working with Council to deliver SPP8, and further consulting with MRRA.  Now, that's something we really are looking forward to.  From 2004, MRRA met with Matthew Guy, David Davis and Ted Baillieu as Opposition spokesmen on planning, and in 2010 handed Matthew Guy a 3,000 signature petition calling for re-instatement of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 as State policy.  The Coalition's enduring commitment to protect Macedon Ranges always impressed us, so it's great to see that commitment becoming a reality, particularly after the former Labor government reneged on its promise to do the same thing.  Well done.

 

State Government Sets Up Peri Urban Planning Unit Within Department

(13/4/11- P)  First step towards making State Protection a reality for Macedon Ranges

 

The new State Government has announced a new Peri Urban planning unit will be set up within the Department of Planning and Community Development.

 

The unit will support the shires of Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Moorabool, Murrindindi, Golden Plains, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast and Macedon Ranges.

 

As the first port of call for these councils, the unit will provide assistance on strategic planning and transport integration and rural, coastal, green wedge and interface issues.   There will be a strong focus on population management, long-term strategic planning and structure planning of towns and future communities.  The new unit will also provide assistance in managing environmental and biodiversity issues and planning for fire and flood.

 

Developing localised statements of planning policy for areas including the Yarra Valley, the Macedon Ranges, and the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas will also be a priority for the Peri-Urban Unit.

 

MRRA Says:

 

Hooray!  Brilliant start.  Can't wait until the State policy for Macedon Ranges becomes reality.

 

Council's Settlement Strategy: Submissions Extended Until End Of January 2011

(23/12/10 - P)  There's still time to tell them to do it again...

Macedon Ranges Shire Council has extended the time to make submissions on the draft Settlement Strategy, from December 17 until t'the end of January 2011'.  No date is given.  For more information, check out Council's website http://www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/page/Page.asp?Page_Id=2128&h=-1

 

MRRA Says:

The bad feeling in our water didn't get any better after reading the draft - it confirms someone doesn't know much about Macedon Ranges, and makes some fairly horrific assumptions.

 

Macedon Ranges' Settlement Strategy Out For Consultation Until December 17th

(14/11/10 - P)   Don't be fooled into thinking this is either about, or good for, Macedon Ranges.  And once again, all we are getting is over 477 pages of information, and crap consultation processes, just before Christmas.  Now that's usually a sign something's wrong...

 

The  draft Macedon Ranges' Settlement Strategy and supporting documents are on exhibition and you can comment until 5.0pm on December 17th (just before Christmas).  The supporting documents are:

Here are direct links to the relevant documents, or you can go to Council's website, www.mrsc.vic.gov.au  NB  These are LARGE files, over 20mb all up.

 

Download: MRSC_Draft_Settlement_Strategy.pdf  (6.4mb)  (104 pages)

Download: MRSCContextReport_030910Part1.pdf  (4.6mb)  (100 pages)

Download: MRSC_ContextReport_030910Part2.pdf  (3.7mb)  (133 pages)

Download: 100903_SustainableCommunitiesReport.pdf  (6.6mb)  (140 pages)

 

You can also view the hard copies (477 pages) at Council Services Centres (although if you want to take a copy away with you, we hear you may have to pay $30 for some of the documents).

 

Meagre consultation is proposed with only one public meeting, on Thursday 9 December, 7 - 9pm, at Riddells Creek Senior Citizens Centre, 74 - 76 Main Road, Riddells Creek.

 

‘Listening posts’ (street stalls) will also be held:

Written submissions can be sent to Manager Planning and Development, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, PO Box 151, Kyneton 3444, or emailed to strategicplanning@mrsc.vic.gov.au

 

MRRA Says:

 

What a great way to stop people knowing what's proposed for where they live - just go and stand outside supermarkets for an hour or so, and Bob's your Uncle - consultation done. 

 

It is really offensive for someone to keep claiming there has been (and is) substantial consultation on the draft Settlement Strategy.  Who has been substantially consulted?  It hasn't been the community.

 

The latest round of consultation proposed is pathetic. ONE public meeting, in Riddells Creek (i.e. none in the major towns where most of the excessive growth is being shoved in), and 'listening posts' over two days.  Yeah, right, people will be really focussed on the issues as they race about shopping with the kids.  Maybe tourists will have more time?  The time put into these dickey listening posts could as easily have been devoted to meetings.

 

We all need to understand that the draft Settlement Strategy is, in reality, the State government's document and is an attempt to squeeze a pre-ordained number of people into Macedon Ranges.  Us residents aren't deciding how many, that decision was made well before the Settlement Strategy came into existence.  No, the Settlement Strategy is about how those numbers are divvied up - where they go. 

 

It doesn't really matter if population growth will damage the fragile values of the Shire or there are constraints against growth - some of those aren't even recognized.  The mantra is, the State government's growth agenda will be implemented come hell or high water.

 

That means this isn't an exercise in strategic planning at all.  It's number crunching, and because the consultation is so deficient, it's number crunching someone doesn't want most of us to know about or understand.  The draft Settlement Strategy, contrary to the spin surrounding it, does not allow Council (or community for that matter) to take some control over population growth.  Nup, this is about forcing the government's Victoria In Future population growth projections into Macedon Ranges.

 

Those Victoria In Future projections are based on what has been happening, not what should happen.  All those units, those horrible subdivisions, that the community has been powerless to stop are the foundation for the Victoria In Future figures (i.e. you had XX then, so you will have XXX in future), and what happens in Macedon Ranges in future.

 

The draft Settlement Strategy comes across as if nothing much has happened here until now, as if there is no past. Maybe that's why someone doesn't seem to be aware of the importance of the Rural Living 1 zone...

 

The Strategy relies to a great degree on what's in our current planning scheme as a basis for identifying constraints.  Mmm, interesting concept, considering our planning scheme is still mainly at the 'interim' stage it was back when it was approved in 2000, and there are probably more constraints missing than are in it.

 

You will need to start reading now if you want to get through all of the documentation, make a submission, AND have time to prepare for Christmas.

 

By all means, please go to the single meeting being held at Riddells Creek, or try to remember to sidle up to the "listening posts" (you might want to take the day off work to get to the Gisborne, Kyneton and Lancefield listening posts - all are on a Friday), or put in some comments by post or email.

 

Tell them this isn't acceptable.  Tell them they haven't consulted.  Tell them Macedon Ranges isn't the slop bucket for sopping up Melbourne's population overflow.  Tell them what they are doing would be a whopper of a joke except it's not funny because it's our future, our community, our environment and potentially even our lives that are being so flippantly and carelessly played with.

 

Tell 'em to go back and do it again, and this time do it in a way that's realistic and right for Macedon Ranges.  Oh, and start listening to the community for a change.

 

'Committee For Melbourne' Thinks Macedon Ranges Is The Place For A Suburb

(14/11/10 - P)  CFM aspires to include Gisborne and Riddells Creek (and Macedon) into the Metro area

The Committee for Melbourne, a bunch of big business interests, think not only should Melbourne grow to 8 million people, but the Metropolitan area should be expanded to engulf parts of Macedon Ranges.

 

Although not easy to decipher, Gisborne, South Gisborne, Bullengarook, Riddells Creek and Clarkefield are definitely 'in', and possibly Macedon.

 

Click here to see the map.

 

MRRA Says:

Is this our future?  What's going to stop it?

 

State Labor Govt's Regional Strategic Plan Puts Growth Agenda In Place For Macedon Ranges: Council Endorses Plan Without Community Consultation

(13/8/10 - P)  That puts around another 20,000 people and 7,000 houses in the Shire by 2036.  And the State government's VC66 amendment has already been put in place (also sans consultation) to implement it.  Hello suburbia!

Click here to go to this item.

 

MR Settlement Strategy: Is Macedon Ranges Making The Decisions, Or The State Government?

(29/6/10 - P)  Meagre consultation, shabby process, a whiff of State government agenda and heaps of population growth should be ringing LOUD alarm bells

 

Four workshops have been held recently in Macedon Ranges - Kyneton, Gisborne, Romsey and Woodend - in the first round of community consultation on the Shire's Settlement Strategy.  These attracted reasonable attendances by residents, with the usual array of real estate agents, developers and others with specific interests, as well as residents.

 

The Gisborne and Woodend meetings made it clear growth is not welcome, particularly the type of 'accelerated' growth presented by the consultants.  The consultants, CPG, seemed unable to explain where these extravagant population numbers came from or what areas had been counted to arrive at final figures they presented.  The figures seems to move around almost at will, but the objective seems to be to almost double Macedon Ranges' population in 30 years.  In numeric terms, that's going from 39,000 in 2006 to around 55,000 to 60,000 by 2036. Unfortunately, the whole thing is still at the 'pick a number' stage, although one thing seems certain is that the consultants are on board with the State government's intention to make Macedon Ranges an outlying suburb of Melbourne.

 

MRRA Says:

 

Sounds like someone's got an agenda to (at least) double the size of our main towns.  And where are all these people going to live?  We need to keep in mind that the number of people in each household is dropping, so a higher number of houses will be needed to accommodate the same number of people it took less houses to accommodate a few years ago. Where are they to go, without destroying our small towns and communities, without reaching out into rural land, without metro-style 'units' everywhere?

 

Where's the water to come from?  Where do we get twice as much water to service towns twice as big?

 

How do we stop twice as many people being killed and properties lost in a bushfire?  HAS THE GOVERNMENT LEARNT NOTHING?

 

In our experience, competent and comprehensive major strategic projects don't usually start with presenting the community with soaring population growth numbers and asking which towns that growth should go in.  In fact, there was an audible gasp at the Woodend meeting when CPG informed the gathering that Macedon Ranges has the best road and rail infrastructure in the State.  Now that's starting to sound like a sell job to us.

 

Why do we get the feeling that the CPG consultants seem to have come in here armed with the government's 'suburbanization' population targets, and blurt about how good it is, and the only thing being asked of the community is how and where are all these people to be squeezed in?  Who are the consultants working for - the government, or us?

 

Consultation to date is a teensy bit of a joke - during the consultants' presentation, up on the screen "extensive community consultation" flashed by, but hang on, up until then, there had only been some erratic appearances by the consultants outside shops and supermarkets.  That's EXTENSIVE??  Who have the consultants been talking to?

 

Consultation on a major strategic project doesn't usually start with rolling out numbers, either - how about some public consultation on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - SWOT.  About community values?  About the community experience with infrastructure?  About over-population and the damage it is already doing to the special values of Macedon Ranges?

 

It also seems unbelievably courageous (in a Sir Humphrey sort of way) for CPG to lob up and rely only on overlays in our current under-done planning scheme to identify environmental constraints, and then to call that strategic.  Someone tried that with the infamous Amendment C8 Residential and Industrial Review in the early 2000s, and that amendment fell over monumentally (and embarrassingly) when it was abandoned, on the advice of a Ministerial Advisory Committee, because it lacked strategic justification.  Hmm, could lightning be about to strike twice?   Or will any amendment be assisted by a Ministerial hand helping to overcome difficulties - like what most of us want - to deliver a manic growth agenda?

 

There's also a big, big problem with the way that whatever is being planned for the 'rural balance' of the Shire seems to be a whopping secret.  That's right, CPG said it will be done later.  Hey, guys, a Settlement Strategy is supposed to be integrated.  The fact that this one doesn't seems to suggest Plan B is for the rural areas to sop up whatever isn't squashed into the towns.  And on that note, the bush telegraph is alive with rumours of wholesale rural living development is about to roll out.  Oops, didn't Melbourne 2030 say that's NOT to happen?

 

What about fire?  No problem apparently, the consultants are waiting for the Royal Commission's report on Black Saturday to work out whether Macedon and Mt. Macedon are too big a fire risk for further growth.  Wonder if they've ever heard of Ash Wednesday?   Does it count that Woodend is one of the 50 worst fire risk towns in Victoria?   Not yet, it seems...

 

And poor Statement of Planning Policy No.8.  CPG told the Woodend meeting they had deleted it as a key policy just before that meeting because...  someone at the Gisborne meeting said it didn't count anymore. 

 

As for the consultants, CPG (formerly Coomes), from their website it seems they've worked on a lot of very large subdivision developments like Hillcroft Estate, South Morang; Caroline Springs Estate, Melton; Aurora Estate, Epping North; Roxburgh Park Estate; Cairnlea Estate, Deer Park, etc.

 

We would like to know what their experience (if any) is in Settlement Strategies for rural, environmentally-sensitive areas because in our mind, they certainly aren't off to a good start in the credibility or strategic stakes with what they've done so far.  It's so NOT impressive to look like all you've come here with is the government's growth figures!

 

The word "underwhelmed" springs to mind... and if we think about it, we will probably be able to come up with some more.

 

'Basic' Clarkefield: Push For Ad Hoc New Town By Cr. Geoff Neil Underscores Potential For Suburban Future

(18/10/08 - SP)  Needs to be more than just 'empty' land, Geoffrey

This week's report in the Macedon Ranges Leader, that Cr. Geoff Neil is pushing for a new town of some 3,000 people to be established at Clarkefield, picks up a recurrent theme, and confirms another.  This type of proposal - from a single landowner - was around before Council amalgamations in 1995, back when Geoff was a Romsey Shire Councillor and Clarkefield was in the former Shire of Romsey.

 

And then in 2008, just before a Council election, just as Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is being taken away, up it pops again, courtesy of Cr. Neil.  Geoff seems to think that having no infrastructure, except a train station at which trains rarely stop, can somehow be overlooked as a constraint on development (and surely no-one is suggesting that this train station makes Clarkefield an Activity Centre!!!!).  Cr. Neil further seems to think this idea can be rushed before a new, apparently supportive Council, and Bob's your uncle. Fixed.

 

This ad hoc plan confirms both Cr. Neil's overt passion for almost any form of development and lots of it (except in his home town of Romsey); and that suburbia is coming to Macedon Ranges.

 

The odd spot is, a few pages further into the same paper, there was our Mayor, Cr. Noel Harvey, absolutely adamant Macedon Ranges wasn't about to be suburbanized.

 

MRRA Says:

 

We're just wondering if Geoff's announcement was spurred on by the prospect of getting rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8?  Does he know something we don't know?  Are Clarkefield and SPP8 linked?  Has some kind of deal already been done for suburbanization with the powers that be?

 

A new town at Clarkefield is 'spun' as an alternative to continuing to chocker up existing towns, or a way to relieve pressure on rural land.  Uh-uh.  Quite apart from the fact that Clarkefield IS rural land, if the this-is-the-place-for-a village idea goes ahead, our money's firmly on Clarkefield being additional to, not instead of, development everywhere else.

 

Poor Geoff.  Many would fondly say he has something of an aptitude for dropping clangers, and he would probably agree.  He's dropped a doozy here.  Where better to advertize a totally ad hoc approach to planning than on the front page of the local paper!  Could be time to move on, mate...

 

And poor Noel.  Ouch!  Embarrassing...

 

Minister for Planning And Mayor Noel Harvey:  Tag-Team To Shut Down SPP8?

(14/10/08 - P)   Labor colleagues are singing the same song, while Mayor seems to put "party" line before environment and community

There are two parts to this tale:  The Mayor and the Minister.

 

The Mayor:

 

Barely before the ink had dried on Liberal Shadow Planning Minister Matthew Guy's media release calling for the State government to stop plans to urbanise Macedon Ranges, Macedon Ranges' present Mayor and Labor party faithful Noel Harvey fired off a media release under Council's logo, claiming to be presenting Council's position and the facts about protection of Macedon Ranges.

 

After pointing out that Mr. Guy's comments were "absolutely outrageous", Mayor Harvey says Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is old, and "not strong enough" to protect.  On the other hand, he also claims important elements of SPP8 are "enshrined" in our planning scheme.

 

He then picks up on the government's 2005/2006 line about current rural zones, and how they and "Council's strategic planning program over recent years have strengthened protection".

 

He then criticizes Mr. Guy again for not contacting and consulting Council, and finishes by saying Council is mindful of what makes Macedon Ranges "the most liveable rural municipality in the nation".

 

The Minister:

 

Last Thursday in parliament, former Macedon Ranges Councillor and now Northern Victoria region Upper House rep Donna Petrovich asked the Minister for Planning  whether he would undertake to finally give the Macedon Ranges the planning protection afforded to the Shire of Yarra Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula; protection which has been eroded by his government's one-size-fits-all planning scheme.  Donna did well by following that up with a supplementary question asking the Minister whether he thought Macedon Ranges' landscape character is more like Yarra Ranges or metropolitan Melbourne.

 

From Hansard, the Minister, Justin Madden, seemed to think this was something to make jokes about and score political points on (although there seems to have been admonishments all round from the President).

 

Between bouts of nonsense, he told the Upper House he had in his hand a press release from the Macedon Ranges' Mayor (by happy coincidence, the one referred to above) criticizing comments of the Opposition on this issue.  The Minister twice said the government had had no input into the Mayor's release, although why he would emphasize that isn't clear.

 

He then went on and on about how old Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 was, and finally told the opposition that if they wanted to go back 30 years, good luck to them.

 

The Minister, rather incredibly, claimed his government had done more than any other government in the history of this state in relation to giving protection to rural and urban amenity.

 

He called Mayor Harvey's facts 'pretty accurate' and backed up Noel's comments re Council's recent strategic planning work 'strengthening' protection.

 

MRRA Says:

 

Please sign the Keep Macedon Ranges Rural petition:  http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-macedon-ranges-rural.html

 

The Mayor:

 

Mr. Guy's comments are "absolutely outrageous"??   Mr. Guy's a bad boy for not consulting??  Well hello, 'Pot'... meet 'Kettle'!

 

Here's what's absolutely outrageous: a Mayor purporting to speak for all Councillors, and this community, without consulting them.  A Mayor seeming to give a fair impression of pushing Labor party policy as Council policy.  A Mayor who says "Facts" but doesn't seem to know or stick to them.  A Mayor who seems to be selling out the environment and community he represents.  A Mayor making policy on the run - as far as we know and the minutes show, the Council position put forward in the Mayor's media release is not Council's formal position.

 

Mayor Noel Harvey has been on Council for 6 of the 9 years that Macedon Ranges has waited for the State government to deliver its promise to protect this environmentally sensitive area, and has been Mayor 3 times.  At face value he sounds like an experienced councillor, but...

 

Mayor Harvey, in a new play on words, says SPP8 "isn't strong enough".  Psst... the problem, Noel, is that SPP8 isn't implemented enough.  It's not implemented enough because it's not State policy.  Even Blind Freddy can see that.

 

Mayor Harvey says Council's recent strategic work includes Environmental Significance and Significant Landscape overlays, when there haven't been any recent ones.  He credits Council with Wildfire Management overlays that were in fact produced by the CFA, State-wide.

 

What he doesn't talk about is the failure of Amendment C8 - Residential and Industrial Review.  This dud amendment (abandoned in 2004 due to lack of strategic justification ) was initiated and produced during his watch.  Ditto C59, the 2008 disaster-in-the-making Gisborne ODP.  Ditto C62, the 2008 "Municipal Strategic Statement [MSS] Review" which takes SPP8 out of the scheme.  The Department (government?) has said all references to SPP8 are to be removed, and that's exactly what has happened with the 'cleansed' MSS in Amendment C62.  It's so sterile, it could be talking about anywhere in Victoria.

 

Important elements of SPP8 are "enshrined" in our scheme?  Hardly, if the government's, department's and Mayor's views - and C62 -  prevail.  Is the Mayor saying he didn't know this?

 

Mayor Harvey says the 'new' rural zones protect us.  Not quite.  If they did, there wouldn't have been a resort application in a drinking water catchment at Macedon Lodge, or an application for 4 houses in a drinking water catchment upstream of the Woodend Reservoir (both in Rural Conservation zones), or a doubling of new houses going into rural areas since 2001, etc. etc...

 

The mild surprise here is the Mayor didn't pick up and run with former Planning Minister Rob Hulls' pitch that Macedon Ranges is protected by Green Wedges, although maybe there's still time...

 

Mmm...  There's a difference, isn't there, between sounding committed, and sounding like there's an agenda on the line?

 

DO YOU APPROVE OF THE MAYOR'S ACTIONS?  Send us your thoughts on mrra.sec999@gmail.com

 

Please sign the Keep Macedon Ranges Rural petition:  http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-macedon-ranges-rural.html

 

The Minister:

 

The Minister would have been prudent to research the views expressed by the Mayor before relying on them, although we've noticed in passing that research and accuracy don't seem to be essential (or even desirable) ingredients when it comes to spin.

 

How silly to claim this government has done more to protect rural and urban character than any other Victorian government!  Only developers and the faithful would readily agree.  The real world hates what this government is doing to character; some go so far as to say what's happening now is worse than under the Kennett government.

 

With respect, Minister, as far as Macedon Ranges goes you are quite, quite wrong.  It was the Hamer Liberal government that did more than any other government in the history of this State for Macedon Ranges.  That government introduced Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, the 'Macedon Ranges policy'.  Your own government indeed acknowledges and piggybacks on the excellence of the Hamer government's vision in relation to Green Wedges, but consistently overlooks the fact that protecting Macedon Ranges was part of that same Hamer vision and excellence.

 

Nor does the limp excuse that SPP8 is a "regional" policy - and is redundant post-Council amalgamations - stack up.  Using that logic, the first to go should be the Upper Yarra and Dandenongs' Regional Strategy.    Amalgamation happened 13 years ago.  Whether it's one Shire or four, the issues haven't changed, and SPP8 has been endorsed by this government and panels as remaining relevant several times since then.

Please sign the Keep Macedon Ranges Rural petition:  http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-macedon-ranges-rural.html

 

Listening to the Minister and the current Mayor, SPP8 is borderline Methuselah, although from recent events it doesn't seem to be as far past it's 'use by' date as some of our politicians and governments.

 

There are plenty of documents around that are much older, such as constitutions, law and parliamentary process (probably even some tenets of the Labor Party), that aren’t thrown out because they are ‘old’.  They are retained because the principles in them remain relevant. Ditto SPP8.

 

Let's make it crystal clear:  The principles in SPP8 haven't aged - they are still about sustainable land use management in the context of the environmental significance and sensitivity of Macedon Ranges, and the issues and pressures SPP8 addresses are still here. 

 

Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is the policy that says Macedon Ranges is of State level environmental significance... That says no more subdivision on Mt. Macedon, and all development in urban and rural areas must harmonise with the natural environment and preserve and enhance rural character and high quality landscapes.  The policy is based on sound, timeless planning principles rather than the politics of the day, and prioritizes the things that matter in Macedon Ranges. Now this government, apparently with the backing of the Mayor, wants to take it all away.  Even the former Liberal Planning Minister Robert Maclellan didn't do that.

 

Back in 1976, the Liberal Planning Minister, GP Hayes, who oversaw introduction of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 said, "I hope that no one and least of all myself, will ever belittle this policy or the efforts that have gone into producing it." 

 

Last Thursday, the present Planning Minister belittled the policy, treating it as a joke.

 

 Age isn't the problem, politics are.  SPP8 isn't too old, otherwise government would be stripping Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Ranges of their (older) Statements of Planning Policy as well.  Or are they next?

 

No, SPP8 is not too old.  It's only crime is that it's in the way of pushing suburban development up the Calder Freeway. 

 

But it seems no-one in government, including the Mayor, has what it takes to 'fess up to this agenda, or consult the people about it.  The preferred method of implementing the agenda is by stealth and spin.  The Emperors definitely have no clothes...  It's not a pretty picture, and it would be ugly whichever side of politics it came from.

 

DO YOU AGREE WITH THE PLANNING MINISTER THAT THIS STATE GOVERNMENT HAS DONE MORE TO PROTECT URBAN AND RURAL CHARACTER THAN ANY OTHER IN THE STATE'S HISTORY?  Send us your thoughts on mrra.sec999@gmail.com

 

Please sign the Keep Macedon Ranges Rural petition:  http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-macedon-ranges-rural.html

 

DPCD Orders The 'MACEDON RANGES POLICY' Removed From Our Planning Scheme

(29/9/08 - SP)   There's only one reason to do that: to open the door for suburbia

At last Wednesday's Council meeting in Romsey, the suburban hammer fell on Macedon Ranges. 

 

It was announced in Chamber that Council had received an email from the Department of Planning and Community Development saying that all references to Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds 1975 were to be removed from the planning scheme.

 

This 'Macedon Ranges policy' recognises Macedon Ranges as an area of special and State significance.  It lays out policy that puts the environment first, and gives rights to the local community to be consulted.  It is all that stands between a rural Macedon Ranges and a suburban one.

 

An attempt was made at the Council meeting to have Council approve a motion calling on the Minister for Planning to provide State level planning protection (which would include making Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 a State policy again, as it originally was) but the motion was defeated on a 5 to 4 vote.

 

Those for State protection:  Henry Bleeck, Tom Gyorffy, Rob Guthrie, John Letchford.

 

Those against:  John Connor, Noel Harvey, Geoff Neil, Sandra McGregor, Helen Relph.

 

Click here for more information.  Click here for earlier stories Hello, hello, hello, where did Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 Go?

 

MRRA Says:

 

It's good to see Henry Bleeck and John Letchford supporting Tom Gyorffy and Rob Guthrie in this motion, but there's not much to be said for the rest of our Councillors.

 

MRRA wrote to Planning Minister Madden on 24th August requesting a meeting regarding the (what seemed) strange removal of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 from the Gisborne ODP, and from local policy as part of the MSS Review (now Amendment C62).  To date we have received no response, but have heard that our letter has landed in the Department's Bendigo office.  Hmm...  Not a good sign.  MRRA has long viewed the Bendigo office as part of the problem, not the solution.  If responses such as we have received from Bendigo in the past are anything to go by, we can pretty much predict what this one will say...  We will have heard it before.

 

KEEP MACEDON RANGES RURAL PETITION

 

MRRA has started a petition to the Victorian Legislative Assembly calling for the Victorian Parliament to act to overturn DPCD's order, to give Macedon Ranges interim protection, to reinstate Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to State policy, and to legislate and provide specific planning provisions to permanently protect Macedon Ranges.

 

Please help and support us to protect Macedon Ranges and keep it rural!  We are calling on the Victorian Legislative Assembly to protect Macedon Ranges so that this precious environment and the area’s rural amenity are safeguarded.

 

You can sign the petition online at

 

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-macedon-ranges-rural.html

or download a hard copy of the petition

 

Hard copies of the petition will be distributed around Macedon Ranges' towns in the next few days.  You might like to take some forms along to your local shop so others can sign up to Keep Macedon Ranges Rural.

 

We will have an update in a few days with more information.

 

 

Council Votes To Call On The Minister For Planning To Introduce A RURAL ResCode

(11/9/08 - P)  Er, well done...

In what could be seen as a first as far as leadership on planning issues goes for this Council, at last night's Planning Committee meeting, a motion for Council to press the Minister for Planning to act on introduction of a rural ResCode was unanimously supported (Note: Cr. Noel Harvey was absent).  It is understood that the resolution is also to be forwarded to peak bodies including the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association.

 

MRRA Says:

Well, what a surprise!  Former Macedon Ranges CEO Ian Morris pushed hard for a rural ResCode, and we know it has long been an objective for Cr. Rob Guthrie.

 

MRRA raised it with Planning Minister Justin Madden last year - also asking for a dedicated section within the Department of Planning and Community Development to be set up to deal with rural planning issues - and with a variety of politicians in 2006.  Oddly, everyone seems to understand how desperately a rural perspective is needed for rural areas - along with a residential development planning code that recognizes rural issues and is compatible with rural values/standards - but to date no one has done anything about it.

 

Having to use Melbourne's ResCode and metropolitan standards has had a devastating impact on our rural towns, so we say 'good on you' to Council for adding its voice to the already substantial chorus, and more grease to Council's elbow on this one.

 

Hello, Hello, Hello - Where Did Statement Of Planning Policy No. 8 Go?

(16/7/08 - P)  Council's 'review' of Macedon Ranges' Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) and Local Policies sees the Macedon Ranges Policy dropped from the Macedon Ranges planning scheme.   MRRA says, we want it elevated to State policy, not shredded

Macedon Ranges Shire Council is in the process of 'reviewing' its MSS and Local Policies.  Originally due to be finished in 2003, the review began several years ago, stopped, then started again.  A draft revised MSS and local policies were exhibited in 2007, to which MRRA made a hefty submission.

 

A final draft of changes arising from the review recently hit MRRA's desk.  One or two areas have been strengthened, but its most compelling feature is what has been taken out.

 

Together, the MSS and local policies constitute the Local Planning Policy Framework [LPPF], and are the only part of a planning scheme where a municipality can describe itself.

 

An MSS is the 'engine' of a planning scheme - it is the strategic heart that drives a scheme.  It is supposed to say what's important to us, and what we are going to do about it.  On the other hand, local policies provide advice and guidance on making day to day decisions to get outcomes that are right for, and take account of, local conditions. Without them, the fallback position is generic State-wide policy which isn't specific to any area.

 

There are moves from the State government to 'slim down' MSS's and local policies, which in itself diminishes the ability of communities to describe themselves - to say what is different about each municipality: its identity, people, characteristics, values, constraints and needs.

 

This review seems to 'follow the company line', with much of current MSS content and local policies dropped.  The upshot is that there is plenty that is 'diminished' about this final draft, because there just isn't enough in it to define Macedon Ranges.  Overall, its 'condensed' content misses the point - and what makes Macedon Ranges tick.   It could be talking about anywhere.

 

The existing township policies are gone - moved to the MSS.

 

And then there's the quiet assassination of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds.  The Macedon Ranges policy.  SPP8.  Clause 22.01 in the current scheme.  This policy is the only thing left that stands between a rural Macedon Ranges, and Macedon Ranges: the suburb.

 

It has been the foundation stone upon which all planning schemes have been built in Macedon Ranges for 35 years.

 

It started life as a State level policy backed by legislation (much like the Green Wedges today).

 

By 2000, and the arrival of the VPP format planning schemes, it was down-graded to Local Policy, even though the Planning Minister of the day (John Thwaites) agreed it should be State policy.  That didn't happen.

 

In 2004, MRRA launched a campaign to have SPP8 re-instated as State policy, but the State government has said we are already protected, that SPP8 as local policy is law, and protects us from over-development. The difficulty with SPP8 as local policy is that there is no easy way to implement it and many ignore it, which is why it needs to be State policy.

 

But instead of SPP8 becoming State policy, along comes Council's MSS and local policy review and... hello, hello, hello - where did Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 go?   As far as MRRA knows, Yarra Ranges still has its Statement of Planning Policy, so it seems it's just ours that has vanished.

 

Not only isn't it a State policy, it's not even a Local policy any more - it is just gone.

 

THE $64,000 question is, who said it could go?

 

MRRA Says:

 

There was an attempt back in the days of the first post-amalgamation Macedon Ranges Council to get rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8.   Surely it is merely a coincidence that, with some of those same Councillors currently in office, it's happening again?

 

How dare anybody... ANYBODY... think they can arbitrarily lop this huge and critical policy out of our scheme.

 

Bet on it, you will be hearing more from us on this one.  In fact, we think we can feel a letter to the Minister for Planning coming on right now, and possibly to a couple of other places as well.

 

Overseas Invasion?  Land Grab On Macedon Ranges' Southern Boundary Is A Worry

(28/7/08 - P)   Green Wedge under threat?

What's happening in the Green Wedge in the City of Hume?  A recent report received by MRRA is that an overseas company is trying to buy up around 1,000 acres of land in the Green Wedge zone (along Macedon Ranges' southern boundary) for development - by the sound of it, they seem to be planning a new town. Sources say schools and retirement villages are proposed, and it's all happening without any fanfare. Disturbingly, the purchasers are reported to apparently be very confident of overcoming the problem of the land being in a restrictive Green Wedge zone.

 

MRRA Says:

The community wishes it could have as much confidence in developers not being able to get away with something like this as the developers seem to have that they will get away with it.  We will pass this report on to the Green Wedge Coalition, and add it to our "What The Hell Is Going On" file for future reference, and cross-reference.

 

Planning Backlash Meets With Planning and Community Development Minister, Justin Madden

(17/9/07 - SP)   Metro and rural groups put issues forward - and MRRA was there

On August 16th, the Association appeared as a member of a Planning Backlash delegation of rural-based community, conservation and resident groups.  Click here to see a report on the Planning Backlash rural groups' meeting with Minister Madden, and MRRA's presentation, which focussed on impacts of Melbourne 2030 in Macedon Ranges, the need for State level planning protection, and protection for rural land and water catchments.

 

 

Planning Minister Hulls Puts Out Labor Planning Policy "Planning In Partnership With Local Communities"

(23/11/06 - P)  Mentions "Macedon"

Current Planning Minister Rob Hulls yesterday released a Labor planning policy which encompasses a variety of elements.  The policy doesn't seem to be on Labor's website yet but it can be accessed at Save Our Suburbs' website www.sos.asn.au

 

On page 11 of the 20? page policy, there is a reference to... Macedon, as follows:

 

Build Thriving, Sustainable Regions and Towns

 

"3. Labor Will Support Regions Within Commuting Distance of Melbourne To Manage Growth

 

Labor will support strategic work to manage the pressures of growth in environmentally-sensitive and agricultural areas located near towns within commuting distance of Melbourne.  Priority areas include Seymour, Bacchus Marsh, Sunbury, Macedon, Warragul, the Yarra Valley and  Mornington Peninsula."

 

MRRA Says:

We couldn't find any other references but maybe you can.  We'll leave it to you to look at the policy and judge whether you think it would make a difference to Macedon Ranges.

 

There are some initiatives proposed (hurrying up the Department of Sustainability and Environment's response times (we know that one, we've waited a year for two amendments recently)), and judicial training for VCAT members, that respond to present difficulties and are welcome.  But they won't solve Macedon Ranges' problems.

 

MRRA Responds To Bracks Government's Advice That It Won't Be Protecting Macedon Ranges

(31/10/06 - SP)  MRRA media release says it all: think about what this government is doing - AND NOT DOING - for Macedon Ranges before you vote.

MRRA recently issued a press release responding to the Bracks government's letter telling MRRA it will not protect Macedon Ranges from over-development.  The government in fact said Macedon Ranges was already protected (see previous report, 3/9/06).

 

We've noticed (with concern) that our press release did not get into local newspapers covering the south of the Shire.   So we are publishing it here (click to go to MRRA press release)

 

MRRA Asks For Meeting With Premier Bracks and Ministers Hulls And Thwaites

(30/9/06 - SP)  Please tell the Macedon Ranges' community exactly where the government stands on giving us back State level planning protection, says MRRA

MRRA last week sent a letter to the Premier Steve Bracks, the Minister for Planning Rob Hulls and Minister for Environment and Water John Thwaites asking to meet with them to discuss the government's final position before the November 25 State election on whether or not it intends to give Macedon Ranges the planning controls it needs - at State level - to keep the Shire rural, protect water catchments and stop the towns becoming suburbs.  The Bracks government promised that protection in 1998 but has not delivered.

 

Copies of the letter were also provided to current State Upper and Lower House representatives (Joanne Duncan (Labor), Macedon; Geoff Howard (Labor), Ballarat East; Dianne Hadden (Independent), Ballarat province; John McQuilten (Labor), Balllarat Province), asking for their help and support.  Dianne Hadden has of course already raised the issue in parliament and received a response from Minister Hulls indicating Macedon Ranges is already protected, when it is not.

 

MRRA has received a response from the Premier, who has referred the matter to Ministers Hulls and Thwaites.  Click here to see MRRA's letter.  Click here to see Minister Hulls' press release.

 

A Sad, Sad Day For Macedon Ranges:  Minister For Planning's Media Release Says His Government Protects The Beauty Of Mt. Macedon And Stops Suburbia Stretching Into The Foothills Of Mt. Macedon - That's Just Not True

(3/9/06 - SP)  Tells Dianne Hadden Macedon Ranges is already protected too.  How can a Minister get it so wrong?

The Minister for Planning's media release (23 August 2006) says the Liberal party’s policies would be bad for Macedon Ranges: e.g. a brutal plan that will wreck the beauty of Mt. Macedon; will come at a cost of losing the ‘lungs of Melbourne’; will threaten the water catchments (on Melbourne’s doorstep) that provide drinking water; will see suburbs stretching into the foothills of Mt. Macedon and unbridled development instead of preserving the things that make us special.

 

How would that differ from what's happening under the Bracks government?

 

The government that has failed - refused - to deliver its 1998 promise to protect the Macedon Ranges as an environmentally sensitive area, instead implementing a not-so-hidden growth agenda... that has allowed Macedon Ranges to become a speculator’s dream, abandoned to subdivision and suburbanisation...  that has allowed Macedon Ranges to go from a drinking water catchment area that provided water to Melbourne, to a place which now depends on drinking water from Melbourne... that has left our communities, towns, rural land and fragile environment reeling.

 

Ironically, the Minister describes the sensitivity of Macedon Ranges with words similar to those MRRA has put to the government trying to convince it to re-instate State level planning protection, to give Macedon Ranges equivalent protection to that Yarra Ranges has.  We have asked in vain.  The stumper is, Minister Hulls seems to think the government has protected Macedon Ranges.  That's not what the facts say; that's someone's 'spin'.  Who?

 

The Minister goes further off track in his response to a request from independent MP Dianne Hadden in parliament on 7 June, 2006.

 

Dianne said, in part: "The action I seek from the minister is to urgently restore the state significance policy protection status for the Macedon Ranges before the local communities and magnificent rural land and ranges are lost forever."

 

In reply, the Minister compounds the errors in his media release by saying his government is protecting Macedon Ranges with a policy statement [that same statement isn't enough on its own to protect Yarra Ranges], with strategic planning, i.e. the Gisborne Outline Development Plan [stalled, we hear, at Bendigo DSE because the Department wants more people in Gisborne than the ODP plans for]; the Planning for a Sustainable Future project [out of money, brief not completed]; the Bendigo Corridor Strategy [no consultation with the Macedon Ranges community]; and the Kyneton Urban Design Framework [how does this project further protecting the Shire's State significance?].

 

The Minister goes on to say that having Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 as Local Policy provides equivalent protection as State level policy does for Yarra Ranges, and that Amendment C48 stops the carve up of rural land.

 

He disagrees the Macedon Ranges are "having to accept outer Melbourne suburbia in their green wedges" [?], and says "typical suburban type development can only occur in urban zones in the towns" - isn't that one of the problems?.

 

He finishes off with "the government is committed to the autonomy of local communities creating their own future... and it would be inappropriate for the State to determine how Macedon Ranges Shire Council and community should develop its planning scheme" [which translates as the State government will continue to turn its back on Macedon Ranges Shire and its community, and on its responsibility to protect this State significant area].  So it seems the government is saying our future is in our Council's hands.  Not a comforting thought, is it?  Some might say that on that basis, Macedon Ranges doesn't have a future...

Click here for:

Minister Hulls'  Media Release

Dianne Hadden's Question in Parliament & the Minister's Response

 

MRRA Says:

 

If ever there was a case of 'black' being called 'white', this has to be it.

 

The Bracks government promised protection for Macedon Ranges in 1998;  former Planning Minister Thwaites agreed to elevate Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to State policy;  former Planning Minister Mary Delahunty agreed to protect, and put up $70,000 to start it off the same day in 2004 she met with MRRA and made the commitment.  Doesn't the Bracks government look just a tad silly to now say "You're protected"?  To say Macedon Ranges has green wedges when it doesn't?  To say local policy has the same weight as State policy when much of the State is up in arms at local policy being overridden by State policy at VCAT?

 

As MRRA said after we met Minister Hulls last year, the government's message to our residents then was "No Money, No Help: Macedon Ranges, you're on your own".   After these latest responses, and despite a looming election, that message doesn't seem to have changed, and the government still doesn't seem to think "Macedon Matters".

 

Our thanks to Dianne Hadden for raising this matter in parliament, and sharing the Minister's response with MRRA.

 

Where Is Western Water's Newly Declared Macedon Sewerage District Taking Us?

(16/7/06 - SP)  Side-steps Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to set a very different agenda for future development

Western Water recently gave formal notice of its new sewerage district in Macedon.  Problem is, the sewerage district includes some large undeveloped lots in conservation-zoned areas that have been off-limits to development for 35 years.  A slice of Rural Living zoned land is also included.  At the same time, some areas in the Macedon township currently zoned low density residential aren't in the new sewerage district (low density res is currently the smallest lot development permitted in Macedon).  Looking at the new sewerage district, it's hard to fathom the logic of it.  The implications of it are much clearer.  In Council's recently-exhibited Small Towns Study recommendations are made to rezone [conservation-zoned] areas within the Macedon sewerage district for residential subdivision and development to take advantage of the new sewerage infrastructure, and to also rezone some existing low density residential areas to allow smaller lot development.  Both of which would of course completely change the character of Macedon.

 

Yet Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds, which sits over this area, says there must be no further subdivision generally north of Macedon township.  If existing large lots are rezoned and developed because of the sewerage district, there will be subdivision generally north of Macedon township.  Which will win?  Will the now fragile policy hold despite the sewerage district or, courtesy of Western Water, will Mount Macedon and Macedon blend into a single entity?

 

MRRA Says:

 

Why put sewer where land would never be developed?  It seems in this instance at least, Western Water has gone further than service provider and, wittingly or unwittingly, has taken on the role of policy-maker.  The unwritten policy that flows from the Macedon sewerage district is development that will overturn 35 years of planning protection for, and separation of, Macedon and Mt. Macedon.  Western Water has the option of refining the Macedon sewerage district boundaries to bring them into line with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8.   MRRA urges Western Water to do exactly that.

 

MRRA has super-imposed Macedon sewerage district boundaries over planning scheme maps.  Click here to see the result.

 

The Urban Conversion: 'Victoria In Future' Growth Projections and The Hidden Agenda For A Suburban Macedon Ranges

(30/4/05 - SP) If you've been wondering why the State government hasn't delivered its seven year old promise to protect Macedon Ranges Shire, wonder no more.   See Report…