Posted 6/9/07



Report On


Planning Backlash


Meeting With Planning Minister, Justin Madden (16 August 2007)



Click here to see MRRA's presentation. 



On August 16, MRRA attended a meeting with Planning and Community Development Minister, Justin Madden, as a member group of a Planning Backlash delegation, which included community, conservation and resident groups from mainly rural areas.   Around 40 to 50 people attended, under the Planning Backlash banner, from as far away as Apollo Bay, Bendigo and Venus Bay.


During the two hour meeting presentations were of an extremely high standard, and the delegation received a good hearing from the Minister.  The Association believes this is the first time in its memory that a Planning Minister has agreed to and participated in meetings with community representatives on this scale, and commends the Minister on taking this initiative. 


MRRA put rural issues on the front burner, raising concerns about how only the 'urban' parts of Melbourne 2030 are being (incorrectly) applied in Macedon Ranges and other rural areas, while there is no way to implement 2030's 'rural' parts that should be being applied.  We also asked for Melbourne 2030 to be clearly defined; highlighted the need for State level planning protection in Macedon Ranges, and protection for rural land and 'open' water catchments; and asked the Minister to consider creating a dedicated rural planning team within his department. 


Readers of this website will remember that before the State election in November 2006, the State Liberal Party, led by Ted Baillieu, recognized Macedon Ranges' significance and sensitivity by committing to implement a policy to restore State level planning protection to Macedon Ranges.   MRRA has now asked 1 Liberal and 4 Labor Planning Ministers to preserve and give back to Macedon Ranges the strong planning controls it needs to survive as an area of high environmental sensitivity.  To this end and to assist Minister Madden, the Association provided him with a copy of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds, the former State policy specific to Macedon Ranges, which MRRA is asking to be recognized, once again, as State policy.


MRRA also put the question "Does Anybody Know What Melbourne 2030 Is Producing?".  The Association had examined 2006 census data and picked up some highly interesting trends which suggest earlier 2004 Department of Sustainability and Environment populations projections, which stressed significant increases in over-60 and lone person households (and was interpreted as justifying massive development of units), were off target.   These trends also exposed a problem with the high number of additional dwellings created between 2001 and 2006, and the very significant number of dwellings that were unoccupied on census night in 2006.


Trends MRRA detected were Above Average Dwelling Growth;  Large Increases In Unoccupied Dwellings;  Negative Population Growth, Rampant Dwelling Growth;  Mis-Match Between Household Growth And Dwelling Growth;  “Over-60s” Grew But Projections Significantly Over-Estimated In Almost All Municipalities;  Variability In Lone Person Households (LPH);  and No Dramatic Down-sizing In Household Size.