Archive:   Development Assessment Committees [DACs]

Last Updated  29/3/10



Dastardly DACs Go Through Upper House With Only Greens And DLP Opposed

(19/11/09 - P)  Read it and weep

The detested Development Assessment Committee legislation passed through parliament on 10th November, and received Royal Assent on 17 November. DACs are now law, and some will say this legislation gives the Minister for Planning almost total control while there will be almost total loss of any say or power by residents or councils.


The Legislation

Click here to access the Planning Legislation Amendment Act to see the changes that have been approved.


The Debate

The debate on the DAC's legislation last week is revealing.  Minister for Planning admitted that he knew nothing about the involvement of his electoral office in the Brimbank scandal and he also admitted he did not know of his department's approval of the beer barn at Docklands. Read the debate and you will be astonished, angry and sad.  You will learn that the Minister for Planning does not know much about how the DAC legislation will work either yet he has been given over-riding powers to do virtually whatever he wants.  Click here to see the debate.


The Vote

From the 10 November Legislative Council (Upper House) Minutes, here's how the vote went.



12   PLANNING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2009 (NO.2) — Debate resumed on the question, That the Bill be now read a second time.


Question — put.


The Council divided — The President in the Chair


AYES, 35

Mr Atkinson

Ms Broad

Mrs Coote

Mr Dalla-Riva (Teller)

Ms Darveniza

Mr D.M. Davis

Mr P.R. Davis (Teller)

Mr Drum

Mr Eideh

Mr Elasmar

Mr Finn

Mr Guy

Mr Hall

Ms Huppert

Mr Jennings

Mr Koch

Mrs Kronberg

Mr Leane

Mr Lenders

Ms Lovell

Mr Madden

Ms Mikakos

Mr O’Donohue

Mr Pakula

Mrs Petrovich

Mrs Peulich

Ms Pulford

Mr Rich-Phillips

Mr Scheffer

Mr Smith

Mr Somyurek

Mr Tee

Ms Tierney

Mr Viney

Mr Vogels



Mr Barber (Teller)

Ms Hartland

Mr Kavanagh (Teller)

Ms Pennicuik



Question agreed to.


Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the whole.


House in Committee.


Bill reported without amendment, the Report was adopted, and the Bill was read a third time and passed.


Bill returned to the Assembly with a Message acquainting them that the Council have agreed to the Bill without amendment.


Like The Proverbial Bad Smell, DACs Keep Hanging Around

(30/10/09 - P)  The dreaded Development Assessment Committees are on their way back to the Upper House - email your support for a "NO" outcome to Opposition members

The Development Assessment Committees legislation is heading back to State Parliament.    It has not yet been debated or voted on in the Upper House, but comes back on Tuesday 10 November


DACs are 'independent' committees which make planning decisions instead of Councils. 


Here's one person's view of the legislation MRRA received from a member of its network:

Having read through the [Development Assessment Committees] Bill it is worse than I had thought.  It really puts the power into the hands of the Minister to do whatever he wants in all Activity Centres.   He appoints 3 out of the 5 [DAC] committee members.  The other 2 can be Council officers or Councillors, who will in effect have no control, as they can easily be outvoted.

What does this legislation do?  For example, is there street level parking in your shopping centre?  It could be taken it over and built on, and there is nothing you or your Council can do.

Put that together with the proposed changes to the Planning & Environment Act that are coming through which give anyone, including developers, the right to ask the Minister to amend a planning scheme - to rezone land or change protective overlays eg tree protection or heritage overlays -  so they can build whatever they want anywhere. Plus giving the minister increased powers of compulsory acquisition.

Think what real trouble we in the community are in.

Then please take action again and send off emails to the Opposition parties - Liberals, Nationals, Greens, DLP - in the Upper House asking, urging, begging them to oppose the DACs legislation.  We need to put the pressure on.


Here are the email addresses you need:

Ted Baillieu (Liberals)

Peter Ryan (Nationals)

Greg Barber (Greens)

Peter Kavanagh (DLP)


DACs Are Back!

(10/10/09 - P)  Dreaded "rights-remover" legislation touted to come back to the Upper House next Tuesday (13th)

The horrid Development Assessment Committee bill which takes away residents' rights on planning issues and also takes the power to make planning decisions away from Councils, is due to come back to the Upper House next Tuesday, 13th October.  The DACs bill was previously defeated in the Upper House, and Tuesday represents the State government's second go at getting the bill across the line.


Information is that the Upper House session will start at 3.30pm and go until... whenever.  So no guarantee of what time the debate or vote will be. 


MRRA Says:

Our  ability to have a say is disappearing day by day as they dream up more and more ways of taking away our rights. Be great to have some of you there to show them we are angry.


Development Assessment Committee [DACs] Debate Deferred Until 13 October

(18/9/09  - P)  Get your emails and messages to Upper House opposition members today - this legislation just can't go through!  Also, Joanne Duncan's "bizarre" comments on population growth.


Yesterday, debate on the Development Assessment Committee Bill was deferred until 13 October.  This means there is time for the people of Victoria to make it clear to our Upper House opposition lawmakers that the DACs Bill, with its dire implications for democracy, is not something the people want to see supported.  See our earlier story - Greens and DLP will not support DACs.


Below are three 'hot off the press' items from CanDoBetter about the DACs legislation and related issues.  One item of great interest (Item 3) to Macedon Ranges' residents is a report on Macedon MP Joanne Duncan's "bizarre" comments on population growth.  Click here for a fuller report on Joanne's comments.


1 DACs 2: Intro to Highlights: 16-17 October reading of Planning Amendment 2 in Victorian Parliament

The Planning Amendment Bill 2 (DACs) was read yesterday in the lower house and today in the upper house (Victoria, Australia) but has not yet been debated and will come back on the 13th October. Victorians are urged to put pressure on Opposition MPs to not cave in on this and to OPPOSE it. Please start emailing them all and telling them what you think. And put October 13 in your diary to be in Parliament for the debate and voting.


See also DACs 2: Highlights: Macedon Member Duncan makes bizarre statements about population growth in Victoria and DACs 2 Highlights: "The Bill is a very blunt instrument" (Mr Morris, Mornington, Victoria)


2 DACs 2 Highlights: "The Bill is a very blunt instrument" (Mr Morris, Mornington, Victoria)

"This bill is a very blunt instrument. This is not calling in one application and this is not calling in two applications; this is calling in the whole planning process. It is taking the entire planning process away from local government and the local community."


3 DACs 2: Highlights: Macedon Member Duncan makes bizarre statements about population growth in Victoria

Labor Government member, Ms Joanne Duncan, described Melbourne as having to choose between sprawl or unpopular high density housing. Then she said, "Another option is to somehow put a moratorium on any population increase and have all manner of totalitarian measures to reach that end. All of those are completely unacceptable, so we will continue to have population growth." In fact population growth would slow down of its own accord, with no coercion, if the government simply stopped forcing up the immigration rate and giving out baby bonuses. Democracy is decreasing with population increase, yet Ms Duncan pretends that to allow the population to grow or stabilise or shrink at its natural pace would somehow require totalitarianism.  What's the story here?  


MAY DAY! MAY DAY! State Government Puts Gun To Opposition's Head

LATEST - Government will try to rush this though the Upper House this afternoon (17/9/09)

(17/9/09 - SG)  Compromise on Development Assessment Committees [DACs] or go to an election 


A few months ago, the State government's plans for forcing Development Assessment Committees [DACs] on Victoria came unstuck when the legislation was defeated in the Upper House by the unified vote of all members of the Opposition (Liberals, Nationals, Greens and DLP).  Word just in is that the State government wants these DACs so badly (coincidentally, they are also supported by the development industry), it is apparently prepared to call a State election over it!   


A Planning Backlash alert calls on Victorians to lobby the Liberal and National parties to not give in to the government's demand for compromise.  Planning Backlash advises that the Greens and Peter Kavanagh of the DLP will not support DACs.


MRRA is urging residents in Macedon Ranges and our networks to send an email to Ted Baillieu (Liberal Opposition leader) and Peter Ryan (National Party leader) asking them to stand up to this increasingly despotic State government.


Here are the email addresses:


Ted Baillieu


Peter Ryan


MRRA Says:

Say 'no more'.  This grubby move simply confirms what is becoming clearer every day.  People, democracy and the environment seem to not even be on the horizon with this government.  The only thing that counts seems to be staying in power, and tearing up all principles of that should flourish in a healthy, sustainable democracy.


Get those emails in today if you want to retain your rights to have access to planning decisions


Restore Residents' Rights Protest Rally Gets Up Development Industry's Nose

(21/6/09 - P)  Yeehaa - success! 

Comments issued by the Property Council of Australia, in the wake of the June 10 community rally at parliament house protesting against the Victorian government removing Council and residents' planning rights, send a signal that the rally seems to have hit home. 


The day after the rally the all powerful Property Council of Australia - of which the Department of Planning and Community Development [DPCD] is a member - hit out against all those nasty 'nimbys' and 'bananas' who are trying to scuttle (its) planning 'reform'. 


Said the PCA:


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


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

"Growth is not a dirty word."


The organizers of the rally, Planning Backlash and the Coalition of Concerned Councillors, apparently took PCA's comments to mean the rally was a stunning success. Thanks to the PCA for providing such swift and comprehensive confirmation.  Click here to see every delicious word the Property Council of Australia had to say.  Enjoy.


MRRA Says:


Well, derrr!...  Are we right in thinking PCA just doesn't get democracy?  Nor apparently does it see local policy being as ineffectual as everyone else does.  Never mind, we will generously give them a gold star and elephant stamp for an exemplary display of self-interested, self-righteous, self-justifying spin.  Ho, ho - what a warm feeling we get from knowing "a vocal minority" can generate "heavy opposition".


Oh dear, can we put all this down as a bit of a dummy spit?  A wee tantie or two 'cos those 'unwashed' pests, the people, are jacking up about the PCA appearing to set itself up as a de facto government (hmm, or should that be the government setting itself up as a de facto development industry?). 


You bet your sweet pitootie residents are fighting the PCA's idea of 'reform' which is blatantly biased and intended to advantage the few (them) while ripping constitutional and democratic rights off 'the rest' (us) to shut us up and shut us down.  Help us out here - isn't that usually an attitude that provokes revolution?  Perhaps the development industry should turn its mind to the historical fate of those who indulge in despotic behaviour: all powerful, all controlling - for a while.  The wheel always turns, and there are a lot of people presently putting their shoulders to that wheel urging it on. 


Is growth a dirty word?  It is when it's a cancer, when it is rampant unchecked growth spreading without end, without discrimination, and without care for the damage being done to the host body.


Which brings us to the Department's membership of PCA.  No gold stars or elephant stamps for guessing what ideology and interests influence the department, and government.  We'd like to think that if Victoria is still a democracy, the department would be keen as mustard to equalize by becoming a member of community groups (plenty to choose from), if for no better reason than to dilute community perceptions of the department and government being in the development industry's pocket.  Um... or should that be the other way around??  Think of the glorious diversity and er, flexibility if not certainty that could permeate the department's thinking if it had such a dose of community values and spirit, not to mention picking up some basics about natural justice.  Revolutionary thought, indeed!


Our au revoir message to the PCA is, there are more of us than there are of you - and we all vote.  Cake, anyone?


Development Assessment Committees' Legislation Stopped In Upper House

(21/6/09 - P)  'Where to from here' depends on whether government finds a way around needing parliament's consent to change the law 

The day after the "Restore Residents Rights" rally at parliament house on June 10, which was attended by 300 - 400 people, Victoria's upper house rejected changes to the Planning and Environment Act that would have introduced Development Assessment Committees [DACs] to the State. 


Initially proposed for a limited number of metropolitan areas, the government's aim is to have this system of decision-making apply more broadly. The DAC system takes planning powers off Councils and hands them to majority government-appointed committees which then make planning decisions in Council's place, while Councils and community carry the financial costs of having DACs make the decisions for them.


MRRA Says:


Key concerns with DACs include a lack of clarity about accountability and transparency mechanisms, the breach of fundamental democratic principles and the community's right to know, and the potential for planning decisions to be driven by party politics and implementing specific development agendas without any obvious ability by the community to express their views to the decision-makers.  In their present proposed form, DACs are vulnerable to being 'stacked' politically, while cutting off Councils and communities from decisions that affect them.  Another concern is the inadequacy of the current planning system to produce outcomes that the community, as opposed to the developer, wants.


The whole DACs ideology captures and builds on a belief held at governmental level that all it takes to make a "good" planning decision is some 'tick boxes' and for applicants and decision-makers to settle it between themselves - no such thing as "no", just "whatever it takes".  You get to know about it when it happens.  So much for community ownership of decisions that affect the community!  And they wonder why we are all getting peed off!


As "Dave The Developer" said at the RRR rally, this a fantastic government - when us developers go in with 12 storeys in a 5 storey area, all they say is, is 12 enough?!!



"Dave the Developer" at the Restore Residents' Rights protest rally, June 10

Photo: Progress Leader


Chris Gaffney played the part of Dave the Developer and put on a great comedy act.  The whole show was the idea of the Darebin Appropriate Development Association and they had working bees to make the little houses and garden that were knocked over by the Bobcat.  In the photo you see the splendid high rise blocks called Brumby Towers and Villa de Maddening that rose in their place.


PS  We are working on getting more pictures of the rally, and will post them asap.


Development Assessment Committees [DACs] That Disempower Councils and Communities Are Coming Closer

(30/5/09 - P)  Shadow Minister For Planning, Matthew Guy, explains how DACs will impact on your Council 

The Brumby government has moved the Planning Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 through the lower house, and it is expected to go to the upper house of the Victorian parliament next week.  The Bill changes the Planning and Environment Act to allow the government to introduce centralized planning through Development Assessment Committees [DACs], where planning decisions are made not by Council but a Committee of 5, with the chair apparently appointed by the State government. 


Click here to see Matthew Guy's alert.

You can access the Bill (in its amended form) by going to ... parliamentary documents... ...Bills... ...Planning Legislation Amendment Bill 2009... ...choose Amended Print.  This will give you the Bill in its current form.  To understand more about the Bill, check the Introduction and Amended versions of the Explanatory Memorandum from the same web page. 


MRRA Says:

We've often given our Councils a serve and a spray for being planning dummies, and would welcome some improvement.  But not this way.  We've got just one word to say to the State government: Drop your DACs.


Victorian State Government Proposes To Reduce Councils' Planning Powers

(7/8/07 - SG)  Govt puts toe in water to test reaction to adopting South Australia's "centralized" planning decisions model.  MRRA says, hopeless as some Councils may be on planning, this definitely isn't the way to go.

Click here to see the full story...