Posted 31/10/06



19th October, 2006






Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association [MRRA] has had an answer to its request for a meeting, with Premier Steve Bracks, Planning Minister Rob Hulls and Environment Minister John Thwaites, to discuss protecting Macedon Ranges from over-development.


The government’s reply came via former Macedon Ranges’ CEO and now head of the Department of Sustainability and Environment at Bendigo, Prue Mansfield.  It consisted of a covering letter from Ms. Mansfield and a copy of a letter Planning Minister Rob Hulls wrote to independent MP Dianne Hadden in August.  According to Ms Mansfield that letter “gives a detailed explanation of issues” and as a consequence, “there is little to be gained from meeting with… senior members of the Victorian State Government about this issue.”        


MRRA Secretary Christine Pruneau said, “We asked a civil question and those we asked it of didn’t have the decency to even send us their own reply.  It’s an arrogant response that also confirms the government won’t be lifting a finger to stop the suburban development juggernaut that is overwhelming the rural character of Macedon Ranges.  The Mansfield response is that there are no plans to make it State policy to protect Macedon Ranges from suburbia, and the Minister’s letter to Dianne Hadden in fact confirms suburbia will happen, saying “Typical suburban development can only occur…in the towns”.  The newsflash we have for the government is, ‘typical suburban development’ is exactly what people don’t want here.”  


Minister Hulls also told Dianne Hadden “I do not agree with your views that the Macedon Ranges are ‘having to accept outer Melbourne suburbia’ in their green wedges…”


Ms. Pruneau said, “What a furphy!  Not only is over-development happening, we’d like to know precisely when Macedon Ranges became a green wedge because even the government’s own Green Wedge legislation says we are not one.  After breaking promise after promise to protect us, it looks like the government is now trying to dupe people into believing it has already protected Macedon Ranges with green wedges, when that is simply not true.  MRRA is pretty sure residents living next to enforced ‘suburban utopia’ won’t have much trouble telling the government just how protected they feel!  


From this latest (final) response, it seems the government’s position of doing nothing is directly linked to an intention to continue rolling out its hidden agenda to turn Macedon Ranges into the next suburb of Melbourne - an agenda that’s also damaging our water catchments and sees us running out of water - and it doesn’t even have the courage to tell us.  Worse, it seems prepared to lie about it.  That leaves us in no doubt this government definitely isn’t going to stop over-development, and has no intention of keeping Macedon Ranges rural.   That’s something residents will need to consider carefully when they vote in November.”