Candidate Survey – Victorian planning in crisis

Results from our Candidate Survey are now rushing in. The survey is live and candidates can respond until election day.

The survey provides a snapshot of planning and infrastructure issues across Victoria. Candidates across the state and across the political spectrum share our concern that we have a crisis in planning in Victoria.

The most important areas of reform nominated are:

  •  “Improved public transport network”
  • Governance to protect integrity and transparency”
  • Diverse and affordable housing”

Trend results showed:

  • Over 90% support political donations reform
  • Over 90% think that the Planning Minister should publish advice relied on and reasons for decisions
  • Over 95% say we need to improve transparency, accountability and integrity

The survey was conducted by Save Our Suburbs and supported by 18 other community groups, representing thousands of concerned Victorians. The results were released on the SOS website today.

“The purpose of the survey was to draw candidates’ attention to key planning issues and to provide information for voters,” said Ann Birrell, SOS Vice President.

“Every week, groups like ours receive calls from distressed residents, trying to save their street, park or shopping strip.  People expect clear planning rules, integrity in governance and decisions in the long term public interest.”

“Instead they find a culture of secrecy and non disclosure, conflicts of interest, favoured access and undue influence, and a perception of corruption.”

“What can you say when the Planning Minister takes a decision from Council or the Courts to decide the matter behind closed doors, in favour of a political donor and does not even have to give reasons?”

“Once in Government both the Liberals and the ALP have a track record of continuing to deregulate our planning and governance system, in complete disregard for the long term public interest of Victorians. As a result we are about to see a third Victorian Government lose office on partly on planning issues.”

“Voters are entitled to know before the elections whether the next government will be any different from the last,” said Ann Birrell.

Live Trend Results:
Latest update of individual responses: 141122 Planning Survey Candidates RO


Most candidates have given detailed responses and attempted to grapple with the complexities of planning. It is disappointing that Liberal candidates have not responded. Nevertheless, the results provide a useful overview of planning and infrastructure issues, priorities and concerns across Victoria.

We are pleased to see some ALP candidates who may be part of the next Government express support for reform of VCAT and amendment of the Planning Act to better reflect community concerns and the public interest.

The trend results show some stark disparities between the views of independent and minor party candidates, and the Liberal and ALP policy and action to date:

  • Over 90% of respondents support reform of the Planning Minister powers, reforms not supported the Liberals and the ALP
  • Less than 5% felt Victorians support ‘the increasing deregulation and privatisation of planning that successive Governments have introduced over the last twenty years’. Only Rise Up Australia candidates expressed support for the Liberal and ALP policies of deregulation and privatisation

Other results include:

  • Over 95% support the ‘need to improve transparency, accountability and integrity’
  • Over 95% support 14 day reporting of all donations over $1000, with 85% supporting developer bans
  • Overwhelming support for greater precedence for Ecologically Sustainable Development (89%), Green Wedges (98%), public transport (95%) and for local policy and amenity (83%)
  • Over 90% support a requirement that the Planning Minister publish reasons for decisions
  • Over 80% support VCAT reform to make it fairer and more accessible

There is a serious level of uncertainty (28%) over the new planning zones.

Individual Results:

Transport issues, car dependence and lack of infrastructure planning are major concerns across Victoria.

Inappropriate development, overdevelopment and the lack of both consultation and objection rights were major urban concerns. Lack of planning for schools, loss of green open space and protection of the Green Wedges were wider common issues.

Many supported the governance concerns held by community planning groups and the ‘need to get planning and transport freed from political cycles.

Many rural candidates expressed concern about productive farm land being carved up for car-dependent new estates and concern about development on crown land, in sensitive landscapes and in national parks. Access to emergency services and internet coverage, hospitals and schools were major infrastructure needs. Others identified coal mines, wind farm restrictions and climate change emergencies as negative issues that need to be dealt with much better by government.

Groups supporting the Survey include:

Green Wedges Coalition
Protectors of Public Lands
Planning Backlash
Public Transport Users Association
Ratepayers Victoria Inc
Save Albert Park
Yarra River keepers Association
Docklands Community Association
Residents Against Inappropriate Development in Doncaster
Fitzroy Residents Association
West of Elgar Residents Association
East Enders
Western Region Environment Centre
Appropriate Development for Boronia Group
Darebin Appropriate Development Association
Citizens for a Liveable Melbourne
Moreland Planning Action Group
Save Moonee Ponds
Friends of Nillumbik
Blackburn Village Residents’ Group

 * Results are live, trends may vary a little over time. Current version to 22/11/14.