Council Candidate Survey finds Victorians unhappy with direction of planning

SOS MEDIA RELEASE,  October 14, 2016:

Our state wide survey of council candidates for local government elections on 22 October indicates widespread community concern with the management and direction of planning in Victoria.

To date, about 450 candidates, from all backgrounds and political persuasion, have responded. The Survey is live and will continue until Election Day.

Candidates were first asked to list main local governance and planning issues in their area, providing a snapshot of key local issues across the State and revealing many common concerns.

Questions on improved governance received overwhelming support:
•    90% said we needed more transparency
•    85% support political donations reform
•    75% support stronger enforcement of permit conditions and oversight of building quality
•    70% said Council need more standardised financial reporting
•    60% support tighter planning controls to protect residents

Views were mixed on the benefit of the current development boom for housing affordability.
Views were also mixed on how to prioritise competing issues, such as “economic activity through construction” and long term environmental sustainability.

Candidates were asked about the vexed issue of political affiliation. Despite public interest and concern, there is much secrecy and little public information on political affiliation in Victoria.
Candidates responded about 64% with no affiliation, 8% Liberal, 13% Labor, 11% Green, 6% other.

Candidates were finally asked to give their view on “How happy do you think your local residents are with the way Victoria is being developed?”
•    27% “Very unhappy and concerned”
•    26% “Moderately unhappy”
•    27% said they thought that Victorians were unsure
•    18% “Moderately happy”
•    2% ” Very happy”

While the community survey has limitations due to bias and self selection, it is indicative of serious community concern and unhappiness with the direction of planning in Victoria. SOS members are concerned that Victoria’s liveability is being diminished by poor quality, poorly designed or excessive development. Inclusive local communities, local shops, safe streets and caring communities are not valued, let alone protected. Victorians from across the State, from different political spectrum and all backgrounds seem to share our concern.

The survey is supported by over two dozen community groups. Full details, supporters and results are posted below.