Category Archives: Available To

SOS Update – July 2014 Election Lead-Up

In the lead-up to the state election, there are several important events coming up addressing issues vital to the democratic planning and liveability of Melbourne. Our Full Article can be found here

  • Accommodating population growth.
  • Upgrading infrastructure assets and services.
  • Living standards.
  • VCAT fees have risen astronomically.
  • The new Plan Melbourne strategy is unashamedly designed to facilitate development, not regulate it.

At the very least, we need a wide public debate on future planning for Victoria.

* The next Victoria First meeting is this Sat. 2 Aug. at 2 pm, at the Frankston Life Saving Club. Featuring Ian Hundley (PTUA) speaking on “The transport crisis in the Frankston area Continue reading

Backtrack, Dec.2013 – Critique of Plan Melbourne

First Posted By SOS – Posted on 04 December 2013 – keep this in mind when we publish the latest review over the coming weeks.

Plan Melbourne, VicSmart and New Residential Zones

The focus of Plan Melbourne is to drive delivery and facilitate development in general (Direction 7.1, p.163).  Virtually every aspect of the planning regime is to be modified to facilitate the economic vision of Plan Melbourne and make it “more relevant”.  This includes the entirety of each planning scheme – the new zones, changes to existing Overlays and Particular Provisions and the state and local planning policy frameworks (SPPF and LPPF) which will soon be rolled into one PPF.

Read more…...                                                            MAKE A SUBMISSION HERE

A more detailed version of this SOS analysis of Plan Melbourne can be found here

East West Link & Plan Melbourne undermined by resignation of advisory committee

 The integrity of the new draft planning strategy for Melbourne was thrown into doubt after it was revealed in December that the Minister’s Advisory Panel for Plan Melbourne had resigned over key transport concerns:…
Panel chair Roz Hansen publicly denounced the government’s $8 billion East-West Link in a submission to Melbourne Council’s “Future Melbourne Committee” on Dec.10, and called for Victorians to be given a choice on public transport issues.
Here’s a link to our previous article: Professor Hansen’s comments about the lack of justification for the EW Link and the failure of the State Government to respond to the demand for better public transport…..(12 min audio, Melb. City Council)

VCAT makes Hearing CDs available again after SOS lobby effort

From this update: SOS New Year Planning Update – 31 Jan.2014

VCAT makes Hearing CDs available again after SOS lobby effort
VCAT finally reinstated the availability of audio CD’s of hearings last November, at only slightly greater cost. On 26.11.12, VCAT had decided to terminate access to audio records of hearings, allegedly because some confidential legal comments might be picked up on the continuous recording Continue reading

East West Link – Roz Hansen Melb City Council Advice 2013-12-10

The recording below is an excerpt from the Melbourne City Council Meeting, where Roz Hansen points out that the East West link is not the number one priority for the City of Melbourne. Roz urges the Council to tell the CIS in their submission that in principle they have do not want the East West link.

Follow this link for the specific audio from the Future Melbourne Committee meeting, or go the the Melb City Council website for the entire meeting and minutes.

SOS comment on draft Metro Planning Strategy

Here’s what one veteran planner recently said about the draft MPS and its “20 minute city – living locally” motherhood objective:

“The idea that a key mission of planning in a city of 4-6 million people is to promote “living locally” as the headline objective is to misunderstand what a city is about”.

We agree.  Check out our submission on the draft MPS here. Continue reading

How a Council can undermine community consultation on planning – case study

The following case study reveals how Yarra City Council consistently subverted attempts by residents to persuade the council to address repeated flaws in the assessment of development applications.  Residents who were members of the Community Advisory Committee on Planning were not seeking to revise previous permit decisions but simply to persuade the council to at least learn from past mistakes by initiating procedures to improve future DA assessments.

There are lessons here for anyone dealing with council bureaucracies over contentious issues such as flawed permit application assessments.

This case study was undertaken as part of a Masters course in Planning at RMIT.  Further information is available from the author, who can be contacted at

NB 1:   The case analyses mentioned in the study that were referred to the DN Planning Audit can be found on this website under the Flawed Cases File.  There is also a link below to Council’s legal opinion admitting that there was no legal reason to prevent access to all documents in closed planning files.

NB 2:   On p.16 of the Study, Yarra Council is quoted as saying that all records of the 2003-2004 Community Advisory Committee meetings and all Council meeting records prior to 2003 were removed from the Yarra website in 2005.   However, as of Feb.2016, online records of council meetings are available dating back to 2007, confirming that Council’s real reason for deleting the 2003-2004 records only one year later was to remove information critical of the council, not because (as claimed) there was “not enough space on Council’s computer system”.

Open Case study Report here

Open References for the Report here

Public Access to Planning Files at Yarra – policy

Public Access to Council’s planning files – email letter from Maddocks Lawyers to Yarra CEO, 22.4.04  (note in particular pages 9 – 12 re access to closed files and relevant internal council memos)