SOS eUpdate, 8 Feb 2013: Baillieu’s huge VCAT fee rises – have your say, and on the Metro Strategy

[SOS-12/13] Baillieu’s huge VCAT fee rises – have your say, and on the Metro Strategy


SOS member update, 8 February 2013:

Just when you thought planning “reforms” couldn’t get much worse…..….. VCAT fees are going to more than double!

The Attorney General has decided that VCAT should operate on a user-pays basis (totally against the original rationale that the tribunal should be a low-cost, accessible avenue of review for ordinary citizens).

So from March this year, the cost of lodging a VCAT appeal is set to jump from $322 to $732, and to over $1000 by 2015. There are other fee increases as well, including mediation which is free at present.  SEE SUMMARY HERE

You can make a submission against this “justice for the rich” via the Dept of Justice website

up until the 15 February deadline – that’s just two weeks before the new fee regulations come into effect on March 1st!   Yet another fait accompli……?

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These proposed fee rises come on the back of a raft of other piecemeal planning reforms that together will transform planning in Victoria into a deregulated nightmare for many communities.

First there was last year’s foreshadowed changes to the Planning Act and the “deja vu” deregulatory draft New Zones – more far-reaching than the residential zones that Labor wasn’t game to introduce in 2009, but with no strategic research this time.

And who could forget the insult to the intelligence that was VicSmart….

Parliament’s one-seat majority government passed laws to fast-track planning permits in 10 days while allowing the minister or his bureaucrats to privately decide later what sort of developments the new Code Assess would apply to!  And to ban councils from requesting further information because it was assumed developers would supply full and correct details with their initial application!  Really?  That often doesn’t even happen now!

Then we got hit with the draft Metro Planning Strategy, to be finalised later this year. The Discussion Paper (drafted with no community input – see DPCD website) is a series of motherhood statements but the thinking about the detail behind them is deregulation, as in other states.

It’s more of the same thinking that got us into our present planning, transport and infrastructure mess.  See the SOS analysis of the MPS on our website.

The only real community consultation on the draft MPS seems to be a few public meetings and surveys that a handful of residents groups are trying to whip up in the next few weeks.

We’ve discovered that an official “large community consultation event” was being planned for Feb.23 and has now apparently been moved to March 2.  But no-one except professional planners have been told about it yet, not even members of the public who registered on the “planmelbourne website”  to be notified about coming community events. I was told people would be notified last week – I’m still waiting….!

The residents of Melbourne have been ignored in the preparation of the new Metro Planning Strategy, yet the MPS is supposed to be the blue-print for the development of our city and its hinterland for the next 50 years!

We strongly suggest you go to the planmelbourne website  and make a submission by the extended date of March 28 – we don’t want them to be able to say that hardly anyone complained about the strategy or the non-existent community consultation process.

Happy New Year, folks…..

(NB:  the DPCD website “Melbourne – Le’s Talk About the Future”,-lets-talk-about-the-future 

still incorrectly shows the March 1st submission deadline – is the bureaucracy that disorganised, or….?)

……………………This is the first update for 2013 for Save Our Suburbs members.


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