On the 25th February 2015, both sides of politics passed this motion in parliament.

That in accordance with standing order 11.01, there be tabled in the Council, by 12 noon on Wednesday, 11 March 2015, a copy of the report prepared for the Minister for Planning by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee concerning draft amendment C125 relating to the city of Bayside.

Amendment C125 relates in part to Bayside’s attempt to basically overturn the Residential Growth Zones in its municipality. We will refrain from commenting on the performance of this Standing Advisory Committee thus far and its previous recommendations concerning Kingston, Moreland, Moonee Valley and so on. What is of interest in the debate are the comments representing all sides of politics.

We also suggest that when reading the following, readers keep in mind what occurred in Glen Eira – that is: secrecy, no consultation, and deliberate obfuscation in response to various public questions.

MR DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan)…… This is about the shape of our suburbs. This about residential amenity. I put on record as a general principle my belief that there is great scope for transit-orientated developments with a focus on higher density in and around transport nodes, but it must be done in a way that brings the community with the proposals. It needs to have full community consultation, and councils and the community need to be working in harmony to see developments like that accepted and brought forward. They must be designed in a way that is sympathetic to the community.

This motion is a narrow one. It seeks to make public that report by the panel. I can indicate that the opposition will make some further decisions when we see that report, but it is clear that amendment C125 and the proposals around it need some significant further work. The panel report is a key document that should be in the public domain to inform public debate, and for that reason this motion is in the public interest.

Ms DUNN (Eastern Metropolitan)—In short, the Greens certainly support this motion. We support open and transparent government and of course we support the release of the planning panel report in relation to amendment C125 to the Bayside planning scheme. What is important in relation to this is what the community thinks about the nature and shape of their suburbs. It involves the character, amenity and built form of the area, and certainly planning scheme amendments provide ample opportunity for those matters to be picked up through design and development overlays and schedules attached to the planning scheme.

The planning panel report will provide an opportunity to see how those consultations went. It will be interesting to understand the length and breadth of the contributions and how many people had an opportunity to participate. The reality is that this is about the shape and nature of our suburbs and of Melbourne, so it is important that communities share that journey when we are talking about matters as important as planning scheme amendments and the difference between general residential zones and residential growth zones. Certainly the Greens support the release of this planning panel report, and we look forward to seeing what is contained within it.

Mr SOMYUREK (Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade)—The Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee has prepared its report on amendment C125 to the Bayside planning scheme and has submitted it to the department for assessment. The Minister for Planning will shortly be briefed on the recommendations of the independent committee for his review. Once a decision has been made by the Minister for Planning the report will be released. It is in no-one’s interests to prolong the debate, and the Minister for Planning requires suitable time to assess the independent committee’s recommendations without interference. If the committee report is released prior to a decision being made, proponents and the community will continue to make submissions on the substantive matter and the panel report. This does not add to the quality or timeliness of the decision-making.

There is a clear and transparent process for consideration of these proposed amendments, and it is important that this process is honoured. While it is at the minister’s discretion as to whether to release the committee report, I can confirm that the minister will release the report once he has been briefed and a decision has been made.

This government is committed to clear and transparent decision-making that takes into account the views of the community. We were very concerned about the mismanagement of the process for the rollout of the new zones and will be undertaking a full review.

Motion agreed to.

PS: From this week’s Leader ‘Letter to the Editor’.

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