From yesterday’s Legislative Assembly sitting –

Glen Eira residential planning

Mr DIMOPOULOS (Oakleigh)—I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Planning. The action I seek is a commitment from the minister to visit Carnegie in the city of Glen Eira to see firsthand the impact of new dwellings on local residential areas. I further ask for the input of my local community to be considered in any future decision-making on Victorian planning matters.

Planning issues are generally very emotive for local communities, with many individual groups having input and/or being directly affected by the rules and regulations that are in place at any given time. This includes but is not limited to local residents, the local council, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and VicRoads as well as developers. Many areas within the city of Glen Eira have undergone significant change in recent years, including Carnegie and Ormond. While these changes are not unique in Melbourne, there is a great level of community feeling about planning my local area.

I have personally been contacted by numerous local residents expressing their concern about what they believe to be overdevelopment in the neighbourhood.

While I recognise that some certainty has been provided in the past for many residents, others have not been so fortunate and have been built out or are subject to living next to large buildings which have not been in keeping with the neighbourhood or which create an impact on local facilities like roads and parking.

Carnegie has had more than its fair share of high-rise development, and residents are now rightly saying enough is enough.

We all understand that there is a need for appropriate housing, and it makes sense that many new dwellings are located close to important infrastructure like train stations, tram routes and shopping areas. However, I believe there has to be an appropriate balance between satisfying the demand for new housing and limiting the negative impact on existing neighbourhoods. That balance needs to start with the local council, but the state government also has a crucial role to play. I look forward to a visit by the Minister for Planning to my community and encourage him to meet on site with relevant parties to enable a more comprehensive awareness of local concerns.

Responses

MrWYNNE (Minister for Planning)—I thank the member for Oakleigh for raising an adjournment matter in relation to residential zones. As we know, this was an initiative of the previous government and the previous Minister for Planning, who sought to put in place a framework for the way in which we deal with issues of population and where people will be housed going forward. This is the great challenge for governments.

Population projections suggest that we will have to house a further 100 000 people a year in Victoria, within both broader metropolitan accommodation and regional cities.

The most recent regional showcase, the Regional Victoria Living Expo held last week, was again another overwhelming success. People are voting with their feet and looking for opportunities for quality housing and lifestyle in regional Victoria. Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and the Latrobe Valley, because of their significantly upgraded public transport links and fast train networks, provide people with the ability to commute between their homes and Melbourne or, with flexibility of employment, to balance their employment and family lifestyles.

When we came to government it was clear that for residents of many municipalities the residential zones process left a bad taste in their mouths. People felt shut out of the process and the response to their legitimate concerns about how the zones were implemented was less than satisfactory. On coming to government I indicated that we would allow the residential zones process to complete its work and that the independent panel process would be completed, and that has now happened. I also indicated that we would let the dust settle a little, because many communities have been over-planned, and then in the second half of this year we would look at it again to see how the housing strategies that were put in place have been outcomes right across the metropolitan area, and there are opportunities for us to review this in an  independent way and to learn from what was, in many respects, a flawed process because it did not take communities along with it. Ultimately communities have to be part of the conversation, and they will always be part of the conversation with a Labor government. I have the honour of being the Minister for Planning, and I will always consult with communities about how we take these challenges forward, because a collective effort is required for us to house 100 000 people every single year.

I welcome the contribution of the member for Oakleigh, and I will take up his invitation to talk to his community and to the council, and that will be part of my early consultative work in thinking through how to establish in the second half of this year a further independent process to review the residential zones. I welcome the member’s intervention tonight.

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