Miscellaneous


Thanks to the Stonnington agenda, we now know that the state government’s promise to facilitate social housing is a step closer. We’ve uploaded Stonnington’s submission, plus provided extracts from their officer’s report. Whether or not this will be another example of government policy railroaded through on the back of poorly drafted legislation and with little thought given to the countless loopholes that can be exploited, remains to be seen.

Here are the officer report extracts –

Proposed Planning Reforms

Council was notified on 22 May 2017 that the Minister for Planning is seeking feedback on proposed reforms to the Victoria Planning Provisions to provide permit exemptions or streamline permit application processes for specified accommodation land uses.

Comments on the proposed reforms are due by Friday, 16 June 2017. Due to the short consultation timeframe and the timing of Council report cycles, this provides Council a short time frame to review the reforms and prepare a submission for Council endorsement.

Facilitation of public housing

The Government argues that there is a pressing need to increase the supply of social housing in Victoria. The reforms are intended to help support government policy to replace ageing public housing stock and develop new public housing.

The reforms seek to streamline the planning permit process for the development of no more than 10 dwellings on a lot by, or on behalf of, a public authority such as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It exempts assessment under Clause 55 (ResCode) and car parking requirements if specified requirements are met. In addition, it exempts an application from public notice and review requirement

Rooming house

The term “shared housing” is proposed to be replaced by the term “rooming house” (a newly defined land use term under Clause 74 of the Planning Scheme) which clarifies that other land uses such as a backpackers accommodation, boarding houses and hostels cannot benefit from the provision. The provision proposes to provide a permit exemption for use and development of land for a rooming house where specified requirements are met supporting the development of ‘domestic scale’ rooming houses under the proposed draft provisions.

The requirements propose limits of 12 persons, 8 bedrooms and a gross floor area of 300 square metres. It proposes to exempt applications by public authorities from public notice and review requirements.

Council is not confident that the draft controls will result in a high level accommodation that is respectful of its neighbourhood character, context or surrounding amenity.

The draft controls propose to provide a reduced assessment threshold to a proportion of Public Housing, Community Care Accommodation and Rooming Houses. This raises concern in relation to whether adequate levels of internal amenity, managing off -site amenity impacts and how successful integration of development within its neighbourhood context will be achieved.

The lower assessment threshold may lead to an increase in such developments, creating a loop hole for the development of sub -standard accommodation if the buildings are retro fitted into private apartment buildings in the future.

It is also considered that the Clauses as drafted will pose challenges in the extent of public notice and review exemptions. The lack of notice and review means that where otherwise affected parties would be able to make submissions, there will not be an opportunity to do so.

The proposed exemption from notice and review may result in a disconnected community and potentially increased compliance expectations on Council

Stonnington’s submission uploaded HERE

CLICK TO ENLARGE

PS – FINALLY THE ‘SLAP ON THE WRIST’ TO COUNCIL FROM THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT

Wynne’s announcement of his ‘vision’ for Plan Melbourne continues the Matthew Guy tradition of:

  • releasing major news late on the eve of a weekend or long weekend
  • misleading and deceptive spin aimed at the uninformed and ignorant
  • no documents that provide the full details – ie nothing on the department’s website as to the actual amendments
  • 8 months to ‘consider’ the advisory committee’s report that remains ‘secret’

Result? Developers and their cohorts continue to exert undue influence to the detriment of communities!

CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Greens, independents say council fight set to be fairer after how-to-vote cards scrapped

Megan Bailey, Cranbourne Leader

September 2, 2016 2:15pm

CHANGES to postal ballot packs could make council elections fairer by making it harder for hopefuls relying on dummy candidates to get votes. State politicians last week voted to ban how-to-vote cards in postal ballot packs.The move was sought by the Liberals and backed by the Nationals and Greens.

Labor voted to keep the cards in the packs earlier this year, saying removing them would increase informal voting.

The change will mean that election candidates who plan to use dummies will have to spend more money sending their preference information to voters or pay to mail out brochures for dummy candidates running on their behalf.

“This is a good move but we’re yet to hear whether the VEC have been told by the government that these will be the rules for the election,” Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said.“We hope the government doesn’t do something dodgy to try and reinstate preferences and stooge candidates.”

Former Casey councillor Steve Beardon, who said he was now planning to run in October, said the decision was great news.“Independents have the greatest opportunity now more than ever to take control of council and return it to the people, to our communities,” he said.

Rex Flannery, who earlier in the year told Leader he felt he had no choice but to use dummy candidates in this election, said it would even the playing field for independents. “Four years ago when I ran in the Springfield Ward, I was subjected to eight candidates out of eleven placing myself at the bottom of the ballot paper,” he said. “This will make way for fewer dummy candidates running and give all independents a fairer chance of winning. “Only those candidates who want a chance to become a councillor will publish a brochure to send out to the residents and they will see who the real candidates are.”

Cr Gary Rowe, who will stand for election this year, said the decision may stop the manipulation of the election process.“There will still be “dummies” running in every ward but hopefully fewer of them,” he said. “They can be identified by lack of a genuine campaign, checking the flow of preferences and where they end up.“The ‘real’ candidate is the ultimate beneficiary of the preference flow.”

Monash councillor Geoff Lake said changes to how-to-vote cards were ‘overwhelmingly opposed’ by councils.  “If the opposition consulted councils, like the government recently did on this very issue, they would be aware that the overwhelming majority of the local government sector opposed this change,” he said. “Voters who are used to receiving a how to vote card whenever they vote are now going to be on their own when voting at these elections — in some situations with more than 20 boxes to number.”

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/greens-independents-say-council-fight-set-to-be-fairer-after-howtovote-cards-scrapped/news-story/ba230ecff55d88bf39bbdb56b38031df

COMMENT

We welcome the absence of How-toVote cards in the election packs sent out to residents. This will not remove dummy candidates  but it will ensure that it makes it that much more difficult for votes to be steered and manipulated in a specific direction.

The Leader article however is not 100% correct. Those councils undertaking attendance voting will still be permitted to hand out How-to-Vote cards in their election packs. Glen Eira has opted for postal voting.

Below we feature part of the ‘application’ process that candidates have to fill out. Question 4 is basically useless in that it asks candidates if they are ‘endorsed’ by any political party. Given that only the Greens officially ‘endorse’ candidates it reveals nothing about the candidates political leanings, nor does it reveal if they happen to be a member of either the Libs or Labor. When the flyers start arriving in letter boxes we urge all residents to carefully scrutinise candidates’ preferences.

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