04 March, 2010

Property Council of Australia Wants Politics Out of Planning !

Victorian Executive Director, Jennifer Cunich, wants to establish a single planning authority to take over from the government and councils and to take the community out of the planning process.The Property Council represents the planning and development industry.
She wants " experts" to make the decisions on planning including land use, infrastructure,  public transport,infil development, etc. independent of from both councils and the government.Wow!
Ms Cunich uses the words "independent authority" and it may be that what she wants is a return to something like the old Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works. Independence is hard to achieve in the area of planning. Take VCAT for instance, it is supposed to be independent but Tribunal Members who sit on planning issues are mostly planners, architects, etc. who's professions are relevant upon the development industry for their income. That is hardly independent is it? And we know just how badly residents who object at VCAT are treated. Developers win because of the bias and their ability to outspend us at hearings.
Ms Cunich's hasn't said it, but we are certain that she would expect "expert" planners to be a major part of the so called "Independent Authority". There is nothing new in her idea, the planning profession has been pushing centralized planning by "experts" for many years.  This would mean the general community, residents and our councils would be removed from the planning process. (We are certain that the government would retain influence over such an "independent authority" just as they do at VCAT).
That would mean the end of democracy in this state. We would have no say what happens in our suburbs. The development industry would be in control. That is unacceptable.

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