Media Releases

Green Wedges to be protected and refreshed in latest Metropolitan Planning Strategy

Author: 
Green Wedge Coalition

The good news in Minister Wynne’s new Plan Melbourne Refresh is that Melbourne’s Green Wedges are safe, behind the locked-down Urban Growth Boundary that was an election pledge of the Andrews Government.

More good news is that the new plan builds on and provides much-needed detail to former Minister Guy’s original 2014 Plan Melbourne, which also committed to a permanent Urban Growth Boundary.

Let’s hope this heralds more collaborative planning and ends the practice by new governments of throwing out old, often sound policies and bringing in more development-oriented ones. Effective planning requires consistency, commitment and long-term vision.

We still need the Government to review and tighten controls on inappropriate develop-ments allowed in by the last Government’s deregulation of green wedge zones, especially the Rural Conservation Zone. Minister Wynne told us he would review the Green Wedge and Rural zones after he had reviewed the residential zones. We hope this will now be soon.

In the meantime we are battling applications like:

  • A “cleanfill” application at Oaklands Junction, where a developer wants to cover good farmland and environmentally significant grassland with up 600,000 tonnes of perfectly good soil generated by wasteful development practices;
  • Various communities applying  to set up large urban-style  residential and community developments: (a 3000-seat centre in Carrum Downs, a church in Lyndhurst with 23 metre towers and footprint twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral,  a mosque in Narre Warren North; a brewery, a private school carpark  and restaurants with double the maximum number of patrons on  Mornington Peninsula.

Our members are also striving to save endangered species and significant landscapes on former green wedge land rezoned by former Labor and Liberal governments  in 2010 and 2012, for instance the Jacksons Creek Valley near Emu Bottom in Sunbury, Growling Grass Frogs in Merri Creek and Southern Brown Bandicoot habitat in  South East Growth corridor. 

Please attribute these comments to Kahn Franke, president of the Green Wedge Protection Group  and the Green Wedges Coalition, 0456 701 663, Rosemary West,  Green Wedges Coordinator rowest@ozemail.com.au;   0418 554 799,   or Alan Thatcher, GWC secretary, 0417 387 678 alancthatcher@gmail.com;   To contact  delegates from other Green Wedges, see attached constituent membership list. 

Background:

  1. Sunbury Residents Association is battling to protect the Jacksons Creek Valley

 from encroaching suburban development around Victoria’s oldest homestead, Emu Bottom;  Contact Trevor Dance, tdtd@ozemail.com.au0413822214  for more information see: https://www.change.org/p/victorian-government-save-jacksons-creek-valley sunbury?recruiter=149425465&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

2.The need to protect the Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ):

We have particular concern about the undermining of the Rural Conservation Zone,

which covers much of the Green Wedges as well as rural land around the water catchments, high fire risk areas and most privately-owned environmentally significant land.  

As part of their deregulation of the planning scheme to promote an anything goes approach, the previous government  removed the “in conjunction”  requirement and minimum lot sizes from the RCZ for tourist and other uses and allowed schools, trash and treasure markets and ‘innominate uses’ (ie uses not named in the planning scheme) to be approved by Council permits, where previously they were prohibited.  We are disturbed that this is likely to mean:

  • diminished concern for environmental conservation ( a primary purpose for Green Wedges);
  • diminished protection for our drinking water catchments and conservation areas in the new urban growth areas and in the rural areas;
  • diminished concern for increasing fire risk and the need for rural buffers;
  • diminished concern for  the substantial amount of agriculture in the RCZ in, for example, Nillumbik & Manningham Green Wedges, as well as Frankston and Casey

The Rural Conservation Zone as it stands is apparently to be opened up to all manner of urban development,   allowing restaurants, residential hotels, group accommodation, rural store and motels on lots of any size outside the Green Wedges, without requiring any associated farming, wineries or other green wedge uses.  We have pointed out the need to balance tourist facilities with conservation of the environmental assets that attract tourists to these areas. Why would tourists want to go bush for the weekend or to a restaurant in the country for Sunday lunch or to pick up their native plants if there is a quarry or crematorium next door not to mention mining service stations and trash & treasure markets?  There is a lot of grazing and other farming in the RCZ, and as we know, farmers see this kind of urban development as a blight that impacts on their work practices and hours and will terrify the livestock as much as the tourists. 

Unacceptable new development uses arising from RCZ change from prohibited to ‘permit required’ for innominate uses: 

Cemetery, Crematorium; Cartage contractor’s depot; Saleyard; Veterinary Clinic

Display home (prohibited in Green Wedges under Cl 57)

Freeway Service Centre/ Service Station (both prohibited in Green Wedges under Cl 57.)

Funeral Parlour (prohibited in Green Wedges under Cl 57)

Hospital (prohibited in Green Wedges under Cl 57)

Research Centre (no conditions, except in Cl 57; cf GWZ & GWAZ require min. lot size)

Many other uses previously not allowed in the zone.

 

Uses where “in conjunction” ruling has been removed in RCZ (except in Green Wedges by Clause 57):

Restaurants; Residential hotels; Group accommodation

 

Uses changed from prohibited to permit required

Primary & secondary school

Trash and Treasure Market

Animal boarding. 

13/03/2017

RALLY TO STOP THE PLANNING DISASTER

Matthew Guy is proposing planning changes that would “urbanise” ​​our precious green wedges by allowing schools, medical centres, service stations, hotels, shops and other suburban facilities to be built anywhere across the countryside.

 

He is also proposing new residential zones will allow shops, offices, medical centres and churches to be established without a planning permit in many residential streets. The new commercial zones setup a retailing and commercial free-for-all. Much of Melbourne will have little protection against piecemeal development. Our historic strip shopping centres will be demolished or distorted to facades in front of medium and high-rise development.

All this would be a disaster. It is completely unacceptable to communities in and around the city. We will all join to deliver that message loud and clear to the Baillieu Government on Thursday 29 November.

We ask you to join us to defend Melbourne and its Green Wedges –-- for you, and for your children and grandchildren.

Planning Minister Guy’s proposals are “a ‘hit job’ on Green Wedges, according to RMIT University Planning Professor Michael Buxton. They would give developers carte blanche to build across the peninsula’s beautiful open farmland and the environmental and agricultural treasures and landscapes of all the green wedges.That means we would lose it forever.

 

For more information, please see Green Wedges Coalition submissionhttp://gwc.org.au/submissions/2012/planningzonesreview, one of 2000 received by Government despite a brief ten week period for submissions and virtually no community consultation, except by alert councils at Manningham and Mornington Peninsula. 

Mornington Peninsula groups are hiring buses to get supporters to the rally and home again. The aim is to get to the city mid-morning so you can shop, meet friends &c then attend the rally at 1pm. Details of route, times and prices are being worked out. If you are interested in the bus option, please contact Peter Hall (Flinders Community Association)pchall@iprimus.com.au (5989 0140) or David Harrison (Red Hill Community Action) wordart@pac.com.au(5989 2285). They believe seats will fill fast, so don’t delay! 

HELP GET THE MESSAGE OUT. PASS IT ON TO YOUR GROUP, YOUR FRIENDS AND YOUR COLLEAGUES! IF YOU DON’T LIVE ON THE PENINSULA, ORGANISE YOUR OWN BUS OR COME WITH YOUR BANNERS ON THE TRAIN.

20/11/2012

AXE FALLS ON GREEN WEDGES: GOVERNMENT SET TO UNLEASH UNPRECEDENTED ENVIRONMENTAL & FARMLAND DESTRUCTION

-          green wedge, public lands and urban planning backlash groups unite in protest

 

In a last ditch attempt to stop this unprecedented Green Wedge destruction, The Green Wedges Coalition has joined Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. and Planning Backlash to hold a:       

                                               PROTEST MEETING

                                      1 PM, TUESDAY 22 JUNE 2010

                 STEPS OF PARLIAMENT, SPRING STREET, MELBOURNE.

Speakers will include: Greens MLC Colleen Hartland; Legislative Council Coalition Leader, David Davis, and representatives of Protectors of Public Lands; the Coalition of Concerned Councillors; Taxed Out, Planning Backlash and Green Wedges Coalition.  

 

Our groups call on MPs to VOTE NO TO PLANNING AMENDMENT VC67

SAY NO TO TRASHING MELBOURNE’S LIVEABILITY 

SAY NO URBAN SPRAWL AND GREEN WEDGE DESTRUCTION  

 

If ratified by Parliament this planning amendment could signify a catastrophe for Melbourne - our city will be changed irrevocably forever. 

 

State Government is set to unleash unprecedented environmental, agricultural and landscape destruction in the green wedges when it moves Parliamentary approval of planning scheme amendment VC67 at 3pm on Tuesday. VC67 will expand the Urban Growth Boundary to replace 43,600 ha of green wedge land with suburban sprawl. It will take green wedge land for freeways and freight terminals and provide for increased urban density along Melbourne’s tram and principal bus routes.

 

The UGB expansion will clear for urban development 5,000 ha of environmentally significant Western Basalt Plains grasslands, the grassy woodlands of the Maribyrnong and Merri Creek catchments, with their giant red gums, and 4000 ha of the South East food-bowl where highly productive market gardens using recycled water double as Southern Brown Bandicoot habitat. (Please see details below and attached.)

 

It will also destroy the certainty on which green wedge protection is based. The developers who will profit from speculative purchases of green wedge land to be rezoned by VC67 will go looking for more spec purchases outside the next UGB.

 

The Coalition parties have said they will not oppose the UGB expansion, but they will oppose the E6 freeway, which is close to the existing parallel Craigieburn Freeway and they will oppose amendments to Clause 12, which provides for increased urban density. We call on them to hold firm on these issues and in addition to move amendments to save at least some of the above-listed priority green wedge areas from development.

 

 Before the 2006 election, Liberal, ALP and Greens MPs surveyed by the Green Wedges Coalition all supported the current Government policy to protect green wedges "including the present boundaries."   Only the Greens have stood by their election policy and have consistently opposed the UGB expansion. We call on Coalition MPs to support the Greens motion to refer this matter to a committee to negotiate amendments to mitigate the damage.

NEW GOVERNMENT LAND GRAB TO BENEFIT DEVELOPERS, UNFETTERED URBAN SPRAWL DESTROYING MELBOURNE'S GREEN WEDGES

Author: 
Rosemary West

In the latest assault on Melbourne’s green wedges, Planning Minister Matthew Guy plans to take another 6000 ha from the green wedges to give Melbourne more urban sprawl and to concrete over more fertile farmland and environmentally significant wetlands, grasslands and woodlands. This is subject to a vote in Parliament which will bring huge unearned windfall profits to landholders, developers and their lobbyists, including Liberal party donors and fund-raisers: an estimated $500 million for one 103 ha property (see media coverage: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/liberal-donors-win-big-f... Coalition policy is for another UGB review is due in two years, about the time of the next election.

This latest Green Wedge land grab will create continuing uncertainty around the Urban Growth Boundary by proposing 14 areas to be excised from the green wedges for urban growth and recommending a further 16 areas for “possible future review.” This signals that Melbourne will go on sprawling for as long as the Coalition Government stays in office. A further 20 green wedge areas were ruled out for urban development. This latest green wedge land grab is particularly deplorable as it is not based on any demonstrated need for more development land. The Growth Areas Authority recently estimated that the Growth Corridor Plans (for the 43,600 ha of land rezoned in 2010) would provide 20 to 50 years’ land supply for the continued urban sprawl which most of us don’t want. Every representative survey conducted, from Manningham’s in 2002 to Kingston’s in 2011, finds overwhelming majorities want green wedges protected for environmental conservation, agriculture, parklands, landscape value and recreation. It appears to breach federal requirements that environmental strategies to protect endangered species including Southern Brown Bandicoot, Growling Grass Frog and Golden Sun Moth must be finalised first and that urban development plans must work around them. None of these environmental strategies have been finalised and the SBB strategy has been postponed for six months. Meanwhile land that spans a proposed bandicoot habitat corridor in Casey has been approved for excision from the green wedge. See VNPA media release. We are calling on Matthew Guy to listen to communities, abandon plans for illogical incursions and return to policies to protect the green wedges. This may disappoint the developers and property consultants, but will please everyone else.

HOW TO VOTE TO SAVE GREEN WEDGES IN THE STATE OF UNCERTAINTY

At our recent electoral forum on planning policies for Green Wedges, the ALP and Greens Planning Spokespersons Brian Tee and Greg Barber both provided strong commitments to protect Melbourne’s Green Wedges by opposing any further expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary(UGB).  The Planning Minister Matthew Guy has matched that commitment, though he declined our invitation to address our forum (which we combined with the AGM), after initially agreeing to attend. 

This marks a big improvement on the 2010 election, when Green Wedge supporters were reeling from the rezoning of 43,000 ha of Green Wedge land for urban growth in 2010 and bracing ourselves for a new round of rezonings in the Coalition Government’s election policy  This led to another 6000 ha of excisions from the Green Wedges, including some owned by Liberal Party donors and to a review of the rural zones which allowed a number of urban uses including schools and hotels into the Green Wedges. We support the protection of agriculture but making agriculture as-of-right and undermining the Native Vegetation controls will mean more clearing of which we won’t even be notified. Mr Tee says a Labor Government would again review the zones with a view to tightening controls on urban uses in the Green Wedges. 

We are now back to bipartisan support for Green Wedges, for the first time since 2008. An important milestone:  we hope the losses of the past five years have been stemmed.

The Green Wedges are however, still under threat, though we have been quieter than in the turbulent days of the "logical inclusions", "anomalies" and the rural zones review.  The threats this year are not as direct as they were before the 2010 election, but still there.

The main threat now is uncertainty.  Plan Melbourne provides for a permanent urban boundary, but the Metropolitan Planning Authority is responsible for implementation, with input from Councils. Minister Guy says this does not herald a new round of rezoning bids and we certainly hope he is right.

 

Apart from this, the main threats to the Green Wedges now consist of:

* A weakened Rural Conservation Zone as a result of the Rural Zones Review 

*  Decisions by Kingston Council to rezone or pave the way for subdivision of their Green Wedge land that could inspire developers and their friends in other Councils to do the same, unless the Minister promptly and firmly says no.  He has said he would fix these issues but has not done so. (see Defenders of the S-E Green Wedge bulletin (below)).

 

These comments may be attributed to Rosemary West, joint coordinator of the Green Wedges Coalition, 0418 554 799; For comment,  call Kahn Franke, President, GWC (Nillumbik) 0456 701 663 or for Kingston issues, Barry Ross, secretary, Defenders of the South East Green Wedge,9598 6266.

PROTEST RALLY - Parliament House - 24th Nov, 12:30pm

If we wish to retain the environmental assets of the Green Wedges it is now time to make a stand.

This is our last chance to stop the Green Wedge destruction and landholder rip-off legislation now before Parliament. 

Please join 

Green Wedges Coalition, Taxed Out, Protectors of Public Lands and Planning Backlash

 

in a demonstration on the steps of Parliament House

At 12.30 for 1 pm next Tuesday 24 November.   
 

Speakers will include: 

  • Matthew Guy - Opposition Planning Spokesman
  • Greg Barber - Greens planning spokesman
  • Michael Hocking - Taxed Out
  • Julianne Bell - PPL
  • Mary Drost - PB and
  • Rosemary West - GWC.

Taxed Out is organising this Rally and has invited GWC, PPL & PB to take part and to speak.  

It will be very important to have as many people as possible & to bring placards if you can. 

The legislation is due to be debated in the Legislative Assembly on 25 November: please let us also pack the galleries on that day."