My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Planning and is in relation to the minister’s decision to approve amendment C93 to the Glenelg planning scheme. It is fair to say that many in the Narrawong and Portland communities have been stunned by the minister’s action in relation to the proposal to establish 18 housing allotments on sensitive coastal land.
On 5 October in the Warrnambool Standard it became apparent that the minister was to make a decision to give permits for the 18 housing allotments in Narrawong. It is not an issue that this house is not aware of; in fact Mr Tee moved a disallowance motion in respect of this issue some months ago.
However, what is concerning is that a five-day Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing had been scheduled for the middle of October, yet on 5 October the minister intervened and made a decision to go ahead with the housing allotments. All the parties had received expert reports that were to inform the case, and they now are null and void.
When questioned by critics who suggested that the minister had undermined the normal appeals process and denied justice to concerned community members, the minister stated that it was the fulfilment of his election promise to back the right of Narrawong land-holders to build homes on private land at private risk. We have had this process bubbling along, and then all of a sudden the minister intervenes and says that he made an election promise two years ago and he is going to stick by it. The minister should have played it straight and not led the Narrawong community literally up the garden path.
What I seek from the minister is for him to advise the local community why he has made the decision and when he made it. I also ask him to take action to alleviate the financial burden incurred by community members in preparing information as well as legal advice that they have been seeking for the five-day hearing that was scheduled for mid-October.