TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Planning. I
ask the minister to update the house on any recent progress made in addressing
the significant planning challenges faced in the shire of Glenelg.
J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) — I welcome Ms Tierney’s interest in
this matter. It is a matter of general public interest, and it should be a
matter of interest to members of this chamber, because I know there have been
requests in relation to some of these matters at Glenelg shire.
To describe the operation of the planning system over a number
of years at Glenelg as a shemozzle is probably something of an understatement,
and I say that not as a criticism of the planning officers currently there,
because the planning officers at the Glenelg Shire Council are doing their very
best in difficult circumstances, but they are confronted by a number of
inappropriate land zonings in Portland.
Today I want to announce that I am releasing
the findings of two advisory committee reports that have considered subdivision
applications in Rossdell Court, Victoria Parade, Jones Street and Hartwich
Street. These advisory reports deal with four applications for residential
subdivisions that I had to call in due to the potential for serious land-use
conflicts with the port and port-related industries. Basically these were
applications by people seeking to build residences on the very edge of the port
On the basis of the findings of the advisory committee panels I
will not be granting permits for three of the four residential subdivision
applications because they would present an unavoidable land-use conflict with
the port of Portland and the port-related industries. In particular these
reports found that future residents of these three sites would be adversely
affected by noise from heavy vehicle traffic between the Alcoa smelter and the
port along Madeira Packet Road.
However, I will be issuing a planning permit for one of the
three sites — that is, the site at 3 Hartwich Street. This is already set
within an existing residential development area and is not impacted to the same
extent as the other sites. Another recommendation of the advisory committees was
to rezone the land generally bounded by Rossdell Court, Madeira Packet Road,
Edgar Street and Hislop Street as an industrial zone. I have written to the
Glenelg council to seek its views on this matter.
I know members of this chamber have expressed interest, both in
this forum and in committees of this place, in how this issue arose. Having done
a fair amount of research in relation to this issue, because we were concerned
that it should never have arisen, let me make the point that the residential
rezoning of the land was by the former Kennett government and the sale of that
land was approved by the former Kennett government months before it lost office
in 1999. These are the key reasons an unavoidable — —
Mr Guy — Completely untrue!
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — I’ll keep going, Mr Guy, because you may
learn something again. These are the key reasons why an unavoidable land-use
issue has arisen.
Mr Guy interjected.
The PRESIDENT — Order! Mr Guy is warned.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — The previous Liberal government was
responsible for this shemozzle. What is also interesting in relation to this
matter — —
Mr Barber — On a point of order, President, standing order
8.02(2) says that questions should not ask for ‘a statement or announcement of
the government’s policy’. It is now clear that is what that question was
intended to elucidate.
This would be more appropriately put into a ministerial
statement, if the minister wants to make this announcement.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — On the point of order, President, I like
the fact that Mr Barber is trying — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! That is not a point of order. If the
minister has a point of order, he should get to the point of order.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — The point of order, President, is that
this is not a policy announcement. This is actually a — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! That is not a point of order. The fact
is that the minister is right, it is not a policy announcement.
I remind the house that while the minister may want to make
some formal announcement or statement to the house, it does not prevent any
member debating that matter at an appropriate time. While Mr Barber is
encouraged to continue to read the standing orders and digest them, on this
occasion he is not quite right.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — Can I just point out again that this is
not a criticism of the current planning officers down at Glenelg, because they
are doing their best under very difficult circumstances. They are also
confronted with having to work through the issues facing land affected by the
development plan overlay (DPO) 7 in the Portland-Narrawong coastal area. The
current DPO7 controls were put in place — the current ones, which have often
drawn levels of interest in this chamber — at the request of the council.
These controls are there to manage the risk to people’s
property and potentially their lives in a highly sensitive area, arising from a
development in an area that is subject to unqualified coastal recession. To
clarify the technical issues, there is no point building on a location that
might get swept away in a tidal surge and put people’s lives at risk.
Mr Guy interjected.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — I encourage Mr Guy to educate himself in
this area in relation to climate change, global warming and tidal surges.
Can I point out in relation to these issues that to describe
the situation at Glenelg as a shemozzle is an understatement, also because I am
informed that in the order of between 300 and 340 permits were issued at the Glenelg shire, and some would suggest
they were issued outside the law. Each one of them was processed within 48
hours, they were processed with no third-party appeal rights and the common
theme is a gentleman by the name of Bernie Wilder. He was the planner. And guess
whom he is very good friends with and endorsed by as a council candidate? He is
endorsed by the member for South-West Coast in the other place, Denis Napthine!
What is particularly alarming in relation to this matter — —
Honourable members interjecting.
The PRESIDENT — Order! Mr Guy knows the standards I want in
this chamber. His reference to the minister’s comments or his statements as
being gutless are inappropriate. I ask him to withdraw.
Mr Guy — I withdraw.
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — What is alarming — and most of this is
public knowledge because it has been said in reports anyway — is that Mr Wilder
is planning on running for council, having issued these permits. Can I just say,
President — —
Mr Atkinson — On a point of order, President — —
The PRESIDENT — Order! The minister is now digressing from the
question asked of him, and I ask him to get back to and be relevant to the
Hon. J. M. MADDEN — I make this announcement today to ensure
that it is our priority to make sure councils do this strategic work, that they
employ due process and that they abide by the law in issuing planning permits. I
look forward to clarifying many of these issues.
I also look forward to our departmental officers working with
the Glenelg Shire Council officers to clarify these issues.
I look forward also to working with these councils to support
them so they do not find themselves in this degree of difficulty again in the
future. We want to continue to look after those who are involved in the planning
process and to streamline the process, but not unduly and to the point where we
find authorities opting outside the law. In this way we continue to make
Victoria the best place to live, work and raise a family.