This Budget sets the scene for the privatisation of our planning system
The Baillieu Government has made a massive cut to the State’s planning department budget, slashing 22 per cent from planning, building and heritage programs.
The Shadow Minister for Planning, Brian Tee, said this was a massive blow for open and accountable planning decision-making in Victoria.
“Planning Minister Matthew Guy brags that he is currently steering the State through the biggest reform of planning in Victoria’s history,” Mr Tee said.
“He is also set to open up huge swathes of land to allow developers to eat into Melbourne’s prized Green Wedge.
“Yet, the very department that is to oversee these important and complex changes has had its resources slashed in this year’s State Budget.
“This can only mean one of two things – massive planning backlogs, or a privatisation of Victoria’s planning system, where developers and highly-paid consultants takeover at the expense of government accountability to communities.”
Mr Tee said programs cut include initiatives to improve housing affordability as well as a $9 million program to manage Victoria’s population growth through better planning.
“The $9-milllion Planning for Victoria initiative was a highly successful government program to improve planning expertise for new residential zones,” Mr Tee said.
“Mr Guy has abandoned this program at the same time he is opening up Victoria’s precious green wedge for open slather development.
“It makes no sense, unless, of course, Mr Guy is planning to outsource this expertise to the property development community.”
Mr Tee said Mr Guy had already flagged his plans to introduce legislation to set up “code assess” – a one-size-fits-all mandatory planning code that will set height and density standards.
“Any development application that meets the ‘standards’ will get the green light. Victorians who prize the liveability of their suburbs should be very worried about Mr Guy’s plans to streamline planning regulation and systems.”