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  • Writer's pictureMatt Bach

19 March 2020 Speech - Government Bypasses Local Council

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Planning in the other place, and it relates to the Hurstbridge rail upgrade. The Hurstbridge rail line upgrade, so says the government, is about delivering more services more often for residents in Melbourne’s north-east, with minimal disruption and also with community consultation. Well, how do you think the government is tracking?

In 2018 we saw absolute gridlock when the line was shut down to build Rosanna station. People stayed home rather than attempting to fight through the traffic to get to their workplaces. Now the stage 2 redevelopment upgrades must be done with community consultation and regard for local character. That is why I was so troubled to see that, once again, this government has sought to bypass local councils as a planning authority. Given the issues we have already seen with this particular project, in this instance to allow the Level Crossing Removal Authority to go directly to the minister is utterly inappropriate.

The government should be following due process and dealing with Banyule and Nillumbik councils as the appropriate local authorities tasked with enforcing the planning scheme. This is just another bullish attempt by this government to bypass local government, just like when they asked Nillumbik council to give them a blanket planning approval for the Fitzsimons Lane works. Local councils and local people in Melbourne’s north-east deserve to have their input heard. So the action that I am seeking today is for the minister to return the right of approval to local councils and stop circumventing them in the planning process.

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