Government breaks promise on Brimbank elections

Western Suburbs Greens MP Colleen Hartland has accused the Victorian Coalition Government of being untrustworthy after breaking its promise to hold the Brimbank City Council elections in March 2015. This week in parliament the Government has legislated for a further 19 months delay on Brimbank City Council elections, on top of the two and a half year delay they legislated in 2012.
“In 2012, when the local council elections were delayed two and a half years, the Minister guaranteed that the elections would be held in March 2015. Now they have been delayed a further 19 months.”
“Like his federal Coalition counterparts, it seems the guarantee of a Victorian Coalition Minister is not worth the paper it is written on.”

Don't repeat Kennett's mistakes with councils

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- I was momentarily stunned when I opened my copy of the Herald Sun on Sunday and read that Daniel Andrews, the Leader of the Opposition, had resuscitated a failed Kennett government-era policy of local government rate capping. 'It's time to do something about the council rates, the wasteful spending and the lack of transparency', Mr Andrews thundered. 

Greens will fight Labor's rate cap push

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber says the Greens will fight Labor's local council rate cap push.

"Councils deliver critical services such as childcare, maternal and child health, meals on wheels, libraries and infrastructure maintenance. These could all go into rapid decline if Labor's rate cap comes into place," said Greg Barber MLC 

Are planning decisions for people or profit?


Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- My question is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy. The minister may be aware that Stonnington City Council is going through the process of exhibiting amendment C186. The purpose of that amendment is to allow open space contributions on property development to be increased in order to provide a source of funding for new and enhanced open space in the area. The minister's last intervention on this matter was to cut the levies on open space for a particular developer. Can the minister tell me whether the council's time and energy is being well invested in going down this path? In other words, can the minister assure us that his decisions on this matter will be for the interests of livability of the citizens of the area, not the profitability of property developers in the area?

Greens support transparency in local government planning, big or small


Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The Greens are happy to support this motion. As has been pointed out, the amendments affect very small parcels of land, with minimal planning issues.

Stonnington Planning Scheme


Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- I move:

That, pursuant to section 38 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, Amendment C190 to the Stonnington planning scheme be revoked.

On 3 February the Minister for Planning signed off on a letter that was received by the Stonnington City Council on 13 February advising the council that, following a request from the Minister for Education, the minister had decided to exercise the power under section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to exempt himself from notice and prepare, adopt and approve amendment C190 to the Stonnington planning scheme.

Yes to Council performance reporting and accountability



Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The Greens will support the bill. After consulting the relevant local government representative bodies it appears there is no great disquiet about the bill across the sector. In fact in a lot of cases, including of course in progressive councils like the City of Yarra, these measures have already been introduced.

Is state government right to sack local governments for extended periods?


Second reading

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- To follow on from what Mr Tee just said, it seems that the government wanted to table a few pages of reports on the council in the morning and sack the council in the afternoon. At the very least we need to spend some time working out exactly why the Parliament is so willing to take this action.

State and local government must share cost of pest and weed management


Second reading

Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The purpose of this bill is to clarify that municipal councils are responsible for pest animals and noxious weed management on local roadsides. It also gives the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security the power to require municipal councils to prepare roadside pest and weed management plans for regionally prohibited weeds, regionally controlled weeds and established pest animals, which must be approved by the minister. This of course is a difficult issue to grapple with. Councils are responsible for a huge number of roadsides.

Is state government helping councils plan for rising sea levels?


Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- My question is for the Minister for Planning, Mr Guy. The Moyne Shire Council has released the Port Fairy coastal hazards study, pointing to the likely impacts on a large number of properties of sea level rise associated with climate change. Can the minister tell the house whether he intends to introduce any planning rules to address these hazards as development continues in the area, or whether he is going to give any guidance to Moyne Shire Council as to how it should propose planning rules?