LOCAL GOVERNMENT (RURAL CITY OF WANGARATTA) BILL 2013
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.
CATCHMENT AND LAND PROTECTION AMENDMENT BILL 2013
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.
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?
Hon. M. J. GUY (Minister for Planning) -- I move:
That pursuant to section 46AD of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, amendment 120 (to create a soccer facility in what was previously an agricultural green wedge zone) to the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges regional strategy plan be approved.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The Greens will support this amendment, but we take very seriously and scrutinise very closely any proposals to make changes to green wedge land and, for that matter, the very important Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges regional strategy plan, which has its own special provisions within the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- This bill is entitled the Planning and Environment Amendment (Growth Areas Authority and Miscellaneous) Bill 2013, and whenever you see 'miscellaneous' you know you have to go looking, although in the last sitting week it was the 'other matters' section of a bill that seemed to take up most of our time.
We should thank the Moyne Shire Council for working out what the 'miscellaneous' was all about. While ministers have all the powers in planning schemes, what you can rely on is that your local council will take responsibility for the outcomes, because local government is the level of government closest to the people. I hope Mr O'Brien gets a bit closer to his local councils, because if he were to spend some time talking to the Moyne Shire Council, the Pyrenees Shire Council and a range of other councils in that area about the particular representations they have made, he would learn that. He would also learn that local councils are on a pretty short feedback loop from their communities. People in local government carry mobile phones and take calls at all hours of the day and night; there really is nowhere to hide. At least state MPs come up to Melbourne from time to time and conduct business in this chamber without either full awareness or full admission of the impact votes may have on those people to whom they have to deliver.
MS PENNICUIK — To ask the Minister for Higher Education and Skills (for the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security): Given the number of disputed council decisions and challenges in the courts, what measures is the Government taking to address problems with the implementation of the restricted breed provisions under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- I congratulate all local government councillors who were elected across Victoria on 27 October. Local government is closest to the community and plays a critical role in people's lives. Although I not have done so myself, I am told that serving as a local councillor is demanding, challenging and very rewarding. I especially thank those who stood for election as endorsed Greens candidates in local government areas around the state and all those who worked so hard on their campaigns. The Greens have always been open and transparent by standing endorsed candidates for local government.
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Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The minister said a lot very quickly there about the mechanics of this particular motion, but he did not in fact give us any rationale for the motion. He did not set about explaining it, and I listened carefully. Of course we have had this debate before, with Mr Guy in a different position, haven't we? At that time he started off by talking in glowing terms about the provisions of the Yarra Ranges and the Macedon Ranges planning schemes and the special nature of them. They were brought in many years ago -- it may have been by the Hamer government, to continue this week's theme; I am not too sure -- but, nevertheless, with the intent of protecting the special nature of those two areas.
Mrs Petrovich certainly encouraged the minister at the time to reflect on the importance of the Macedon Ranges planning scheme provisions, and there are plenty of others who could talk on what is special about the Yarra Ranges area.