Victorian Auditor General releases report on DELWP March 2017

Sheila Newman (Sheila’s comments and credentials appear below the links) emailed us notice of the release on 23rd March, 2017 of the Auditor General’s Report into the DELWP and three councils, the Cities of Whittlesea and Yarra, and Moorabool Shire Council.

The Auditor General found that there is limited assurance that planning decisions deliver the net community benefit and sustainable outcomes that they should.The Auditor General also found that the DELWP should strengthen accountability requirements for decisions by applying better-practice principles for discretionary decision-making and transparent public reporting, including publishing reasons for all planning decisions, and publishing advisory committee reports within three months of the committee handing its report to the Minister for Planning. The report found that the Environmental Effects Statements Process is particularly flawed.

Please at least watch the short video on the Environmental Effects Statements Process. It is likely that the two SALTA developments, and in fact all the developments along the Yarra Corridor should have been subject to this process. However the process is such an ineffective mess that developments which should be scrutinised almost never are.

Victorian Auditor-General’s report:
Managing Victoria’s Planning System for Land Use and Development March 2017 read 122 page report here: http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/publications/20170322-Land-Use/20170322-Land-Use.pdf

Watch video here: http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports_and_publications/latest_reports/2016-17/20170322-land-use.aspx

AND

Effectiveness of the Environmental Effects Statement Process 22nd March 2017
read 64 page report here: http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/publications/20170322-EES/20170322-EES.pdf

Watch video here
http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports_and_publications/latest_reports/2016-17/20170322-ees.aspx

Shelia’s comments:
Vic Auditor General Report shows Vic Planning and Development is  reckless, incompetent; makes recommendations.
The Victorian Auditor General notes that Victoria’s population grew from 5.5 million in 2011 to about 6 million in 2016, and is expected to reach* 10 million* by 2051. That is in 34 years! Responding to this madness, the Auditor General has recommended the introduction of “a risk-based approach to development assessment processes and guidance materials, by developing clear, simple assessment pathways that ensure applications are progressed in a transparent way in proportion to the potential risk, impact and cost, and in accordance with community expectations reviewing efficiency indicators to support the application of a risk-based approach (see Section2.2.2); the strengthening of accountability requirements for decisions by applying better-practice principles for discretionary decision-making and transparent public reporting, including publishing reasons for all planning decisions, and publishing advisory committee reports within three months of the committee handing its report to the Minister for Planning (see Sections 4.2 and 4.3.1). It has also recommended working with councils to complete the performance measurement framework for the planning system so that it provides the relevant information and data at the state and local levels to assess the effectiveness of the planning system, measure the achievement of planning policies and support continuous improvement of the planning system through monitoring the effectiveness of reforms (see Section 5.2).”
Will this help Victorians and Australians to halt the environmentally dangerous and antisocial development push from growth lobby governments? This is an excellent and informative report that will be of use to anyone wanting to understand our current predicament and the relevant bits of the law. It includes the subject of loss of agricultural land and how so defined and a summary of the objectives of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, which  have an ironic flavour under the present Victorian regime.
Vic Auditor General scrutinises Vic Gov’s Environmental Effects Statements in property development  
Successive Victorian governments too closely aligned with property development and investment have inflicted continuous rapid population growth on Victorians. This has had a terrible effect on democratic rights to object and protect property and the environment, built and wild. It has seemed that no power could hold the government up to any effective  criticism. The Victorian Auditor General has tabled the following reports. We have included an extract from the report which shows a democratic deficit in the public review process. This report may be of use to population and environment activists and they should publicise it.”

Sheila Newman is an environmental sociologist and editor of articles on energy, population, land use planning and resources, and is co-editor of the book The Final Energy Crisis.  Sheila also runs the site candobetter.net

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