Constituency Question: Prahran Electorate

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — (Question 411) My constituency question is for the Minister for Planning. The Punt Road Public Acquisition Overlay Advisory Committee was set up earlier this year to report on the potential removal of the public acquisition overlay (PAO) along Punt Road in the Prahran electorate.

Initial information on the department's website gave clear time lines for each step of the committee process, which was to start with the provision of a VicRoads background report. This report was due over a month ago, and information regarding the timing of each step has been removed from the website, which now states 'to be advised'. This delay has caused great concern for local residents, who are tired of empty promises when it comes to Punt Road.

I ask the minister to provide an update on the Punt Road Public Acquisition Overlay Advisory Committee process, including time lines for each step. The Punt Road PAO is a hangover from 1950s-era transport planning, which envisaged Melbourne as a freeway utopia. We now know how mistaken this is approach to transport is, and we certainly do not want a six to eight-lane road dividing the Prahran community. PAOs can be useful tools for community planning, but the Punt Road PAO is in place for an unplanned, unfunded, unnecessary road widening that the community does not want.

REPLY:

The Government is committed to delivering its election commitment to review the PAO along Punt Road within the City of Stonnington. On 17 February 2015, I approved Terms of Reference for the review and requested the Chief Member of Planning Panels Victoria to appoint a Ministerial Advisory Committee to conduct the review under Section 151 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The VicRoads background report was released on 24 August 2015. VicRoads is also preparing an options report that will provide more information on traffic projections, future options for Punt Road and how each future option might affect the PAO.

I have recently approved revised Terms of Reference for the Ministerial Advisory Committee to allow additional time for potential submitters to get the opportunity to view both VicRoads reports before making their submission. The Ministerial Advisory Committee submission process is due to commence in late October 2015, with public hearings early next year. The revised timelines shown on the Department's website are:

Step

Timing (to beadvised)

VicRoads Background Report published

August 2015

VicRoads information sessions

August / September 2015

VicRoads Options Report released

Late October 2015

Request for submissions close

Late November 2015

Advisory Committee Directions Hearing

December 2015

Advisory Committee Public Hearings

February 2015

Advisory Committee report to Minister

April 2016

The changed timeframes will enable a much more informed and transparent discussion about the options for Punt Road