Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — The decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to approve a 26-storey development at St Kilda Junction is an example of the state government's failed approach to planning. The state government rejected interim planning controls over the St Kilda Road south precinct which would have placed a preferred height of 10 storeys over the site. VCAT in its decision cited another 26-storey building at 3 St Kilda Road. Guess who approved that building in 2011? It was then Liberal Minister for Planning, who called it in and approved it despite opposition from the local council.
This is not planning through proper process with an aim to strike a balance between development and amenity. This is planning through ministerial decree which sets the precedent for years to come. The failure to act on behalf of the community or intervene on behalf of residents has given us such developments as Orrong Towers and at Forrest Hill far higher than the planning scheme allowed.
The process of Port Phillip Council putting in planning controls over the St Kilda Road south precinct has been in development for over two years. The failure of the Labor Minister for Planning to put in place interim planning controls after extensive work by council has meant that a building over twice the size of what was proposed has been approved.
Local councils do the heavy lifting in keeping our communities livable by doing the strategic planning for development. They need to be supported by the state government, not disregarded. The state government must restore trust and integrity to the planning process by supporting local councils to develop strong local planning laws and banning political donations from property developers.