TO ALL GROUPS
Wonderful to see so many of the groups represented. I believe that if it were not for us, they would have had about 4 people there.
What was wonderful and came out very clearly was the spread of
Congratulations to all who came in spite of the bad timing. I know others did not come because they feel so disillusioned with VCAT, or because the timing did not suit them or because they are just too busy.
Most of those mentioned spoke and spoke extremely well. From different angles but the same stories.
The chairs of the meeting were VCAT President Justice Kevin Bell (still a Supreme Court Judge I understand) and Deputy President Helen Gibson.
Eventually she was pushed into letting people speak.
Many issues were raised for eg.
The unfairness of the developers being able to afford top barristers and these expert witnesses and so many councils not able to keep funding these fights. There were 2 suggestions about this 1 - that there be a blind bank of experts set up and you take who is available 2 - that the barristers and experts be cut out completely and return to a level playing field and the developer speaks for himself and the council speak for them selves and so do the residents. Instead of Justice only for the rich.
When the scandal of Brookland Greens in Casey was raised, Justice Bell said we are not here to discuss individual items. (Nice way to hide from a discussion about it)
Malvern East told how they had written a number of issues to be raised and were told they were not suitable items. They had then written to Justice Bell asking what would be suitable and he actually admitted that he had not replied. What was interesting was that all those forbidden subjects were brought up by others.
Seddon raised the fact that VCAT only use the policies from M2030 that support development and ignore the policies that protect neighbourhood character.
It was raised in various ways that VCAT should not be a planning authority but just a review board to make sure that councils follow their own policies.
It was raised that if a developer brings amended plans to VCAT they should be told to take them back to council to be looked at again. (VCAT responded that they were trying to save councils time and money)
It was raised that the 60 days is abused by developers and they delay getting info to councils and then rush off the VCAT b ecause they know they have a better chance of getting it approved by VCAT.
VCAT were told they are unelected and unaccountable and the community has lost all respect for the system.
It was raised that councils often pass an inappropriate development because they say VCAT will approve it so we are wasting time and money to oppose it so many things that are bad dont even get to VCAT, because councils have no confidence in it.
It was raised that the local people and local councils usually know better about their area than VCAT, yet they are overruled.
This is getting long. I am sure I have missed many great points.
If you want something passed around do get back to me.
Who knows if those VCAT people listened or actually heard. As an optimist I hope so, as a realist, I doubt it.
They have heard from the community and as usual ignore it.
But I felt proud to be there with so many really great people who are trying to keep the Marvellous in