Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meeting with Justice Bell - VCAT

Several residents from Knoxfield are joining with the Marvellous Melbourne organization to discuss VCAT procedures. Recently we have attended VCAT on 5 occasions and believe we have a good knowledge now of the VCAT procedures. We are very concerned with many of these procedures which definitely favour the developer over local residents.


  1. Procedure of Hearings. The applicant ought to address the hearing first, followed by council and then other submissions. The applicant could have a right of reply at the end of the hearing. This would bring the hearings into line with the legal system.
  2. The weight given to the evidence provided by “Expert Witnesses”. These witnesses are in the employ of the applicant and should be treated as such. At one hearing we attended, the applicant organized the expert witnesses over the lunch break to present new evidence to counter everything we said. Our evidence proved that of the expert witnesses to be false. This new evidence was accepted and the chair passed the application unchanged as she accepted the evidence of the expert witnesses over the local residents.
  3. The low weight applied to retaining indigenous vegetation, especially in areas protected by a Vegetation protection Overlay 3.
  4. The low weight applied to the planning regulations like the Rescodes, in favour of Melbourne’s 2030 Policy and the desired future outcomes.


Many other issues are also of concern, which we hope to address at the meeting on July 14.



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