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Gratuitous State Government bashing
Russell Degnan

From Stateline again this week, there was a report on people moving from Melbourne to country areas.

There are a few interesting things to come out of this. First of all, people are commuting from these country towns (Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Latrobe Valley). They aren't working there, as a rule, although they create employment for people who do. In a sense, the country towns represent the ideal for "activity centre" planning. Small-ish self-contained communities, where you can commute to the major centre if appropriate. If the urban-growth boundary ever becomes a reality (and it's no better than an each-way bet in my opinion), then these satellite rural centres will become even more important, which brings other problems.

Public transport within these centres is terrible (the talking-tram excepted). Meanwhile, their link to the city itself is very slow, and for all the talk of a "fast" train, the government's project to improve it is very half-assed. Since a lot of the people moving there are probably also young families (looking for space), you also need schools, etc. What is the government response?

"The Victorian Government has today launched a campaign to capitalise on that. The $1 million ad campaign is designed to get more people to live and work in provincial Victoria." Now, rapid growth in a city always causes infrastructure problems. So, given that growth to regional centres is quite fast, isn't it rather asinine to spend the money you could use to build infrastructure to increase the speed of that growth? Given that, "an estimate of how many people are there living in Melbourne that if the circumstances were right would seriously think about a move to provincial Victoria, there's more than 500,000 people!", wouldn't it be smarter to plan infrastructure improvements and let people choose for themselves?


Meanwhile, Kenneth Davidson was also writing about the AMRAD site on Swan St. From my viewpoint, there are two issues here.

One, the development is inappropriate in that spot. The site in question is probably not in an activity centre (depending on how you define them), making it perhaps the only place in Richmond that isn't. The railway stations are not very accessible because of the river, roads and railways in the way, although there is a tram stop. But it does have substantial parking, and a freeway offramp, which makes it attractive to developers, even if Swan St is horribly congested at that point. If the plan for centralised, public transport based development has any merit it should be built 2km up the road in either direction.

The second, is that the state government are outright liars. If you recall an earlier article Mary Delahunty claims that "[...] Labor has made big changes, such as increasing power to local councils [...] The Government has also done away with "ad hoc ministerial interventions which were the bane of both residents and councils".".

Whereas I would have said that not telling the council about a devlopment decision you've made and over-riding the required public consultation phase does the exact opposite. You can argue for sensible strategic planning all you want, but if this is the attitude the state government has to their own policy, then Melbourne 2030 is dead on arrival.

Planning 4th October, 2003 14:10:26   [#] 

Comments

Is it all just a smoke screen with Vision Statements
Well - I'm feeling more & more disillusioned with Melbourne 2030 everyday, and I had such great hopes for Victoria.
Andrea McIntosh  5th October, 2003 16:19:44  


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