Minister removes residents’ rights

Earlier this month the Victorian Government announced the Minister for Planning will replace councils as the responsible authority for deciding some non-government school planning permit applications that have received state government funding.

Non-government schools receiving funding from State Government can now construct buildings and increase the number of students without notification to neighbours or neighbours being able to object.

This means our residents will have no ability to raise concerns about the impacts of these facilities. Increased traffic, on-street parking pressure, impact on neighbourhood character and the loss of residential amenity are concerns that need to be addressed and considered prior to decisions being made on planning applications associated with schools.

“Most private schools in Boroondara are located in sensitive residential areas with high levels of amenity. As schools continue to grow, their impact on the amenity of surrounding properties can be significant. The Minister for Planning is removing a resident’s right to be informed of an application and to object. Council’s right to represent the interests of its community as the decision maker has been removed. Our residents have every right to be concerned about the implications of this change”, said Mayor of Boroondara Cr Cynthia Watson.

The right to be heard is fundamental for local democracy. The minister’s decision means that residents no longer have a voice or elected representation in the application process. The right to participate brings accountability and transparency to decision making.

“For other planning applications, Boroondara residents have the opportunity to present their concerns directly to their elected representatives at Council prior to a decision being made. The Minister for Planning’s removal of residents’ rights is unacceptable. People care about where they live and imposing a process of silence instead of resilient engagement is not right”, said Cr Watson.

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