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BRAG: Some VCAT facts
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Some VCAT facts
by Stephen Digby - Friday, 22 February 2008, 03:14 AM

Some VCAT facts


JACK Roach (Letters, 21/2) appears to misunderstand the basis upon which VCAT makes planning decisions. VCAT is required by law to make planning decisions that are consistent with planning policy and comply with the provisions of the relevant planning scheme.

Only a small proportion of planning decisions made by councils are appealed to VCAT. Some are made by objectors appealing against a properly based but unpopular decision. Some are by developers, appealing against a refusal that has been motivated by local political concerns rather than proper consideration of the planning scheme. Many councils, faced with hostile objectors, will make a decision to refuse a permit even though a development meets the requirements of the planning scheme. On proper consideration of the matter, VCAT then directs the grant of a permit.

The impression given by Roach that VCAT planning members are somehow beholden to developers is incorrect and a gross insult to the independence of VCAT members, the planners of whom generally have public sector backgrounds. People who complain about VCAT should take the time to learn a little about the planning system and the basis of planning decisions before making unfounded allegations.

Mark Bartley, Glen Iris

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Re: Some VCAT facts
by Stephen Digby - Friday, 22 February 2008, 11:59 AM
Mark acts for water authorities, state and Commonwealth government agencies and departments, local governments and property developers in all aspects of planning and environment approvals, administrative law and water policy. He also advises on compliance and governance matters and is a probity auditor. He is an accredited Law Institute of Victoria specialist in environment, planning and local government law.

Mark is recognised for his expertise in water law and co-authored the DLA Phillips Fox report 'Trading in Water Rights - towards a national legal framework'. He is currently advising on the Goldfields Superpipe and other major water projects and regularly advises on national and state water policy.

Mark has a professional background in town planning and project management. He is an active member of the Australian Water Association, Urban Development Institute and a Fellow of the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association. He has presented at numerous conferences and training programs for developers, local government and the water industry and for various industry associations.

Picture of Stephen Digby
Re: Some VCAT facts
by Stephen Digby - Friday, 22 February 2008, 12:01 PM


Something smelly

I SUSPECT Mark Bartley (Letters, 22/2) is correct about VCAT. But it only goes to show how biased are the planning policies and schemes and the operational constraints on VCAT. If you have a system of planning and review that consistently finds for people who want to change our living environment for their own financial gain and against the people who live in that environment, then the stench is considerable.  Christopher Monie, Ballarat

VCAT facts, mark II

MARK Bartley of Glen Iris responded (Letters, 21/2) to Jack Roach (Letters, 20/2) about serious flaws in the VCAT planning appeal processes. Jack and I represent Boroondara resident groups with great concern about loss of local amenity through inappropriate development. Mark Bartley needs to say who he represents. He is a partner with DLA Phillips Fox, often employed by the State Government and developers in cases with environmental impact.

Melbourne 2030 is laudable, but where is the implementation plan that acknowledges public transport deficiencies, time needed to change this and a fair process of change. Why are local community interests listened to but effectively ignored by VCAT? Economic reasons for change must be balanced by local community impact.

VCAT's legislated aim to be independent is being attacked by the ad hoc approach to planning decisions. To use Mark Bartley's words, proper consideration of large planning issues is not being achieved by VCAT. Robert Gray, East Hawthorn