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Planning Minister – Call in this Application Now!

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MR MORRIS (Mornington) (17:15): (2591) I raise a matter for the Minister for Planning. It relates to a planning application at 60–70 Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza, and the action I am seeking is that he call in the application and reject it.

This is an application for a retirement village. The site is outside the urban growth boundary, but it is an application to facilitate a major addition to the Mount Eliza urban area—with more than 23 000 square metres of floorspace, eight new four-storey buildings, three three-storey buildings, 272 apartments, 362 car spaces, 115 nursing beds and a place of worship to satisfy a loophole in the planning scheme.

As the minister well knows, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 requires the ratification of an amendment which proposes to move the urban growth boundary by both houses of this Parliament. If the application is allowed to proceed, a de facto realignment of the urban growth boundary will have occurred without parliamentary approval.

This is clearly an overdevelopment of the site, but I am not asking the minister to call it in on that basis. If it was simply a matter of reducing the scale of the development, I would leave it to the council and to VCAT. This is a policy matter.

The question that must be asked is not whether the plans that have been submitted are an overdevelopment of the site but rather whether this is an appropriate site for this type of development full stop. Development of a retirement village is only permitted in conjunction with a place of worship.

The description for the relevant clause of the Mornington Peninsula planning scheme, special use zone 2, is private sportsgrounds and religious, health and educational establishments—nothing about retirement villages. Both a retirement village and a residential aged-care facility are only permitted in association with, amongst other things, a place of worship.

If a place of worship is not constructed as part of the development, then those uses would not be permitted. Clearly a place of worship is included in the plan solely for the purposes of obtaining a permit.

The application is contrary to the Mornington Peninsula Localised Planning Statement. It does not reflect the role of the peninsula as endorsed by the state government as an area of special character and clearly distinct from and complementary to metropolitan Melbourne.

Contrary to the statement, this is a linear development between towns. It is an expansion into areas between towns. It will compromise the sense of separation between townships. It will compromise the special character of the area. It is not respectful of the natural environment, the rural landscape or the aesthetic values of the immediately adjoining green wedge.

The arguments used to support this application could be mounted for any parcel of land adjacent to the urban growth boundary. If they are accepted, we would find ourselves very quickly in a situation where that special character of the Mornington Peninsula is simply a distant memory.

In February I asked the minister to authorise amendment C270, which includes this land. He stood in this place and said he would look out for it. More than three months on it is still not authorised.

This proposal is contrary to the intent of the planning scheme. It is contrary to the intent of broader state policy, both current and historic, and it is contrary to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of my community.