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Minister Must Call in Mount Eliza Retirement Village

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (19:30): (4590) I raise a matter for the Minister for Planning, and with your indulgence, Speaker, I will come to the action in a minute or two, for reasons that will be evident.

Twice this year I have raised a matter in the adjournment debate relating to a parcel of land outside the urban growth boundary in Mount Eliza.

On the first occasion, on 19 February, I asked the minister to promptly act to permit a proposed amendment to the Mornington Peninsula planning scheme to be exhibited.

The minister was in the chamber. He noted that it would probably come to him quickly and said he would look out for it. I know it went to him quickly, but for some reason consent was not forthcoming.

On 4 June I again raised the issue in the adjournment debate, since consent had still not been given and there was an active planning application on site. I asked the minister to call in the application. In his late July response the minister advised me that the shire had requested permission to commence exhibition of a planning amendment covering the site.

A member interjected.

Mr MORRIS: Really? That is the one I asked him about in February, I asked him to act on. Five months later he is telling me, ‘Oh, yes, there is an application’.

By the way, no mention of the action sought was in the response—none.

So let me be very clear. The action I seek from the minister is that he exercise his powers under section 58 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 and call in and uphold the Mornington Peninsula shire’s initial decision to refuse a permit for the application at 60–70 Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza, currently before the tribunal.

Section 58 requires the minister to consider whether the proceeding raises a major issue of policy and whether a determination of the proceeding may have a substantial effect on the achievement or development of planning objectives.

This is an application to facilitate a major addition to the Mount Eliza urban area. It is 23 000 square metres. It is eight new four-storey buildings, three new three-storey buildings, 272 apartments, 362 car spaces, 115 nursing beds and a place of worship. So it is a substantial development.

The alternative to the minister calling in this application is to allow VCAT to adjudicate a de facto adjustment to the urban growth boundary.

That is a role for government and indeed it is a role for this Parliament under division 3 of part 3AA of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. It is not a role for the tribunal, and they should not be placed in that position.

In a Labor media release extolling the planning virtues of the ALP on 4 November 2018 the minister is quoted as saying, ‘once it’s gone, it’s gone forever’. I could not agree more.

It is time for the minister to back his words with actions, call in the application and uphold the shire’s initial decision.