Follow on from our last article where Roz Hansen advised the MCC to reject the East-West Link,
the Age article below, shows how five of the six member panel quit.
Doubts over planning strategy after key advisers quit
The Napthine government’s signature planning document has been thrown into doubt after it emerged that its advisory panel resigned amid concerns over key transport decisions.
Five of the six members of the ministerial advisory committee decided they no longer wanted their names associated with the new metropolitan planning strategy, Plan Melbourne.
The panel’s chairwoman Roz Hansen, has publicly denounced the government’s $6 billion to $8 billion east-west link and called on the Premier to give Victorians a choice by taking the project to an election.
Professor Hansen and five other experts were chosen by the government to oversee the development of the new metropolitan planning strategy in May 2012.
“We do understand we were there to advise the minister … but when we could see important elements of our advice were being removed or watered down that started to create some concerns within the ministerial advisory committee,” Professor Hansen said.
She said their chief concerns about Plan Melbourne included:
- A lack of commitment to affordable and social housing.
- The “dumbing down” of the concept of a “20-minute Melbourne”.
- The removal of a number of targets, including goals for greenhouse gas emissions.
- The deletion of a provision requiring 70 per cent of new residential development to occur in established urban areas.
- Spending on the east-west link at the expense of improvements to the public transport network, including buses.
Professor Hansen made a surprise appearance at a Melbourne City Council meeting on Tuesday, as part of a line-up of campaigners urging the council to declare their opposition to the east-west link.
She pulled no punches in a speech that she admitted was unlikely to result in her being employed by the government again.
“We are not being asked by government if we want this project; we are being told we must have it noting that there isn’t a week that goes by that the evidence against this project grows and grows,” Professor Hansen said.
Professor Hansen said the panel had received clear feedback during the preparation of the metropolitan planning strategy that public transport and protection of open public space were the top concerns of Melburnians.
“It seems to me as a planner of 40 years-plus experience that if you only have one pot of money to spend on a major transport improvement it is not the east-west link,” she said.