Manningham annual rates were among the highest in the state because it depended almost entirely on them for its survival during the nineties and had come very close to being carved up among adjoining municipalities, as part of the government’s amalgamation plan, before it agreed to build a high-rise activity centre as part of the Melbourne 20/30 program. Now, twenty years on, according to the Committee for Melbourne research, one council, or a hand full of regional councils for greater efficiency and would make economic sense by providing a better approach to planning.
Alojs from Cooma, whose father had worked for the Snowy River Authority, had moved to Doncaster in the period when Manningham council had prepared a number of medium density plans for a town centre in anticipation of the opening of the eastern freeway which was expected to ease traffic volumes in Doncaster Road. “We wondered what the hell was going on when buildings up to 15 storeys, as part of the Doncaster Hill Strategy, were foisted upon us”. “No one wanted them because we did not have the infrastructure or street network for such a large undertaking and the area was too remote especially after the Cain Labor government had cancelled the railway line nearly a decade earlier”.
“The consultation was a joke with resident objections swept aside as the Manningham executive kept promoting it supported by the owners of the development sites within the strategy’s boundaries”. “We were to learn later that a deal might have been done with the State planning authority where Manningham could survive intact and receive funding in return for building the activity centre”.
After 9 years it was clear there was no local demand for high rise apartment development and the Doncaster Hill Strategy (the jewel in the crown of the 20/30 program) was shaping up to be a massive failure until the the Federal Investment Review Board (FIRB), under instructions from Government of course, rescued the strategy by easing restrictions on foreign developers and enabling overseas investors to purchase apartments in Australia off the plan. As a result most Doncaster apartment sales today are made through overseas intermediaries to foreign buyers who seek to place some of their money in a stable economy..
Activity Centre Plans 1990 and 1994 were more conservative than what we have today.
The consolidation of councils had to come sooner or later according to Committee for Melbourne boss Martine Letts, either by way of merging all municipalities into one or merge the 32 into six super councils “We believe a new system of government that creates an economy of scale through collaboration is essential for service delivery and sustainability”
Almost 1000 council officers earn at least $150.000 a year and more than 100 executives get at least $250,ooo annually. Four Manningham executives and CEO get a total of about $1,300,000 per year.