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NILLUMBIK C81 and C101 Planning Scheme Amendments - update
........Council has indicated that this decision is unlikely to be made before the October local government elections. Any changes to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme that Council does adopt will ultimately need approval by the Minister for Planning. However, Council is at an early stage in the process, and therefore there is nothing before the Minister for his consideration. Similar to Amendment C81, the economic, social and environmental impacts will form part of the planning panel’s consideration and Minister’s assessment, if and when it is submitted for approval. Letter Here

Right to farm under threat with Amendment C101.
Chris McLennan's article in May 4 edition of the Weekly Times with Arthurs Creek farmer Malcolm Macmillan

Read article here

The Independent Panel appointed to consider Nillumbik Planning Scheme Amendment C81 has submitted its report to Council.


Important that as many people as possible attend the Policy and Services Committee meeting to be held on 10 May 2016 commencing at 7pm.

The Panel recommended that the amendment be adopted as exhibited subject to the following changes:

1.      Delete Significant Landscape Overlay Schedule 14 from the Amendment.

2.      Amend each of the Significant Landscape Overlay Schedules as reflected in the Panel’s preferred version of the Schedules contained in Appendix D of the Panel Report.

3.      Amend the extent of Significant Landscape Overlay 9 on Map No 4SLO following further consultation with DELWP to accurately reflect the extent of the Kinglake National Park.

4.      Amend Clause 6.0 of each of the proposed Significant Landscape Overlay Schedules by deleting reference to the ‘Design Guideline’ documents.


The Panel report can be found on Council’s website at http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Planning-matters/Current-amendments/C81-Significant-Landscape-Overlay


Download Panel report here

I advise that a report considering the Panel report on the Amendment will be considered at the Policy and Services Committee meeting to be held on 10 May 2016 commencing at 7pm.


A copy of the Committee report will be available at the Council offices and at the Eltham and Diamond Valley libraries from Friday 6 May 2016. The report can also be accessed on the Friday from the Council website http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Minutes-and-agendas


Amendment C101  'abandoned'  by Nillumbik Shire Council

Alert re Amendment C101
In a shock move by council the decision to abandon was reversed at the full council meeting of 26 April. Council claimed to have taken legal advice in regard to the decision to abandon Amendment C101. The legal advice has so far not been provided to us despite our 27 April FOI application.
Through the vote of two councillors (Michael Young & Helen Coleman) the decision was reversed at the meeting attended by around 400 residents. Nillumbik landowners are justifiably incensed with what they see as a betrayal and a clear breach of the democratic processes. People are naturally wondering if and what coercion occurred to make two councillors "change their mind" in the intervening period.

Amendment C101 

ESO1. core habitat

ESO2. buffer habitat

ESO3. urban habitat

ESO4. waterways

Wednesday 13 April Council voted to abandon this Amendment 

There were 53 speakers to the Amendment, 50 spoke against and only 3 in favour of the Amendment. Two of those representing well known groups  that support green wedge, lock up the land ideals and private land in the green wedge as open access.

Issues raised against were:

fire fire fire,   the right to farm,   private land is private land,   inaccurate mapping,   inaccurate descriptions,   desk top and GIS assessments,   existing use rights,   petrol bush,(Burgan) to be protected,   Council's treatment of landowners and in particular bushfire victims.  

In particular we would like to acknowledge the two bushfire victims who made clear and courageous presentations to Council, on their experiences with Council post bush fires.

We thank all who supported the fight against what was a draconian amendment designed to appropriate private land as habitat and rendering it unusable by the owners in the future, as stated on in paragraph 42, page 12 of the officers report.

Tears flowed from Mayor Bronnie Hattam as she realised the Amendment was not only lost but abandoned. 

So much for the Independence of Council, when Councillors show so much emotional investment in this, or any, Amendment.

Amendments C81 and C101
The overlays remove rights therefore it is in effect sterilising the land. The green wedge is for the benefit of greater Melbourne. Same as a state or national park.
It is from a submission by the NRA when Nillumbik first attached green wedge status to the shire. We explored the possibility of compensation at the time with expert legal opinion but at the time there were very few overlays on the land. It is a gradual erosion of property rights.
A land title is just a bundle of rights. Each overlay or restriction erodes those rights until very few remain. The latest may be enough. It would be good to have another legal opinion today in light of these proposed overlays.
In particular grazing is targeted. The awful consequence will be more fire fuel and bigger bushfires.
In March 1978 Justice Gobbo chaired a committee of enquiry into compensation for green wedges known as the Gobbo Report.

P10, 4.2.1 ‘When the zone or control, insofar as it affects any land is designed to secure the preservation of a feature of that land for the community at large and the land, because of such zoning or control, is incapable of being put to any reasonable beneficial use in all the circumstances, then compensation should be payable for the loss and damage caused by the planning restrictions in question.”
P24, states that ‘ In the Committees view, where compensation is payable for loss and damage by reason of planning decisions, the same basis should operate for all. It would be invidious to have full compensation for a public open space reservation and a lesser basis for a case where it is clear the effects is to all intents and purposes the same.’

The Gobbo Report recommended compensation be paid to the landowners affected by the government at the time had no money. This is their way I guess of achieving control of private land in gradual increments.

Good news from Ratepayers Victoria, this is a breakthrough.
How our council can save thousands of $$$.
A persuasive argument for not appointing CEO’S from within the Local Government sector.
It seems Mornington, Frankston and Ararat Shires have saved hundreds of thousands $$$, by not renewing their insurances via the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). Also Mornington Shire new CEO, appointed from the private sector, has also saved thousands more in wages.
Letter here

Nillumbik Ratepayers submission objecting to Amendment C81 is here
C81 is unwarranted and is not needed
C81 will devalue properties
C81 will add undue cost to planning applications 
C81 infringes on my property rights, ownership rights and our rights to enjoy our land
C81 will I believe exacerbate risk in Nillumbik by (virtually) mandating the planting of ‘locally indigenous vegetation’ on private land and along roadsides. 
C81 has ‘preferred objectives’ which overly restricts our rights to choose our preferred building materials, colour schemes, also restricts design and siting of developments on private property.
C81 shows a strong bias towards planting ‘locally indigenous vegetation’ which we believe is contrary to the VPP’s.
Full submission is here

C81 information session Hurstbridge 14 May 2015. Chad Griffiths: Manager Strategic and Economic Planning presented Amendment C81 which affects some 3500 properties. Approx 130 people attended, largely expressing outrage to the proposed Amendment. Chad said: - since letters were sent about a month ago Council has, on this issue, over 5500 hits/downloads to its website, many many phone calls and numerous visits at the counter. Chad failed to convince the residents that C81 was not restrictive. Questions were raised that C81 will devalue properties, also fire remains a major concern. 
The meeting again was poorly organised with no microphone resulting in many people unable to hear questions. We believe C81 is extremely restrictive, unwarranted and residents overwhelmingly reject C81.

Nillumbik Ratepayers Association submission
to the Local Government Rates Capping and Variation Framework Review. Read it here.

to IGEM's Review of performance targets for bushfire fuel management on public land. 
Bushfire fuel management throughout Victoria (fires do not respect boundaries) has been the major issue of this Ratepayer group since around the year 2000. In 2003 we commissioned two expert reports which were presented to Nillumbik Shire Council, “Bushfire Threat to Nillumbik Shire” by Mr David Packham and “An overview of Fire Hazard and Vegetation Controls in the Shire of Nillumbik” by Mr Rod Incoll..........The NRA believes that a “mosaic hectare based target” offers the best protection for people, property and the environment, and that over time this will be cheaper than the alternative. Also the system can be easily adapted as to protect people, property and the environment in that order. Read the submission here. All submissions here.

Roger Underwood, Chairman - The Bushfire Front Inc. responds to those “outraged at the statements on the value of hazard reduction burning by Peter Robertson of the Wilderness Society and the "bushfire experts" in the Environmental Science school at Murdoch University (Professors Enright and Fontaine).”

“Robertson ...is an ideologist with zero practical experience of bushfire operations or practice. I do not think he has a smidgeon of credibility outside the Greens and the green-leaners in the media.” more here 

Bushfires, Grassfires, Emergency Services and what some members of the public, including NRA’s Mary McDonald, think of the State Government’s ‘Leave and Live’ ad campaign on the ABC News, 2 Jan 2015.
Victorian landowners reject Leave and Live bushfire awareness campaign
A group of landowners from across Victoria has criticised the State Government's Leave and Live campaign........ Complete transcript here. ABC News Video here. Leave and Live Ad here

The Unquenchable Bushfire Bureaucracy by Roger Underwood.

An excellent article by Roger Underwood is published in Quadrant Online. Roger Underwood is a retired forester and chairman of The Bushfire Front, a volunteer organisation dedicated to getting bushfire management in WA back on the rails.  
We need to get back to basics and reduce the fuel loads. Read article here.

 Belinda Clarkson tells the Premier of Victoria
your "Warnings are out of whack" and "Misinformation spells disaster". 
Bairnsdale Advertiser article here 
Watch this space....
Pic. Belinda Clarkson and Bill Gammage at Churchill

Belinda Clarksons letter to Premier Napthine...DN.jpg

“...your Governments extreme bushfire warning system appears to be based on ... a maximum ‘...9km/h…’ bushfire rate of spread … (not) … a better informed Federal Government Minister's ‘...24km/h...’ causing potentially ‘...hundreds if not thousands of lives’ to be lost” (former Premier Brumby interview here) 

Letter here

Two acknowledgements to the one letter, here. Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing??

In Tony Abbott's first speech as the new Opposition Leader on 1 December 2009, he stated 

"As an Opposition, our job is to hold the Government rigorously to account". 

The following letter from the Victorian Labor Party Shadow Minister for Emergency and Bushfire matters, demonstrates the Labor Party's leadership, by performing their role as Opposition.

Letter from Wade Noonan MP to Kim Wells MP Minister for Bushfire Response here

Letter and question on notice to Mr. Craig Lapsley
, Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner
for the Living with Bushfire: A Community Conference at Churchill, Friday 3rd October 2014 from Belinda Clarkson.
...... With Victoria's dangerous bushfire fuel levels now extending into residential areas, potentially thousands of lives will depend on your knowledge of the passage of bushfires for that timely and informative advice.
During the Kilmore East bushfire on Black Saturday, how many kilometres did “...the passage of the fire... " travel between 4.00pm and 5.00pm?   Copy of Letter here

The persecution of a person with the highest integrity, continues.

Ex Nillumbik Councillor Belinda Clarkson writes to Premier Napthine."Councillors could be bankrupted for performing their duties as per the Local Government Act 1989........." Letter here

Bushfire Death Trap - The Eltham Gateway
Bushfire expert David Packham and local resident Tim Malseed warn of the risk of extreme bushfire to Tim's fellow residents trapped by the Yarra River. The Paper contains 12 recommendations about how the Victorian Government can mitigate that risk. The recommendations are heavy on Government leadership, and light on taxpayer funds. Visit their website here. View the ABC News item here.

The Biggest Estate on Earth - How Aborigines Made Australia  The Age 4 Nov 2012

Author Bill Gammage's internationally acclaimed book, The Biggest Estate on Earth, won the Prime Minister's, the ACT, NSW, Victorian and QLD Premier's Awards, and a swag of other Prizes and Awards.

What does Bill say about bushfire in the Melbourne outer suburb of Eltham?
"It is as though you are trying to set fires rather than prevent them". (see "Bushfire Death Trap - The Eltham Gateway" Additional Documents No. 15 here).

Belinda Clarkson
writes to Prime Minister Gillard warning of a $50 Billion disaster bill risk with future extreme bushfire impacting on a traffic gridlocked residential area. Letter Here

Cr Belinda Clarkson  made the following speech at the final Nillumbik Ordinary Council Meeting on 23rd October 2012. "I would like to thank my constituents for your support over the last four years. I have enjoyed working with you despite the apparently false allegations made against me by the Victorian government.  I would also like to thank the Nillumbik Ratepayers Association, for commissioning the two, independent, CFA endorsed, Bushfire Assessments in 2003." Complete speech here

The 2012/13 rates have been passed with another whopping 5.9% increase.
This again keeps Nillumbik as the highest rating council in Victoria. The rates have increased 27% in this term and 76% since 2005 which is unsustainable.  The City of Nillumbik in Melbourne's north will have the highest average rates of any Victorian council - $2122 - a jump of $111 since last year. Herald Sun 29th June 2012

Charges of Conflict of Interest against Cr. Belinda Clarkson were dismissed in Heidelberg Magistrates Court on Friday 15th June. 
"I find ...that the...uneducated opinion, of the chief executive officer...did not displace the reasonableness of the defendant's belief" (see para 56).
Read the Judgement here  DVL Article here 

Video on the danger of Bushfire in Warrandyte. Also applicable to most of Nillumbik.
 Don't Wait and See is a production of Manningham City Council to assist the residents of Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs in their preparation of their bushfire plans and to understand the specific fire risks associated with living in the greater Warrandyte area.

Steve Price talks to Nillumbik Shire Mayor Helen Coleman about local management and maintenance of roadsides in bushfire prone areas.
Steve Price MTR interviews Mayor Helen Coleman 29th Nov 2011 Download
Brian Murray Responds Download

Change to the 10/30 rule from 18th November 2011
HOMEOWNERS in Victoria's most bushfire-prone areas will from today be able to clear all vegetation except trees up to 50 metres from their house without a permit, under laws brought in by Planning Minister Matthew Guy.The Age 18/11/2011

Black Saturday Bushfires

David Packham, Australian and International bushfire expert is interviewed by "A Current Affair’s Tracy Grimshaw" on the fire ground of Black Saturday. Transcript Here

Roger Franklin on his Book "INFERNO - The day Victoria Burned" On ABC TV