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11th March  2004

Missing the point of balance in planning



Victorian Planning and Environment Ministers have been targeted weekly for months on end for so called meddling in farm management matters.  Is it just wingeing farmers ?


Melbourne and Victoria are two of the most livable places in the world ----because of planning. It would be a pity if the current Victorian government stuffed up the always precarious role of planners with yet another quick fix move that is not field tested , insults planners and best practice planning . This failure to recognize what has also made Victoria’s world class system of dispute resolution work is costing government dearly- maybe even historically.  Having continued to sow the popular old seed of paper policy driven drivel and duplication and diminution of responsibility, they are reaping the whirlwind.


Maybe this lot haven’t dealt well enough with the yes men of a previous era? After all they seem determined to create more paperwork ,“quangos” (EDO’s ,consultant reports  , and new coastal boards for eg ) and less and less responsibility in rural areas.

The simple facts are that both sides of the house are still tripping over themselves with so called new ideas (really just the same old same old business is government nonsense ) that don’t work and overload innovators with paperwork , reinforce nimbyism and cost everyone the earth !


Some of the ambitious changes in schemes are to be welcomed, so it would be a serious matter if they fail. Especially when ,with a bit of wisdom, the existing committed resources in time, effort and competent people weren’t put back into rebuilding trust out in the bush where understanding , empowerment , stewardship and custody is always more than fine words on paper . 


Most of this angst is unnecessary ---environmental and planning best management practice must be adopted  where it counts .

Rural people don’t want the insufficient suck eggs stuff of the policy sector.  They want and deserve someone who makes practical commonsense decisions about complex issues – production ecologists in their own regions . 

Production ecologists in regional areas who can back sound land managers and their decisions (and therefore protect their bent over backs) are some of the most endangered species in rural areas, yet they are essential to ensure justice and let innovators get on with the job they are best at .


Rural people, despite knowing nature’s cycles and acting early , have for too long had to bear the brunt of carelessly imposed “green” and quick fix imperatives that act too late, cost too much tax and don’t work .  This doesn’t mean the participants are always right . But its an outrage of great injustice that producers have to stand up and defend themselves alone against their neighbours .


For the latest  on the nimby phenomenon and how governments are promoting it

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