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Planning abuse
Posted by Tony on 3rd December 2014 at 09:30:11
Dan Andrews has done what leaders have to do, summed up many deep fractious arguments and arrived at a conclusion that could not be stated more simply: the East West Link proposal is and always was a dud project. Six weeks of diligent panel hearings, subsequent deliberations and reporting said exactly that, at least to the limit allowed by their brief, but in so many words that the relentless nonsense about congestion busting, etc. retained traction amongst the overwhelming majority who were not really interested. My identification of dozens of Wrong Way Go Back points, whilst useful to me and maybe a few more of our oppositional network, still didn't get to the point the way "dud project" does.

It is widely accepted that there are two state ministries in which you can do no right: Public Transport and Planning. Relying on an overarching planning minister from Colac who maintained his own town's position alongside Deer Park as the most underserviced in the state has left the idea of separating parliamentary responsibility for Public Transport as a Labor tactic, and one for which Jill Hennessy's familiarity with the Altona loop is a solid induction.

The very meaning of "planning" has become corrupted by its role in ensuring the illusion of economic growth is (mostly) maintained by banks creating new money in the form of "development" approvals. An esoteric system of zoning, overlays and ad hoc changes has become a magnet for abuse rather than the checks and balances it is supposed to apply. It says a lot for the character of a decent bloke that Justin Madden can retire honourably from politics as he did from footy, largely forgiven for the wounds of his time as Planning Minister.

With East West, Matty Guy raised the level of abuse of ministerial responsibility for planning even higher that the rash of vertically stacked Little Boxes that are his chosen legacy. It says a lot about the Liberal Party's pre-occupation with the push of a tiny minority of radicalised "Christians" with controlling women's bodies that they aren't bothered by Guy's culpability and are happily proposing him as their next leader. Three democratically elected and politically diverse councils faced with the potential consequences of East West took a serious look at his "ministerial determinations" and decided they were so inappropriate they needed to be overturned in the courts.

Given the blanket propaganda, it is a testament to the intelligence of Victorians that when asked not about priorities but for a Xmas stocking yes-no on East West, a large minority still says No! May Born to Rule soon go the way of Jewel in the Crown. I'm happy to jump on board with Dan's notion that we invest in production of (useful) ideas, and trust my Green friends in parliament to do the job the Liberals are incapable of: holding the new government to account as needed.

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