November 29, 2012  |  Members Statement

Planning: water catchment developmen

Last week the Minister for Water released new planning guidelines for housing development within water catchments, which purported to be good news for landowners in regional communities. This was in response to the hundreds of distressed landowners across regional Victoria who had purchased land in the expectation that they would be able to build but have found, especially since a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision earlier this year, that they have been denied that right.

I have spoken with several such distressed landowners, especially in the Hepburn, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander shires, and I have joined them in writing to both the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Water to request that they find a practical solution to this challenge. 

While I and my constituents are still awaiting written responses to our correspondence, the Minister for Water last week pretended that he had put forward a solution. However, this solution is nothing but smoke and mirrors, a cruel hoax for these many distressed landowners — and I note that the Weekly Times has echoed this view.

When speaking on this issue in the house this week the minister said: 

… some members of Parliament around Victoria are disengaged from their communities. They do not know what is going on in their communities …

Clearly the minister himself is at the top of that list. 

I call on the minister to come out to meet with my constituents, to listen to their concerns and then to go back to his drawing board and come up with a real solution which will see these landowners learning that there is a path open to them that will enable them to build their homes on their land within the next year — —

The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The member’s time has expired.