Broken 2010 Election Promises re 590 Orrong Road

With the 2 major parties busy making election promises, the Orrong Group can speak from 4 years experience of the failure of politicians to keep their promises post election.

Michael O’Brien said to parliament before the last election in late July 2010 (see Extract VicHansard 29 July 2010) about this development:

“If Stonnington residents are again ignored by this Government, I have no doubt they will respond at the ballot box in November, and it will prove fatal to the career of the member for Prahran”.

The full statement indicates the Coalition was against this massive over development in our suburb, and would assist and empower local government and the local community to stop it.

Indeed, the Member for Prahran announced just before the last election in October 2010:

” We will scrap the laws which make it easy for!developers to get approval for things like Orrong Towers. The Urban  Development Programme, A Brumby government document, earmarks the site for high rise developments with 440 dwellings recommended.

A Liberal Coalition Government will urgently review the Urban Development Program assessment for the number of dwellings appropriate for the site at 590 Orrong Road with a view to reducing the density in line with Stonnington’s local planning scheme and the protection of local amenity.
We will give power back to the local communities again to protect and shape the future of our inner city neighbourhoods.”

Despite the promises, and the ‘talk’ about giving power back to local communities, when Stonnington and the local community took prompt, active and direct steps to propose, strongly support and implement an amendment to the Planning Scheme to put density and height restrictions on the site, this government failed to comply with its prior election promise; and certainly failed to do so when  it counted.

Minister Guy could have made good on his Government’s prior election promise by putting interim controls on the site pending the finalisation of Stonnington’s proposed amendment to the planning scheme.

We pleaded with him to save our community from this ‘whelan the wrecker’ type assault.

But no, he sat on Stonnington’s request for the interim planning controls for months and months.And then, only days before the VCAT hearing, he denied it on the most unintelligible grounds.  

Instead, he intentionally allowed the developer’s permit application to go to VCAT, and exposed the community to the same planning rules which he vociferously opposed before the last election, as flawed.

And then in a final act of political cynicism, in October this year, just before this coming election, Minister Guy finally approved Stonnington’s and the community’s amendment to the planning scheme  – proving he agreed with it  –  but more than a year after the developer already obtained its planning permit!

This is a story about political deceit and negligence; and while that is not a subject about which voters need much reminding (which of course is tragic), it remains the case that we must remember that, as politicians go on their campaigns in pursuit of power, and boldly make promises asking the community to trust them – they are affecting peoples’ lives.

So, as building is about to start on this site, and the election is fast approaching, we can only repeat Michael O’Brien’s prophetic statement made before the last election:

“If Stonnington residents are again ignored by this Government, I have no doubt they will respond at the ballot box in November, and it will prove fatal to the career of the member for Prahran”.

Our experience over 4 years of the Coalition Government is disheartening. We can’t comment on the ALP in opposition.

The Orrong Group has maintained a non-party position but as planning is politics we feel it appropriate to comment now.

It is still open to both parties to rescue this site for the community. It is an ideal site for the Stonnington Secondary School. It would correct past errors of the Kennett Government which sold off the public land at 590 Orrong Road and of the Stonnington Council which sold public land at 4 Osment Street (the Council nursery and depot) in 2003 to the same developer (Frank Hargraves Skilled Engineering).

Margot Carroll
Orrong Group


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by NathanR on November 27, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Forget the law and the lawmakers, they have let us down. The only way to make Lend Lease act for us, is by the force of money. Before the buildings go up, we need to start a campaign against the prospective purchasers to make a purchase here unattractive.
    The thought of unsold apartments may make LLC reconsider.


  2. Posted by Judi Carr on January 24, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Is the Orrong Group going to support those owners affected by the proposed C197 Amendment which proposes to put a public acquisition overlay over their homes so that at some time in the future, the council may or may not take their home from them? The council can acquire homes now they have the money from the 590 Orrong Road developer contributions. Please get behind these residents.


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