By CHARLENE MACAULAY
FOOTSCRAY MP Marsha Thomson has called on State Planning Minister Matthew Guy to relinquish his planning authority over Footscray’s CBD.
Ms Thomson publicly called on Mr Guy to return planning powers to Maribyrnong City Council in Parliament recently, saying the minister was simply rubber stamping every major development without considering the amenity of the area.
“Since the minister has held this position, there has been a total disconnect between him and the community over a lot of planning work done in relation to the way in which Footscray is developed,” she said.
“No actual planning is taking place in Footscray – the minister just says ‘yes’ to every major development.
“Two 31-storey developments are being built right on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, despite the minister himself having said that the Maribyrnong and Yarra rivers should be protected from these developments.
“I urge him to give this power back to the council, which will take into account the needs of the community.”
But Mr Guy said he was simply continuing on in a role created by the Labor Government when they were in power.
“Marsha Thompson is a complete hypocrite given that in 2007 she said that the then Planning Minister’s involvement in Footscray was a ‘commitment to rejuvenation’ of Footscray,” Mr Guy said.
“The Labor Government made themselves the responsible authority for Footscray, not myself and the Coalition Government.
“I am the planning authority for this area as the previous government determined that the State was best placed to manage change in an activities area like Footscray.
“In 2007 the council and local MP Marsha Thomson all welcomed this decision. The only thing that has changed since then is the State Government.
“Calls for the reinstatement of the council as the responsible authority are clearly just a political dispute and not one based on real community desire.”
Meanwhile, Maribyrnong mayor Grant Miles said the council preferred if the Inner Melbourne Action Plan Implementation Committee, which the council recently joined, would take over planning authority.
IMAP also includes the Cities of Melbourne, Yarra, Stonnington and Port Phillip.
“We don’t get consulted enough, the way the system works right now,” Cr Miles said.
“Maribyrnong City Council would like to be involved at an earlier stage, to a much greater degree, in planning in central Footscray, particularly Josephs Rd.”