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2:47 AM
When waste is not thought of as waste

 

On Sept 8, 2015 Manningham Council presented the results of the audit of their Annual Report for 30 June 2015.

There are one or two things I would like to highlight.

 

Manningham Council's disastrous performance at VCAT.

You may be aware that Manningham Council gets involved in numerous disputes with land developers about planning permits and many of these disputes end up at VCAT.

Many of these disputes are a result of the council's arrogance, incompetence and irresponsibility. Let me give you a good example of all three of the above.

One of the first articles I wrote on this website was "Those who make the rules can break the rules". Much of that article is an exact transcript of one such planning decision at a council meeting.

It describes how a land developer worked with the council for one year to make sure his plans complied with all council requirements. When the plans came to be approved by council, some councillors rejected them largely because of subjective views they held.

These councillors told the council staff to prepare a case against the development. The only thing the council staff could do WAS TO PRETEND ALL THE WORK THE COUNCIL DID WITH THE DEVELOPER MAKING SURE HIS PLANS COMPLIED WITH COUNCIL RULES NEVER TOOK PLACE. That's right. They threw all that work out the window and went back to his original plans and said 'LOOK THEY DO NOT COMPLY'. Well, off course they didn't.

What Manningham council overlooked was the fact that the developer had in his hand a document from Manningham Council saying his modified plans complied 100% with council design rules. I am not kidding you. Please read the transcript.

If this developer has any sense he would have gone straight to VCAT. And what do you think VCAT would have done? Manningham Council probably would have been laughed out of court and ordered to pay costs.

I am not kidding you. That is how silly Manningham Council actually is.

 

What percentage of Manningham Council's planning decisions do you think are upheld at VCAT?

Possibly 90%, 80%, 70%. Percentages like this would suggest that Manningham council really knows their stuff and knows how to apply their own rules fairly and accurately.

No, only 44.4% of council planning decisions are upheld by VCAT (See page 65, Minutes Sept 8, 2015). I don't think that is a good percentage. I don't think it instills confidence in Manningham Council's ability to fairly apply their own design rules. That percentage is an average over 12 months. It cannot be said that one or two cases were complicated/ambiguous etc. and gave rise to this low percentage.

Let me explain how bad this percentage is. If you get two sheets of paper and write YES on one and NO on the other and throw darts at them each time you have to make a decision, then on average, without any thinking, research or work at all, you would be right 50% of the time.

Our council gets 44.4% correct.

I know my analogy has it's limitations but I think it does highlight how poorly Manningham council apply their own design rules. VCAT is an independent body whose job is to test and check such council decisions.

Manningham Council's legal costs for 2015 were $707,000 and for 2014 were $1,068,000 so it is not an insignificant amount of money (See page 42, minutes Sept 8, 2015). A good part of this is wasted due to Manningham Council not doing their job properly.

 

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