Archive for the ‘Policies’ Category
Policies refers to action that addresses issues at a government level. This could be policy recommendations or comments on current policy about urban sustainability issues and could refer to local, state or federal government level. If you work in government or are contributing to creating sustainable policies, you are welcome to post your thoughts on Sustainable Melbourne. To do so visit the “How to use this site” page and follow the prompts.
Image from the Implementation Plan summary
The Living Melbourne, Living Victoria Roadmap was released in March 2011. It outlined the recommended priorities for reform to support achievement of the Government’s objectives for urban water. The newly released Living Melbourne Living Victoria Implementation Plan outlines the [Ministerial Advisory Council] MAC’s final recommendations for changes needed to the urban water system to achieve a more sustainable, liveable Melbourne and Victoria.
From “Sense breaks through water debate” by Carolyn Boyd:
[A] new report in Victoria finds this: “the current system does not adequately support the use of alternative water sources (e.g. rainwater and storm water) for non-drinking needs”.
Among a raft of other suggestions, the findings push for stronger building controls to catch stormwater at its source and store it – in some cases in rainwater tanks at properties, and in others in storage tanks big enough for a whole urban precinct. When we have situations where more storm water flows out of a city each year than the city consumes (as is the case in Melbourne), it does seem crazy not to be tapping into the stuff as it falls from the sky.
The strategy aims to reduce the demand for mains water by using stormwater for non-drinking functions such as flushing toilets and washing clothes, and continues to support greater water efficiency in homes through low-use appliances and tap fittings.
The report suggests improved standards should apply to all new and significantly renovated buildings in Victoria. The report models the outcomes of capturing more storm water and provides some interesting insights. One of the scenarios uses a combination of enhanced household water efficiency and rainwater tanks to provide water for toilets, laundry and gardens. In this scenario, mains water was assumed to be used for personal washing and in the kitchen.
The modelling estimated these changes would cut potable water demand by 24 per cent, and lead to a 9 per cent drop in stormwater runoff and an 11 per cent fall in the amount of wastewater being discharged across greater Melbourne by 2050.
In another scenario, domestic rainwater was used for hot water and laundry, while storm water was collected and stored at a precinct or suburb-level, and supplied to households for toilet flushing and gardens. The modelling shows the above would deliver a 38 per cent cut in mains water demand, an 11 per cent drop ?in stormwater runoff and a 32 per cent fall in the wastewater being discharged across greater Melbourne by 2050.
Putting the argument for better water collection in residences, the report noted that larger infrastructure, such as dams and desal plants had a “lumpy, long lead time” and run “much higher risks of saddling customers and/or taxpayers with excessive or unneeded investment” – as many residents across Australia are arguing they are now finding with various desalination plants.
Read the full article by Carolyn Boyd, or read more about Living Melbourne, Living Victoria.
From “A triumph for community gardening” by Thomas, YCAN Local Action Group
One of the most exciting things in Community Gardening happened last weekend. You might have missed it, because it was without fanfare, and very localised: Maud and Neil put up a planter box on a streetside close to where they live. You don’t feel excited? You should do, because this was the first streetside planter box to be installed under the City of Yarra new guidelines. And the City of Yarra guidelines are very progressive. More than that, Yarra are the first local council to employ an officer to facilitate the application of urban agriculture. For that, we congratulate them. The first permit took four months to issue, as all issues of all the relevant departments, and all the bureaucracy and risk aversion of public service had to be negotiated. Without a facilitator, this would have been impossible. The normal reaction of Council would have been to play it safe, and simply reject the concept of planter boxes, nature strip planting, fruit trees and all other forms of urban agriculture in public space. The normal reaction would be to keep things as they are, but the City of Yarra didn’t do this, and they are leading the way, with the eyes of other councils and organisations upon them.
The recent events in Princess Hill, where a divided local reaction stopped the proposal for a community garden on parkland, has demonstrates more stongly than ever that Yarra’s Urban Agriculture Facilitator is needed. It’s not suprising that some urban residents don’t want to loose public open space; it’s equally not surprising that some urban residents feel the strong need to grow some of their own food. The compromise is to use marginal space, like Maud and Neil have: their planter box is on a slight raised area that is neither foot path or road, it is just separation space. The planter box doesn’t interfere with lines of sight or access. It appears from the very short time it has been there to recieve overwhelming support from locals.
But this small scale, decentralised model needs more effort to work, and local residents just don’t have the know-how to get through the local government bureaucracy, and local government departments just don’t have the incentive to deal with local residents on these issues and coordinate with other departments. And because we are talking about marginal space, it is always at the margins of responsiblity.
This is why the Urban Agriculture Facilitator role is so essential. If the role is lost, all the good work that has been done up to now will be wasted. Yarra’s leading position will be lost. It is currently a part time role, but it needs to be increased to five days a week. Time is needed in processing applications and granting permits, and all the communication that involves. In addition available land needs to be put on an inventory, a more robust grants system is needed, more resources are needed for residents of our city, and time needs to be spent on promotion and education.
You can read more about urban agriculture and community gardening in the City of Yarra here, or you can download a pdf of their Guidelines for Neighbourhood Gardening – Planter Boxes.
Back in 2010, we started hearing about the Mt.Buffalo Community Enterprise (MBCE) – a group established to take over the lease of the Mt Buffalo Chalet. At the time, David Brookes, Managing Director of Social Traders said, “The proposed redevelopment of the Chalet by the North East community has the potential to create an iconic social enterprise for Victoria and we welcome the opportunity to support the business planning process over the next 12 months.”
We received a final update from the group today, along with an open letter to the community which we reprint in full below. The MBCE is wrapping up, but support for the Chalet to be used as accommodation is still strong, and the local community is discussing further public meetings with the shire council, so stay involved if you have the chance.
Open Letter to the Community
In 2009, a group of 17 North East residents got together to develop a plan to restore and rejuvenate Mt Buffalo Chalet. As most people know, Mt Buffalo Chalet is a 100 year old heritage listed guest house that closed down in 2007. Today, it remains closed and decaying behind cyclone wire fencing.
We formed a community-owned enterprise that could take over the Chalet and give it a new and viable future. We did it because the prevailing Government policy at the time seemed to rely on some ‘white knight developer’ riding in to save the Chalet. We didn’t and still don’t believe in that. We think the Government and community have to face up to the inherent limitations of the Chalet as a commercial proposition and take ownership of it as a core heritage and community asset. That needs a change in mind-set.
So we lodged a tender, put together a business plan, engaged architects and developed a concept to restore and reopen the Chalet. Our Plan was to cost some $50 million, of which we were seeking about $33.0 million from the State Government. Our community ownership model offered a way to pool Government and private investment with 51% of profits going back to into the community through a separate Mt Buffalo Community Foundation.
Unfortunately, the Government has not supported our proposal. In a recent announcement, Environment Minister Ryan Smith has allocated funds to do further research into options and what the future for the Chalet might be.
On this basis, the members of Mt Buffalo Community Enterprise Pty Ltd. formally resolved on 27 March 2012 to commence wind-up proceedings for our company. We have recognised that the Government has chosen to explore other directions and options and not to follow the community ownership path we proposed for the Chalet.
The Minister says that the Government does not believe that accommodation can be a viable option at Mt Buffalo in the future. We don’t agree. We think it can be viable if the Government is prepared to invest in the necessary infrastructure. More than that, accommodation is intrinsic to what the Chalet is. The situation the Chalet finds itself in can be put down to many decades –under governments of both persuasions – of inadequate investment.
Mt Buffalo Community Enterprise developed a Plan that would restore that Chalet to its former glory, respect its heritage status, and at the same time bring it up to being a 21st century visitor destination. Our vision was to get the people of Victoria and the North East to become actual shareholders in a community-owned, 21st Century Chalet. Under our plan, it would have a modern day visitor interpretative centre and cafe complex as well as accommodation. Our Plan would see the Chalet become –again – a ‘must-see’ visitor destination as a focal point for the whole North East.
The shareholders of Mt Buffalo Community Enterprise accept the Government’s decision. However, our passion and desire to save the Chalet has not diminished.
Our fear now is that the flawed presumption that accommodation can never again work up at the Chalet will gain legs. Our fear is that the accommodation at the Chalet will be demolished to make way for a limited, half-hearted cafe /parks office without first having a grand plan and institutional structure for ownership in place.
If that happens, it will mean that in fact we haven’t saved Mt Buffalo Chalet at all. We will have preserved some of the physical remnants of a former Chalet as some type of museum piece.
Our position remains that Mt Buffalo Chalet should be preserved and rejuvenated as an iconic guesthouse/accommodation and visitor destination for future generations to enjoy. It has the potential to be a significant generator of employment and economic benefit as well as community benefit. As a community, we need to find a way to make the significant investment necessary to achieve that. Indeed, if this is the Government’s goal, we will wholeheartedly support it.
The members of Mt Buffalo Community Enterprise would like to say thank you to everyone in the community who has supported us in our efforts over the past 2 years. We entered this process, in good faith, only because we care about Mt Buffalo Chalet. We are proud of the Plans we developed – they have stood up to significant financial, technical and heritage scrutiny.
What Happens Now?
There is clearly still a need for a broad-based community advocacy group to be formed to advocate into the Government on the communities behalf – “Save Our Chalet”. We have approached Alpine Shire to convene a public meeting in the next month or so to discuss what such a group might look like, ascertain interest and get things moving.
We hope like-minded people and institutions across Victoria and the North East will continue through other channels to advocate and agitate so our children and grand children can one day enjoy a genuine experience of Mt Buffalo Chalet.
John Brown AO
Mt Buffalo Community Enterprise Pty. Ltd.
The locally grown democratic media start-up ‘OurSay‘ is currently competing with 50 other companies from around the world to get into the Unreasonable Institute, a six-week, high-intensity program for entrepreneurs tackling the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges.
OurSay enables people to get important issues on the public agenda. It locks in public decision-makers such as CEOs, politicians and community leaders and gets them to answer tough questions about the issues you care about most. The aim of OurSay is to inform better decision-making, slow down the media cycle to engage seriously with challenging issues, provide more direct feedback between decision-makers and the people they affect, and help people own, influence and take responsibility for the issues they care about. In just under 2 years, OurSay has grown a strong community of users from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Their vision is to see this model of crowd-sourced democracy operating in every city around the world.
Now, after 2 gruelling rounds of vetting, competing against more than 300 organisations from 60 different countries, OurSay is the only Australian organisation left with a chance to make one of the only 25 places at the Unreasonable Institute. By achieving this, OurSay will have the opportunity to build its profile and learn from some of the best organisations for social and environmental good.
To get through, OurSay needs to demonstrate a base of supporters that are willing to support financially. They need to raise raise $10,000 in just 22 days (they are already halfway there).
If you are passionate about using social media for societal change and would like to help this little Aussie start-up, you can donate here in the Unreasonable Institute Marketplace.
|9 February , 2012|
|10:00 am||to||1:30 pm|
In Victoria, proponents of wind turbine projects for domestic, business and community
use, although smaller in scale than large wind farms, may be asked to satisfy the same
environmental criteria as a large wind farm. Meanwhile, local authority decision-makers
are faced with ambiguities in the planning system on how to respond to applications for
small wind turbines: when are proposals exempt from the new 2km restrictions for
Wind projects which are smaller than large commercial wind farms may have a lower
impact on the landscape and the environment. Planning controls for large wind farms in
Victoria may not always be applied to small wind projects, but how should local
authorities in Victoria determine what constitutes an acceptable smaller wind project?
Enhar is organising this event to cater for those who are motivated to find answers to
Date & Time:
Thursday 9th Feb
2012 from 10am – 1:30pm
Brunswick Business Incubator
420 Victoria Street
Brunswick 3056, Melbourne
$50+GST including light lunch
Demian Natakhan: Director, Enhar:
“A case for clearer planning guidance for small wind in Victoria”
John Phillips: Acting Director, Department of Planning and Community Development, Victorian Government:
“Existing planning controls for small wind in Victoria”
There is one month to go to nominate our local cycling individuals and communities to be acknowledged for their efforts in the 10th Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards. Maybe you know of a local advocate, bike shop, school, educational institution, or bicycle-friendly local business that promotes cycling and goes that extra mile. Or have you been to an inspirational cycling event that deserves recognition. The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Canberra in early 2012 that will attended by federal politicians and representatives from national organisations and peak bodies in health, transport and the bicycle industry.
Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards Nominations
Awards nominations can be made online or via a form downloaded from: www.cyclingawards.com.au Please contact the Cycling Promotion Fund on (03) 9863 8646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional questions about making a nomination.
- Professional of the Year Award
- Volunteer of the Year Award
- Cycling Organisation Achievement Award
- Local Government Achievement Award
- Educational Institution Achievement Award
- Cycling Friendly Business Award
- Contribution by a Politician Award
- Bicycle Retailer Achievement Award
- National Media Achievement Award
- Special Initiative or Event to Promote Cycling Award
Application forms and entry must be lodged by the closing date of 5pm, Friday 14th December 2011.
|14 November , 2011|
|9:00 am||to||5:00 pm|
This National Roundtable Forum will seek to develop a common understanding of the problem and identify key areas for action. Social isolation amongst older people is known to lead to poor health outcomes and to increased demand for services ranging from home help to residential care. We are seeking to identify strategies to reduce or prevent social isolation. The forum will facilitate dialogue between decision makers and service providers while engaging older people in the policy development process. Successful approaches should be identified, supported and replicated. The forum will have a focus on evidence based best practice and developing ongoing collaborations between participants. Topics to be covered that impact on social isolation of older people will include:
- Mental Health
- Housing and Urban Development
- Age-Friendly Cities
- Late life learning
- Social Participation, Intergenerational Opportunities and Community Services
- CALD community issues
Monday 14 Nov 2011 from 9:00am to 5:00pm
ZINC at Federation Square, Melbourne
Conference fee: $190 Concession: $140
To register, visit www.4clivingwell.com
|18 June , 2011|
|2:00 pm||to||5:00 pm|
WHAT: Port Phillip Community Q&A on The “Carbon Tax”
WHEN: 2-5pm Saturday 18 June 2011
WHO: John Thwaites, Peter Christoff, Sue Pennicuik, Rachel Powning, Frank O’Connor
WHERE: ST KILDA MEMO – 88 Acland St, St Kilda
|23 March , 2011|
|6:00 pm||to||7:30 pm|
Parts of North and West Melbourne, Kensington, Fishermans Bend and Docklands have been identified for renewal, but will this relieve the strain on the metropolitan fringe? What forms could it take, and who might it provide for? Informed commentators will discuss the types of development, ‘up versus out’ and multi-centred cities, residential densities, appropriate business spaces, affordable spaces for artists and heritage in the city’s old industrial zones.
- Jeff Gilmore – Executive Director Strategic Policy, Research and Forecasting, Department of Planning and Community Development, Melbourne
- David Moloney – Industrial Historian, National Trust of Victoria
- Dr Kate Shaw – ARC Research Fellow, Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne
- David Waldren – General Manager, Grocon Carlton Brewery Development
Moderator: Peter Mares – Journalist and Presenter ABC Radio National.
Discussant: Dr Ruth Fincher – Professor of Geography, University of Melbourne
6.00pm to 7.30pm. Entry from 5.30pm, Wednesday 23 March 2011
BMW Edge, Federation Square, Corner Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
More details: http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/conversations
Source: Moreland Energy Foundation
Moreland Energy Foundation have released a bulletin on the Carbon Pricing debate (and upcoming Get Up rally) with the hope of clarifying some of the facts involved. Thanks MEFL!
Image of 2006 fuel prices from phatman via flickr CC
Both parties agree to 5%: Both parties have committed to reduce emissions by 5% by 2020.
It will cost to cut emissions: Any policy designed to reduce emissions will have a cost to the government (i.e. taxpayers) and/or the economy, at least in the short term. However, a carbon price also has potential to stimulate green industries and create new jobs.
What’s the best way to reduce emissions? If we cut through the media storm, the real question we and our Parliament should be asking is what is the best, most efficient, most effective way to reduce emissions.
Government’s position: The Government argues that its plan for a carbon price (an emissions trading scheme with a fixed price for 3-5 years, which will operate as a tax for this initial period) is the most efficient way to reduce emissions because it is a market mechanism. It says it will provide compensation out of the money it raises from the carbon price to assist householders and businesses. Note that even with compensation, there is an incentive for businesses to reduce emissions in order to avoid paying the tax.
Opposition’s position: The Opposition argues that its plan to directly fund businesses to reduce emissions will be cheaper.
It won’t kill the economy! Whatever you think about the merits of the parties’ arguments, it is clear that neither plan would destroy the economy:
- We’ve been through worse: The impacts of either plan will be less significant than many other impacts we have experienced in recent years, including the impacts of events like the global financial crisis, currency fluctuations, oil price rises, conflict in the Middle East, and over $40 billion of big new investments in electricity infrastructure (poles and wires) over the next five years
- Others have done it: What’s more, much stronger policies to cut emissions (via taxes, emissions trading and other mechanisms) than those proposed by either major party have been introduced around the world in economies that are still running smoothly and in many cases thriving (for example, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an emissions trading scheme involving a number of American states)
- There are opportunities: Reducing emissions can create job opportunities and stimulate economic growth, and has done so in countries with strong clean energy policies such as Germany and China
- There are risks if we don’t act: Not changing to a low emissions economy is a significant risk, because high emissions activities are being phased out around the world and Australia could be left behind.
MEFL believes that the introduction of a carbon price is an important first step in reducing emissions. We accept that market mechanisms help deliver the most cost-effective solutions to complex problems such as greenhouse gas pollution. However, a carbon price will not in itself be sufficient to drive the required emissions reductions and the corresponding social and economic responses. We urge the Government to develop complementary policies and programs designed to support renewable energy and energy efficiency, and assist businesses and communities to respond to carbon pricing appropriately and with minimal disruption. In particular, we encourage the Government to promote energy efficiency as an effective and long-term way to counteract any price increases resulting from the introduction of a carbon price, both for businesses and households.