SOS AGM 2017

    Notice of FY 16/17 Annual General Meeting and screening of “Citizen Jane – Battle for the City”

Save Our Suburbs Inc (Vic) will hold its 2017 AGM on Sunday 19th November 2017 at 2:30pm in Meeting Room 1, Hawthorn Library, 584 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn.
The SOS Committee decided earlier this year not to levy membership fees for the 17/18 financial year, and that all paid-up members from FY 15/16 would remain current members for this financial year. Consequently, all SOS members financial until 30 June 2016 (FY 15/16) or later are current members and may vote at this AGM.

At this AGM, the Association will –
– Confirm the minutes of the last preceding annual general meeting;
– Receive a report from the President and a s94 financial report for last financial year
– Elect a proportion of the Officers and Committee members of the Association, as follows:
Vice-President, Treasurer & Secretary; three ordinary committee members

Nominations for the committee:
Nominations must be in writing and signed by the current member and two other current members of the Association. Nomination forms are on our website home-page: but any format is acceptable if it contains the required information. Call 0424 104 274 for further details.
Nominations must be received at least 7 days before the AGM (ie, by Nov. 12th, 2017). Send to:
The Secretary, SOS, PO Box 739, Richmond 3121; or scan and email to
Any candidate statements received will be posted on the SOS website.

If you are a current member unable to attend the AGM and want another current member or the Chair to act on your behalf, please complete a Proxy form and send it by 3pm Thursday November 16th 2017 to:
The Secretary, PO Box 739, Richmond 3121; or scan and email to

The Secretary,
Save Our Suburbs

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After the AGM we will screen the 2016 feature documentary

“Citizen Jane – Battle for the City”

This inspiring feature film details the successful struggle of activist Jane Jacobs and local NY residents against the motorways and soulless hi-rise blocks proposed by despotic planner Robert Moses in post-WW11 New York City.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody” – Jane Jacobs
“A celebration of grassroots activism and a cry for community” – The Observer

“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City review – New York’s urban planning war retold” (Guardian, 4.5.17)
“A new documentary leaves Jane Jacobs trapped in the rubble of old arguments” (LA Times, 13.4.17)
“Street fighter: how Jane Jacobs saved New York from Bulldozer Bob” (Guardian, 1.5.17)

Council Candidate Survey finds Victorians unhappy with direction of planning

SOS MEDIA RELEASE,  October 14, 2016:

Our state wide survey of council candidates for local government elections on 22 October indicates widespread community concern with the management and direction of planning in Victoria.

To date, about 450 candidates, from all backgrounds and political persuasion, have responded. The Survey is live and will continue until Election Day.

Candidates were first asked to list main local governance and planning issues in their area, providing a snapshot of key local issues across the State and revealing many common concerns.

Questions on improved governance received overwhelming support:
•    90% said we needed more transparency
•    85% support political donations reform
•    75% support stronger enforcement of permit conditions and oversight of building quality
•    70% said Council need more standardised financial reporting
•    60% support tighter planning controls to protect residents

Views were mixed on the benefit of the current development boom for housing affordability.
Views were also mixed on how to prioritise competing issues, such as “economic activity through construction” and long term environmental sustainability.

Candidates were asked about the vexed issue of political affiliation. Despite public interest and concern, there is much secrecy and little public information on political affiliation in Victoria.
Candidates responded about 64% with no affiliation, 8% Liberal, 13% Labor, 11% Green, 6% other.

Candidates were finally asked to give their view on “How happy do you think your local residents are with the way Victoria is being developed?”
•    27% “Very unhappy and concerned”
•    26% “Moderately unhappy”
•    27% said they thought that Victorians were unsure
•    18% “Moderately happy”
•    2% ” Very happy”

While the community survey has limitations due to bias and self selection, it is indicative of serious community concern and unhappiness with the direction of planning in Victoria. SOS members are concerned that Victoria’s liveability is being diminished by poor quality, poorly designed or excessive development. Inclusive local communities, local shops, safe streets and caring communities are not valued, let alone protected. Victorians from across the State, from different political spectrum and all backgrounds seem to share our concern.

The survey is supported by over two dozen community groups. Full details, supporters and results are posted below.

Responses to 2016 Local Council Candidate Survey

Candidates have started to send in answers to our Planning Survey, see below.

Thanks to all who have already responded.

The Survey is open until election day. Answers will be added as they arrive.

A link to the live answers will be sent to over 100 community groups across Victoria. Please feel free to use and circulate the Survey and Answers.

2016 Local Council Candidate Survey

In September, SOS sent a survey to approx 1900 Local Council candidates. The survey is supported by community and planning organisations from across Victoria, see below.

The purpose of the survey is to help inform voters on candidate’s views and also to draw candidate’s attention to some key issues of concern.

Results will be circulated and published on SOS and other community organisation websites over the next month, as they come in.

Please let us know if you wish to be included as signatory, so far:

Save Our Suburbs
Blue Wedges
Carlton Residents Association
Coalition of Residents and Business Associations
Green Wedges Coalition
Eastern Ratepayers
Citizens for a Liveable Melbourne
Glen Eira Residents Association
Ratepayers Victoria
Beaumaris Conservation Society
Darebin Appropriate Development Association
Croydon Conservation Society
Save Albert Park
Friends of Banyule
Port Phillip Conservation Council
Save Moonee Ponds
Macedon Ranges Residents’ Association
Save Coburg
Cardinia Ratepayers & Residents Association
West of Elgar Residents’ Association
Collingwood and Abbotsford Residents Association
Westernport and Peninsular Protection Council
Brighton Residents for Urban Protection
Brimbank Urban Planning – Community Discussion Group


SOS Editorial – Federal Election 2016.

In the current atmosphere of unprecedented political, social and environmental instability, there are some fundamental issues that SOS recommends all members should think carefully about before they vote in the current federal election.

This is a time when society is being increasingly challenged by an economy in transition and by the stress of population growth, infrastructure backlog, social fragmentation and lack of affordable housing.  Representative democracy has never suffered as much lip-service and window-dressing. The major political parties continue to avoid limiting political donations and are increasingly compromised by funding from developers in particular. Trying to meet the challenge of climate change and reduce our carbon footprint while maintaining high population growth and over-developing our green suburbs makes little sense.

These issues are not just local but global. Brexit is just the latest in a sequence of political and economic events that look set to continue and worsen. Similar predictions were made as far back as 1972 when “The Limits to Growth” was released. This set of computerised global scenarios developed at MIT in the US included a “business as usual” scenario that resulted in a global economic, population and environmental collapse by around 2040.  The model indicated that the global economic decline would start to become obvious by 2015/16.  This is the track we are still currently following.

Computer models come and go but this is one of the rare ones which has stood the test of time.  In 2014, the Melbourne University Sustainability Institute fed recent UN data into the original MIT program and demonstrated that over the last 40 years, the model’s predictions have matched real events very closely – so far.  See:
This research was also featured in the Guardian:

So there is an urgent imperative to transition from traditional economic and land use systems to a more sustainable and balanced model.  SOS addressed some of the related urban planning issues in a recent wide-ranging submission to the state government’s “Managing Residential Development” Advisory Committee.  The submission includes links to explanatory documents.  For details of the submission and its 3 appendices, see

The submission explains these key points (more references are provided in the submission itself):
* Building approvals for apartments in most Melbourne suburbs have surged ahead of projected requirements and of actual demand, an unsustainable situation
* Population growth greatly increases the requirement for more infrastructure and services:
* There is no actual housing shortage, just too many empty investor properties and under-utilised dwellings
* Housing affordability won’t be improved by building more houses, only by reducing the levers that push up prices and rents – i.e., land banking by development corporations, inequitable investor tax concessions, inadequate controls on foreign investment in Australian property, etc:
* Most people don’t want apartments but for many it’s all they can afford:
* There is a desperate need for better and more fully integrated public transport, which can be economically feasible metro-wide, even including the outer suburbs:
* Road traffic congestion is best addressed by public transport demand-side management and by building rail in parallel with arterial roads, an apparent contradiction known as the Downs-Thomson Paradox – more roads just encourages more traffic:
* Many sustainability factors are not considered in our planning system
* The need for mandatory planning controls to counteract mis-management of permit assessments and to provide more certainty and consistency
* The need for deliberative community consultation in planning policy development and council governance

Continue reading

Open Forum on Fishermans Bend

FBN-OpenConversation081215 (1)

The Fishermans Bend Network are conducting a forum in the Performance Space at the Dockland Library on the 8th of December. 

The purpose of the forum is to try and find out what we have learnt from Southbank, Docklands and Yarra’s Edge and how can this assist us to do better. This is more of a social exploration to find out the sorts of communities that have evolved and how well they are functioning. How well has the built form, both the private and public, supported the evolving communities.

Further information contact David Rayson 0418 545 172


Dr Greg Moore speaks on Suburban Trees and Urban Sustainability at the SOS AGM 2015

Save Our Suburbs held the 2015 AGM on Sunday 15 November at the Library at the Dock, 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands. Following the meeting Dr Greg Moore spoke on the importance of Suburban Trees and Urban Sustainability.

Dr Greg Moore was Principal of Burnley College at Melbourne University from 1988 to 2007, Lecturer in Plant Science and Arboriculture from 1979, and Head of the School of Resource Management from 2002 to 2007. Greg has a specific interest in arboriculture, the scientific study of tree cultivation and management. He is a major speaker at Australian and overseas conferences and has contributed to the development of Australian Standards in pruning and amenity tree evaluation. He has been a regular on Melbourne radio, particularly ABC 774 and 3AW.

He has chaired the committee of the National Trust of Victoria’s Register of Significant Trees since 1996. He has been on the Boards of Greening Australia (Vic) since 1989 and of Sustainable Gardening Australia since 2002. For the last 10 years has chaired Treenet, an independent organisation seeking to improve the urban forest.

A ministerial nomination as a Trustee for the Trust for Nature, he has also served on a number of industry and TAFE committees. He is currently pursuing research related to trees and re-vegetation in the urban environment

His papers & articles include:

  • “Tree Management for Carbon, Energy and Drought Efficiency”
  • “Climate Change, Healthy Gardens and Healthy People”, and
  • “Urban Trees – Worth More Than They Cost”.

For articles and papers by Dr Moore and related references on the health and economic value of trees and open space, click here.      For copy of Dr Moore’s presentation, click here.

At the AGM, SOS confirmed the minutes of the last AGM; received a Committee report on SOS transactions during the last financial year; considered the statement submitted by the Association under s94 of the new Act and elected officers of the Association and ordinary members of the Committee.  The following members were elected:

President & Treasurer – Ian Wood

Vice-President – Rosetta Manaszewicz

Secretary – Ann Birrell

Committee members – Cheryl Forge, Mike Taafe, David Rayson. The following committee members are continuing:  Don Dunstan, Les Clark, Peter Anscombe.

Planning Act Amendment (Recognising Objectors) Bill 2015

Planning Minister Wynne claims the Bill is going to improve decision-making and planning outcomes, and increase the confidence of residents in the planning system. 

Will it make a difference?  Very little…..   See our edited submission to the Parliamentary Environment & Planning Committee (submissions closed on July 6).

THIS is how the relevant bits of the Act would read if the Bill in its current form is passed

This issue is politically important because this Bill is the result of an ALP election promise to ‘give the community a voice‘.  The Minister claims the Bill will improve decision-making and planning outcomes, and increase community confidence in the planning system.  But if it’s going to be able to do that, it needs to be toughened up a bit first – and the Upper House of Parliament is the best place to start!

So please lobby your local MPs and cross-bench Upper House MPs, even if you just reiterate some of our key points and your own comments.

Sixteen submissions have been lodged with the Upper House Parliamentary Environment & Planning Committee, which consists of 3 Coalition MPs, 3 ALP MPs, Greens planning spokesperson Samantha Dunn MP and Daniel Brown MP of the Shooters and Fishers Party – quite a varied bunch, and the cross-benchers have more power in the new Parliament.

At a half-day hearing on July 10, five organisations also addressed the Committee – the transcripts of their comments can be read HERE (including only one community group presentation).

The Bill won’t come up again in the Parliament until after the winter recess (ie, in August), so this is an ideal time to talk to your local MP.

Worried about local overdevelopment in Glen Eira and Port Phillip?

STOP PRESS!   Do you have concerns about over-development such as apartments or multi-storey buildings in Glen Eira and Port Phillip, or questions about planning laws?

Join the Shadow Minister for Planning and Local Government the Hon David Davis MLC and local Caulfield Liberal MP David Southwick on Monday 27 July in Caulfield to contribute and express your concerns.

This is your chance to let the Opposition know what you think of the way the new residential zones have been implemented in Glen Eira, unleashing nearly 90 years worth of extra housing!  Yet the community was never consulted by Council on the form and location of the new zones.

Monday, 27 July 2015,  7:30pm – 9:00pm

Caulfield Park Pavilion Hall, Balaclava Rd, Caulfield North RSVP essential by 5pm Monday 27 July via phone 9527 3866 or email

VCAT Dangers – request to cancel or amend a permit (s89 appeal)

This sort of appeal is very different to an ordinary s82 objectors’ VCAT appeal against a council decision to approve a planning application.  Once a planning permit has been issued, an objector who wasn’t notified of the granting of the permit for some reason can only appeal against the permit under s89 of the Planning and Environment Act. Continue reading