Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Wangaratta Council rebels against DSE

with 12 comments

For years, locals have complained that the council is nothing but a rubber stamp and now,  Ex Mayor Roberto Paino feels the same way.  The following Chronicle article shows the Council’s frustration.  Council has started an extraordinary war of words with the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and they should be congratulated and encouraged to fight the good fight and reclaim Municipality control.   That would be a great step backwards towards grass roots democracy

Council is sick of being used as rubber stamp

Written by STEVEN BURKE. – source: Wangaratta Chronicle A DEFIANT Rural City of Wangaratta is sick of being used as a rubber stamp.

Council has started an extraordinary war of words with the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), after the rural city was overruled in a recent planning permit decision. The DSE objected to a planning permit application by a Melbourne couple to remove native vegetation from the roadside at Hansonville to allow for power to be connected to the property.

And because the DSE is a statutory referral authority, council had no choice but to go along with the decision.

Council voted to refuse the planning permit at Tuesday night’s council meeting, meaning the applicants, Martin and Christine Browne, currently have no way of connecting power to their Banksdale Road property so they can build their dream home.

But the issue has gone beyond one couple’s retirement dream, with Councillor Roberto Paino firing a broadside at the DSE, and claiming council will no longer be a rubber stamp for referral authorities.

With the support of his fellow councillors, Cr Paino put forward the motion (which was passed): “where a referral authority is an objector, the council takes all steps necessary to facilitate the attendance at a conciliation meeting by the referral authority which is objecting, by council, and the applicant with a view to achieving an outcome suitable to the requirements of all parties“.

He said the DSE needed to come to the table and negotiate.

If the referral authority is an objector, then we become a rubber stamp,” Cr Paino said.

I don’t think that’s fair, given that in this particular case council attempted to facilitate a conciliation meeting with a view to reaching a suitable outcome to meet everybody’s requirements.

We tried that but unfortunately, the response was, ‘no it’s not going to happen, that’s the decision, you’ll have to wear it’.

Cr Paino said it was hoped council’s decision would avoid the situation where “someone can pull a bit of legislation out and say ‘this is going to happen, like it or lump it’“.

Crs Doug McPhie, Anthony Griffiths and Rozi Parisotto also spoke to the motion, with Cr McPhie saying council was being stopped from attracting residents to the rural city.

We want to attract people to this town and we have a ridiculous situation where a referral authority objects to it and we as a council, who represent the people of Wangaratta have to go along with it,” he said.

Cr Griffiths said it was a case of “bureaucracy gone mad“.


Written by Greg Naylor

24 July 2009 at 4:58 pm

Posted in PERSONAL

12 Responses

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  1. A permit to “remove native vegetation from the roadside … to allow for power to be connected to the property”??

    Around here you wouldn’t even need a permit. The Alpine council tends to turn a blind eye to people clearing all types of vegetation on building sites, even on hillsides where it has caused massive erosion.

    But it’s not because they’re ‘bucking the DSE etc’. It’s because they’re half asleep.

    The problem in this case is that the Wang council is too much on the ball. I mean think about it, who told the couple they needed the permit? Oh, that’d be the council I guess.

    Ray Dixon

    25 July 2009 at 1:46 am

    • Here’s a different approach from today’s Wimmera Mail Times

      Farmers to clear roads 24 July 2009, 10:02 am
      FIVE major projects in Yarriambiack Shire will share in State Government funding of more than $820,000. Member for Northern Victoria Candy Broad visited the shire yesterday to announce Small Towns……

      Greg Naylor

      25 July 2009 at 4:24 am

  2. Good on you, Roberto.

    Glad to see you take a stand for your community!

    Mario Galteri

    25 July 2009 at 11:24 am

    • I’m not sure if the Wang council is “taking a stand” here, Greg & Mario. Are you sure they’re not just trying to create a favourable impression? After all, as I pointed out above, surely it was the council who required the applicants to apply for this permit in the first place. And surely the council knew what might happen.

      Ray Dixon

      25 July 2009 at 11:46 am

  3. Ray, residents have to apply for a permit, but it should be up to the shire to approve or not, not DSE.

    If the DSE do not approve they they should explain why. Individuals also may object and they have to state their case. DSE should be no different.

    Maybe its a power play?
    Mario Galteri

    Mario Galteri

    25 July 2009 at 3:04 pm

    • Mario, the residents in this case only “had to apply for a permit” to clear the vegetation because the council made them do it. They could have just turned a blind eye to it, which you’d think they’d do if they really wanted these people to be able to build.

      Ray Dixon

      25 July 2009 at 6:24 pm

  4. Over recent years, our councillors have been led into rubber stamping by the forceful bureaucratic approach of the CEO, Doug Sharp, who appears to be the principal decision maker in the Rural City of Wangaratta.

    Every month,there are complaints by councillors that “their hands are tied” by government instrumentalities. Cr Roberto Paino has finally complained publicly about the problem and our councillors have recognised they should be representing the electorate instead of the State Government.

    I am trying to foster a favourable impression for a council that has stood up publicly on behalf of the people it represents. W must let the council know that we support their ‘rebellion’ against the system

    Greg Naylor

    25 July 2009 at 7:32 pm

    • Well Greg, I’m sceptical about most councillors’ commitment to ‘buck the system’. The fact is we tend to elect conservative people who do do not ‘rock the boat’ and any candidate who speaks out for change is usually punished by the voters. So what we get is a bunch of conservative councillors who just tow the line.

      I might stand to be corrected on this but I seriously doubt you’ve got a council in Wang that is any different to any other bunch of conforming nerds.

      Ray Dixon

      25 July 2009 at 11:03 pm

  5. Does Mr Brumby need a permit to say this or does he over rule bothe the Councils and DSE?
    As quoted in the Sun…

    “A HUGE clearance of scrub from properties and roadsides will be held in October to make Victoria safer ahead of the next bushfire season.

    Premier John Brumby said the community-based clean-up would help prevent a repeat of the Black Saturday inferno, which destroyed thousands of homes and claimed more than 170 lives.

    Mr Brumby called on Victorians to get out their pruning saws, shears and axes to clean up their back yards and communities to make the state as safe as possible.

    Victorians will be asked to cut trees, bush and scrub from their properties and from school grounds and public spaces. ”

    Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians!

    Mario Galteri

    25 July 2009 at 10:29 pm

  6. Greg,
    Nothing to do with this topic, but how do I get my mug shot on here like you guys?

    Mario Galteri

    26 July 2009 at 4:48 pm

    • You have to register at first, Mario. Go to the site, click on “sign up now”, fill in the details, but then just select “only a user name”. After that it should tell you how to upload an avatar that will show up on any comments you make at a WP blog when you’re logged in.

      Ray Dixon

      26 July 2009 at 11:24 pm

  7. lets see if i got it to work

    Mario Galteri

    27 July 2009 at 7:07 pm

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