Brunswick terminal planning process infuriates residents

Chris Hingston

BRUNSWICK residents are incensed by new information that they claim shows the state government ignored options that would have given them a greater say in the planning process of the Brunswick terminal station.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy this year allowed the $271 million terminal expansion, overturning a Moreland City council decision to block the development.

The state government initially attempted to conceal the options available to conduct the planning process.

The full approval document signed by Mr Guy has been released under Freedom of Information laws to Brunswick MLA Jane Garrett.

The other options centre on a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal appeal lodged by the power companies against the council’s decision to knock back the terminal application.

One option was that the planning minister call-in the application from the council and VCAT process – which Ms Garrett said would have meant a hearing at an independent planning panel.

The other option was to allow the VCAT appeal to play out with no state government interference.

Both these options were “not preferred”, the documents stated.

Merri Creek Residents Group spokesman Ray Collodetti said the new information showed the minister had ignored options that did not guarantee the larger terminal station’s approval. He said the outcome was pre-determined.

“It shows contempt for the people and contempt for the process and it needs to be reversed,” he said.

Ms Garrett said the information showed in “black and white” the government had chosen to remove  residents’ rights to appeal against the terminal development.

“This disturbing revelation reeks of contempt for the community,” she said.

State government spokeswoman Justine Sywak said any suggestion the state government had not followed proper process was “incorrect”. “A permit has been issued and the matters planning approval is now concluded.”