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Inner city planning ‘mainstream issue’

12 Nov 2013

Inner city planning ‘mainstream issue’ Image

By Sean Rogasch

Inner city planning has thrust itself into the state political spotlight, according to Labor member for Albert Park, Martin Foley.

“Inner city planning is now rightly a mainstream state political issue,” Mr Foley said at the Southbank Residents’ Group’s (SRG) AGM in October. He added that groups such as the SRG had significantly contributed to the issue’s rise in prominence.

The issue has always been important in Southbank, but Mr Foley’s comments suggest that it goes far wider than postcode 3006.

Further proof of its rise is that inner city planning has also gained major media coverage over the past 12 months, with representatives from the SRG appearing on ABC TV and radio, commercial television and radio and in the daily metro papers.

In a follow-up statement to the Southbank Local News Mr Foley said communities like Southbank had matured to a point that they could now demand to be at the forefront of political minds.

“The people of Southbank deserve nothing less than these issues to be taken seriously by all levels of government,” Mr Foley said.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy agreed with the sentiment, but pointed out that inner city planning did not affect all Victorians.

“Inner city planning is a major issue, but I doubt that inner city planning is an issue of concern to residents in the outer suburbs or in country Victoria,” Mr Guy said.

As is the political way these days, Messrs Guy and Foley couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a swipe at each.

“For Martin Foley to make comments that planning in Southbank is an issue of concern to residents in Mallacootta or Mildura is a reflection on Labor’s city centric attitude to Victoria,” Mr Guy said.

Perhaps it’s actually a reflection of Mr Foley taking up issues within his electorate which is, of course, what he is elected to do.

Mr Foley was just as keen to throw a political barb, saying: “Here (Southbank) Matthew Guy rules as the unchallenged Planning Tsar.”

With the progress made by the SRG and the City of Melbourne on planning issues in the last 12 months, both groups have a right to believe that this is far from the case.

Regardless of your political persuasion, as politicians look for alternatives to the urban sprawl, inner city planning has become a major issue and Southbank will continue to be right at the heart of the debate.

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