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Other councils take the lead

Other councils take the lead
Barbara Francis & Rus Littleson

Hello Melbourne City Council – what action will you be taking to improve the lives of Melbourne apartment residents?

Several Melbourne councils with simmering short-stay issues are taking matters into their own hands, frustrated by interminable inertia at the state level.

Now City of Port Phillip, the municipality that includes the tourist mecca of St Kilda, is planning to implement regulations like those adopted by other councils covering the regions of Mornington, Frankston and Yarra Ranges. One of the most fundamental reforms is a registration system – which, if nothing else, will at least provide empirical data on the short stay industry juggernaut.

In its magazine last month, Melbourne City Council congratulated itself on its 2023 agenda while quietly forecasting that the city’s population will increase 100 per cent by 2041.

Such a density-doubling trajectory can only be achieved with near commensurate growth in apartment dwelling – hardly a surprise.

With their crystal ball polished so wonderfully, what is the council doing to make sure the mega-population can be accommodated while enriching the community fabric of the city?

We need to know what the council is going to do about planning issues that include short-stays and the impact on residents of continual, intensive building development.

We are following up with the Future Melbourne Committee this month.

The state of the State

We hope the New Minister for Planning, Sonya Kilkenny, will have a broader view of her portfolio than her predecessor, Richard Wynne, who always seemed to be on the side of the developers, evading requests for balanced discussion on issues affecting residential buildings.

Although Melissa Horne retained her seat at the 2022 election, Danny Pearson has taken over as the new Minister for Consumer Affairs. We look forward to continuing the regular dialogue that we had with the Consumer Affairs office under Ms Horne.

We have learned that the proposed review of the Owners’ Corporations Act 2021 will cover both acts that were incorporated into the Owners’ Corporations Act:

  • Owners Corporation (Short Stay Accommodation) Act 2018
  • Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Act 2021 No 4 of 2021

The timetable has now been promised sometime between 2023 and 2027 – first slated for 2021! Victorians deserve a more definitive timetable for this review.

In its original 2014 issues paper, the government expressly excluded short-stay accommodation from the review of the Owners’ Corporation Act – alleging “planning issues” as the reason. Have these self-declared issues been resolved to allow a simultaneous review of both acts? We certainly hope so, because the current legislation is far from workable. •

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