Candidates for Yarra City Council share their views on heritage

The 2020 Victorian Local Government Elections are now in full swing. Voting packs have now begun to be distributed, and must be lodged by 6 pm on Friday 23 October.

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has contacted candidates standing for election to the Melbourne City Council to share their policies and views on heritage.

The City of Yarra is home to some of our city’s most beloved heritage places, which are also under significant development pressure. With COVID-19 recovery planning a priority, we are asking candidates for their views on how heritage can form part of the revitalisation of business and tourism.

Yarra is also home to the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens and surrounds, Melbourne’s only World Heritage Site. A review of the World Heritage Management Plan is currently underway — which only happens once every seven years — providing an opportunity to ensure its internationally celebrated heritage values are protected and enhanced. We are calling on candidates to commit to the celebration and protection of the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, as well as the buffer zone that surrounds the site and contributes to its world heritage values.

We received 10 responses to our survey that was circulated to candidates standing for election to the Yarra City Council. See all responses below.

Question 1) COVID-19 Recovery

The cultural heritage of Yarra, from its iconic shopping strips and vibrant restaurant and bar culture, to its parklands and the Yarra Birrarung, are a vital element of Yarra’s character, essence, liveability and desirability, and have the capacity to contribute to Melbourne’s COVID-19 recovery.  

How will you ensure that Yarra’s heritage forms part of Council’s plans to reinvigorate business and tourism in response to COVID-19 impacts? 

COVID-19 also places pressure on governments to fast track projects and the construction industry, and relax hard-fought planning scheme amendments to cut ‘green tape’.  

What will you do to ensure that Yarra’s post-COVID recovery does not sacrifice good planning and strong heritage protection? 

Stephen Jolly — Heritage protection is not a barrier to growth but exactly the opposite. For example, the historic shopping strips are an attraction in themselves and must be protected. I support – alone alongside the community at the time – the protection of the Queens Pde shopping strip against its destruction by the Greens, ALP and Independents. Only after a community uproar did they reverse their position and partially protect the strip. Under my watch, therefore, there will be no loosening of heritage controls in order to fast-track construction post-Covid.

Bridgid O’Brien — If re-elected one of my key priorities is a COVID-19 Recovery Plan. The most valuable things about Yarra are our community, our culture and the character of our built and natural environment. A recovery plan must directly work to protect these three things. I believe the recovery plan must be directed by the community, for our whole community, embrace important lessons and address the inequalities exposed by the pandemic. A Plan must protect the diversity of our community that is central to our vibrant culture. A Recovery Plan must include strategies for our most disadvantaged, our most vulnerable, our elderly, and make sure our youth aren’t left behind. It must include strategies to ensure our music and night-time economy survive, our creative community are supported and address the disproportionate impact on women. Rather than a recovery led by construction, the local level of government must support a recovery led by culture.

In my role as a Councillor I have been advocating for greater local business support that includes urgent strategies to revitalise local shopping precincts with small festivals and locally focused activities, better graffiti management and discussions with landlords to minimise vacancies through pop-up community spaces, art exhibitions and art studios. A Recovery Plan must consult small businesses on their immediate needs to survive, how Council can support COVID-safe operations and work with them to find solutions for new problems – like Council facilitation of bulk purchases of cleaning materials to lower costs for individual traders, Council’s role in reviving consumer confidence to feel safe to return to venues, restaurants and events and actively draw people back to Yarra. Council can also provide rate relief and permit waivers for outdoor trading.

In my role as a Councillor I have worked closely with the Yarra Arts Advisory Committee to develop a support network for our creative community, who were hit hardest and earliest, suffered great distress and whose funding streams are mostly casual. I advocated for additional grants directly for our creative sector. There is great fear of how the creative landscape will look post-COVID, and the Recovery Plan must consider this. Funding at the State and Federal levels largely relates to jobs, big organisations and large venues, not a broader vision of the importance of the creative sector.

I will continue to work toward Council better promoting and advocating for this sector, and its importance: such as the role it plays in innovation, in manufacturing, business, sustainability, in raising new and challenging ideas, fostering creative solutions and to problem solving. How it has sustained many of us in this crisis, its role in community building and engagement, how it provides space for different voices, its ability to move emotions, allow personal expression, how it promotes consideration of value structures and ethical thinking. I will continue to advocate that Art is not a luxury, it is an important part of Yarra’s liveability, history and economy.

Another of my key priorities is Planning and Heritage. I will advocate for an overhaul of Yarra’s planning policy to ensure heritage is better represented as a priority within both statutory and strategic planning areas of Council. I will work for better heritage controls to safeguard the character of our neighbourhoods, heritage oversight on all Council planning matters, the implementation of the Heritage Strategy and better resourcing for a Heritage Department of Council. I will work for Planning policy that supports our residents and is not skewed in the favour of developers focused on profit instead of net community benefit. I will work with our community toward better planning controls to protect heritage, the character of our residential streets and for policy that ensures sustainable, appropriate and sympathetic designs.

David Horseman — By enforcing existing planning scheme requirements that provide protection of important heritage features, while also working to further strengthen requirements where they are insufficient or not yet in place.

Amber Anderson — While we do need to acknowledge the need to act with urgency and support for the community and business as we emerge from COVID, heritage protection should not lost at all. It is important to me that our cultural and physical heritage is absolutely retained in any decision that is made. I would advocate for continued application of heritage or landscape controls to significant places.

Sasha Beitner — Our heritage is a part of our DNA, it is more than just a visual of our streets and public spaces, it is in many ways our identity, particularly in so much of Nicholls ward. Whilst our COVID-recovery is critical to this term of Council, and probably beyond – this is not a reason to change or sacrifice anything related to planning and heritage protections. We must reinvigorate our businesses, look for employment opportunities for our community through sustainable investment – not line the pockets of big developers that are in many ways the biggest threat to our heritage.

Sarah Witty — My key platform is well consider planning with a community benefit, including heritage protection, social housing, green spaces, and spaces for the community.

Amanda Stone — Yarra’s heritage parks and gardens are enjoying unprecedented use as the fine weather emerges and restrictions ease. Darling Gardens and Edinburgh Gardens have seen unprecedented numbers of visitors for this time of year and Yarra Council needs to ensure visitors can enjoy these places in a sustainable and respectful way without deterring visitors. Education on the value and importance of these spaces to Melbourne and its social and cultural history, is an important part of their protection and sustainability where their popularity can represent a challenge. The Yarra Birrarung is similarly experiencing unprecedented numbers of visitors, for recreation and social purposes. While this is really positive on so many levels – mental and physical health, social connection and connection to nature – there are also steps that need to be taken to manage the interaction between people and this socially, culturally and environmentally important “asset”. Negative impacts such as litter, destruction of vegetation through walkers going off track, dirt bikes etc disturbance of habitat, all require the subtle presence of education, signage and local laws guidance as well as extra waste receptacles. Our natural environments and outdoor spaces are being well used in Yarra and the challenge will be to ensure their sustainable use and enjoyment. Our urban environment needs more proactive support. Yarra Council officers are currently working with businesses in shopping strips with strong heritage character on re-opening plans, on marketing, increasing outdoor dining space, increasing the attractiveness of these precincts through greening, bike parking, and grants for businesses to facilitate this and I support these measures and more. I will also be urging a more comprehensive COVID recovery plan for Yarra, developed in conjunction with business and community leaders, and am certain that celebrating and promoting heritage character as part of that recovery will feature prominently in that plan. The existing protections in the Yarra Planning Scheme should be adequate to protect heritage precincts and buildings if applied appropriately. As a councillor and decision maker, I would not support “cutting green tape” if it was to by-pass proper application of Clause 22.02 of the Yarra Planning Scheme in particular. Yarra has recently had the experience of a large development within an industrial building of heritage significance “called in” by the minister who made a decision to remove the increased setback councillors had imposed to avoid façadism. This was disheartening and, in my view, unnecessary. Small changes can have a big impact on the protection of what makes a heritage building. I would strongly advocate for councils to retain their decision-making role as the authority best placed to do that whilst understanding local conditions and priorities and taking community views into account.

Matoc Mordecai Achol — Having consultation with community and councillors.

Yarra Greens Candidates: Gabrielle de Vietri, Amanda Stone, Sophie Wade, Edward Crossland and Anab Mohamud We agree that the cultural heritage of Yarra is an essential and fabulous part of its character, and will be a critical part of Yarra’s recovery from the COVID-induced downturn.  Yarra Council is currently working with local businesses to plan for their re-opening and is offering grants to enhance local place-making and outdoor dining, retail and arts and cultural experiences. Greens on Council will support these grants, and will advocate for greater engagement with the wider Yarra community in this recovery phase. One of the goals from our Sustainable Business Policy is to Develop the unique identity of each high street through business attraction and placemaking initiatives, including streetscape plans developed with local communities. Greens on Council will work closely with the local community and businesses to support the revitalisation of our high streets, social and cultural events, the night time economy, and the maintenance and management of our open spaces; so people can socially distance during the pandemic, and as part of longer-term business support and public realm initiatives. Greens on Council would not support any “cutting of green tape” which usually means sacrificing environmental standards, good design and heritage protection. We would also not support further Ministerial “call ins” to fast track major developments without local input.

Em Sage — By Conducting Council Reform (particularly the Planning and Development Committee) and developing a Yarra Planning Strategy with strong controls and guidelines for developers, including a height limit, a cap on the number of planning permits received annually for multi residential dwellings and tougher environmental controls.

Question 2) Royal Exhibition Building & Carlton Gardens 

The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens is Melbourne’s only World Heritage Site. A review of the World Heritage Management Plan is currently underway, providing an opportunity to ensure its internationally celebrated heritage values are protected and enhanced.  

How will you take an active role in advocating for the protection and celebration of the REB and World Heritage Environs Area? 

Would you support the strengthening of planning controls in the buffer zone surrounding the site to protect the World Heritage values of the Royal Exhibition Building & Carlton Gardens, if recommended by experts?  

Stephen Jolly – Yes and Yes and am already doing so. More importantly, I’ll try to wedge the Planning Minister to give the WHEA protection real teeth. At the moment it’s a pretty toothless protection.

Bridgid O’Brien — I have taken an active role in advocating for Yarra’s Heritage Advisory Committee position and expertise on this matter. I am on the record for seeking to strengthen planning controls in the surrounds of the World Heritage site, to amend the Landmarks Policy to include the Royal Exhibition Building Dome and for the Planning Scheme Rewrite to consider heritage views and sight lines. I will continue to work for the protection and celebration of the Royal Exhibition Building, and World Heritage Environs Area by seeking the advice of experts, advocating for a heritage management plan for the site that is adequately resourced and overseen by a statutory authority, and also by following up on the details in my motion from the 21 July 2020 Yarra Council meeting.

David Horseman — Yes. I support the strengthening of planning controls in the buffer zone, if recommended by experts.

Amber Anderson — I would like to take an active role in advocating for the protection and particularly the celebration of the REB and World Heritage Environs Area. I understand that Yarra City Council is represented on the World Heritage Management Plan Steering Committee and I would seek to meet with and understand the priorities of the representative from Yarra and to influence their views accordingly to protect the areas surrounding the REB and Gardens and ensure that any development in the areas has regard to the prominence and visibility of the buildings and the gardens in the vicinity. If recommended by experts, I would certainly support strengthening of planning controls in the buffer zone. Any such buffers would need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and with regard to the balance of amenity, protection and cost- particularly at this time when budgets are under intense scrutiny.

Sasha Beitner — Yes of course I will! The Carlton Gardens and REB are well deserving of their spot as Melbourne’s only World Heritage Site – heritage isn’t something we can take for granted and we must work to protect and preserve it – for we are the custodians of this for generations to come.

Sarah Witty — Yes.

Amanda Stone — I have been actively involved in applying the existing protections of the World Heritage Environs Area for several years, supporting residents with a number of planning applications within the buffer zone in particular. I have joined several events celebrating the REB and WHEA and have actively promoted their value within the community and on council. I have contributed to the current review through Yarra Council’s submission, adding a further question about the role of the Melbourne International Flower Show in the Carlton Gardens and strengthening the requirement for an additional document on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. I will continue to monitor this review with a view to widening its considerations and strengthening protection of the WHEA and the Carlton Gardens in particular. There is an ongoing tension between the relevant current Planning Scheme clause and the expectations of residents about what should be protected within the buffer zone in particular. It’s timely and appropriate that a review is being conducted. I added a number of clauses to Yarra Council’s submission to this review, to clarify and strengthen the existing controls. I hope the review will take into considerations those community submissions on strengthening controls in the buffer zone and I will support these. I will continue to monitor this review and advocate in my role as councillor if necessary.

Matoc Mordecai Achol — By educating general public and policies makers about the essential role of world heritage environs area. Yes, I would support it.

Yarra Greens Candidates: Gabrielle de Vietri, Amanda Stone, Sophie Wade, Edward Crossland and Anab Mohamud — We note that the cultural heritage in Yarra is deep and diverse. This particular area is of great significance firstly to the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, and continues its cultural significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including the local Parkies.

The World Heritage Environs Area which includes the Royal Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens is a beautiful and celebrated part of the world which must be protected for its architectural and historic significance. Thanks to the advocacy of Adam Bandt, the leader of the Greens, the integrity of the building has been preserved and upgraded at a Federal level. It will be wonderful to be able to walk around it when things open, admire the restored dome, and appreciate its original intention in the history of Melbourne.

There is a review process underway which the Greens on Council have contributed to. As part of that Greens Councillors have addressed why a site of World Heritage status continues to host private events which occupy a public green space for a number of months each year during which public access is denied. If elected, Yarra Greens candidates will continue that advocacy on Council to protect and ensure fair public access. The review of the World Heritage Management Plan for the Royal Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens is an important milestone in the progress towards proper protection of this World Heritage site and its environs.

Yarra Council has made a submission to the draft Heritage Management Plan in July this year and we look forward to the publishing of the consultation summary report at the end of this month.

It is unclear where further opportunities for input will be in this process but we will be monitoring it closely to ensure that community and local government input is incorporated into the final Management Plan.

Greens on Council would support strengthening planning controls in the buffer zone if recommended by experts. Yarra Council has had limited input into the current planning controls for the World Heritage Environs Area and has been in the position of implementing planning guidelines which do not meet community expectations. Stronger controls that would meet these expectations would be supported by us.

Em Sage — I would support stronger planning controls in the buffer zone around Carlton Gardens. I would also lobby and work with Federal Government Departments and National Organizations responsible for heritage protection to advocate for the protection and celebration of the REB and World Heritage Environs Area.

Question 3) Management of Council heritage assets 

In 2019, Yarra Council granted itself a permit to demolish the River Pavilion in Fairfield Park. While it does not currently have heritage protection, Council’s heritage advisor and other experts have noted its significance, and more than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling for it to be saved.

How would you ensure that Council identifies, protects, and appropriately manages its own heritage assets?  

Would you support a reconsideration of Council’s plans for demolition, noting the strong community support for retaining the building?

Stephen Jolly — I support the extra infrastructure needed for the canoe club. However I want to host discussions with the club, planning officers and heritage lovers to try to find a solution that allows the much needed extra infrastructure while protecting the building. I think this is totally possible. To have a dispute between sports and heritage would be tragic and the only winners would be developers.

Bridged O’Brien — I did not support the moves for demolition of the River Pavilion in Fairfield Park. I will support a reconsideration of Council’s plans for demolition, noting the strong community support and lack of adequate information provided to inform the previous Council determination.

I am working for better access for Councillors to information relevant to decisions to be made by resolution of Council, such as access to Advisory Committee minutes and input into Agendas to seek specific advice. Another of my key priorities is better access to information for the community and further mechanisms for community engagement to facilitate greater participation in Council decision-making processes. The community should have easily accessible information on all heritage matters, including Council heritage assets, items in storage and their preservation.

I will actively engage in the preparation of a Framework for Managing Council Owned Heritage Assets currently in draft, and the finalisation of the Heritage Strategy and Implementation Plan. I will also advocate for expert heritage oversight on the implementation of heritage actions relating to each department of Council, outlined in the Heritage Strategy.

David Horseman — Yes, I would support a reconsideration of Council’s plans for demolition and be guided by the heritage advisor’s advice, as well as the points raised by the community in wanting to preserve it.

Amber Anderson — I am not an expert in how Council currently identifies manages every heritage asset. Being the owner of a heritage building, I have admired the Yarra’s protections on the building and for a tree on the property which is very old and of independent significance. I would ensure that appropriate process is followed and due consideration given for buildings which, like the River Pavilion, are not heritage protected- but should be reviewed prior to issuing permits for such demolition. I would support reconsideration of Council’s plans for demolition, noting the strong community support for retaining the building.

Sasha Beitner — The main reason I am running for Council is because I do not believe the communities voice has been listened to by the current council. Issues such as this, that clearly have drawn out community opposition have not been managed effectively by Council, regardless of their process. Therefore, we must absolutely revisit this and any divisive topics including and especially the current ‘iterative trials.’

Sarah Witty — Yes

Amanda Stone — Council needs to maintain a register of its own heritage assets as a living document to be updated and revised continually as needed. This register should include relevant details of each asset, whether built, social, cultural or natural, including a description of its significance, its current condition, what protections are offered and further work to be done to protect and maintain that asset. Management of these assets needs to go beyond a listing on a database but to involve active and ongoing protection and monitoring of its condition and any threats. This does need resourcing and would be subject to a budget allocation but I would support this being put forward in a budget. There is a valid, legal planning permit for the demolition of the pavilion, issued at the direction of VCAT. Unless a new proposal comes forward this cannot be revoked. However there have been plans proposed for an alternative location of the built structure which I support next council term.

Matoc Mordecai Achol — By listening to expertise and community voices in regard to significant heritage assets. Yes, I would.

Yarra Greens Candidates: Gabrielle de Vietri, Amanda Stone, Sophie Wade, Edward Crossland and Anab Mohamud — Noting there is often opportunity to improve processes, Greens on Yarra Council would support improvements to the way the Council monitors and manages its heritage assets.   The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has issued a valid, legal planning permit for the demolition of the pavilion. Unless a new proposal comes forward this cannot be revoked. We acknowledge there is a heritage assessment underway and support waiting for the outcome of this assessment before proceeding any further. We also note there have been proposed plans for the relocation of the built structure, which we principally support.

Em Sage — I would listen to heritage advisors and experts. There is no point having them if you don’t listen to them! I would absolutely reverse the decision to demolish this Pavilion in the absence of any health and safety risks to the community.

Question 4) Your views on heritage  

What is the biggest single heritage issue facing a newly elected Council, and how will you address it?

Stephen Jolly — We need a total redesign of the Yarra Planning Scheme to make it based on density controls, minimum apartment standards, inclusionary zoning, mandatory carbon free energy and greater heritage protection – in particular for our shopping strips. Anything less will only guarantee the monotonous and wearing merri-go-round of planning application; idac appeal; vcat appeal that normally favours the developer. In other words, to protect our heritage we literally have to rewrite the rules. Even replacing all the staff would do nothing fundamental if the rules remain the same

Bridged O’Brien — The biggest single heritage issue facing a newly elected Council is planning policy. It is covered by two major departments of Council (Statutory Planning and Strategic Planning), with policies that are vast, complicated and influenced by numerous competing interests, heritage arguably with the lowest priority. If re-elected I will provide my new colleagues with support and insight from my experience.

All of Yarra is under pressure from over development, large numbers of tall development proposals within Heritage Overlay areas and along heritage streetscapes as well as highest profit-cheapest build applications with no sympathy for the area. I will work for an overhaul of Yarra’s Planning Departments to ensure heritage is better represented as a priority within both statutory and strategic planning areas of Council. I will work for community directed strategic planning for the future we will live, that is transparent and flexible to accommodate change.

I worked closely with the community to achieve additions to the heritage protections in the C231 Queens Pde Amendment. I was the Councillor that spent many hours negotiating with Planning Officers to come up with a solution to ensure the Campi buildings in Quadrant 4 would also be protected with a 3-story height limit. I was also responsible for the 390A protections for the heritage part of the building, by ensuring it remained “ungraded” rather than inadvertently becoming “not significant”. I learnt a great deal from the C231 matter and believe it provides a good example and sets an excellent precedent for the rest of Nicholls. It provides planning controls to protect the heritage, amenity and viability of the Queens Pde shopping strip but also provides clear direction for any new developments.

If I am re-elected, I commit to working with the community to get similar precinct planning in place for Nicholson Street and the Fitzroy North Village as a matter of urgency. I will also work to ensure the inclusion of specified height limits for developments along Nicholson St in the Yarra Planning Scheme.

I have a strong track record on heritage as a Councillor. Recently, I fought hard to retain heritage interior protections for the three remaining theatre buildings in Yarra (unfortunately lost). I became one of the three Council delegates on the Heritage Advisory Committee this year and ensured that all Committee advice was endorsed by resolutions of Council (for the first time). I also put forward the proposal for a push notification system to inform residents of development applications in their area.

Another big win I achieved with the community for Nicholls, was the Council refusal of the Piedimontes planning application. Hopefully this will better protect the character of that local hub and any future plans will respect the low-rise residential streets, within a heritage overlay, that surround. I have lived in Yarra since the age of 5. I care deeply about the community, the culture and the character of Yarra.

David Horseman — Having and enforcing strict planning controls that preserve the unique character and heritage of our neighbourhoods. I am committed to fighting inappropriate and bad development in Yarra.

Amber Anderson — I think that we are losing the significant local skyline of Clifton Hill and Fitzroy North, even before COVID, there was less and less foot traffic, more vacancies and as more and more shops collapse and rents remain the same, there is opportunity for opportunistic developers to sway under pressure owners to sell in order to develop inappropriate multi-level apartment blocks. For me, retaining the façade of buildings is just not enough. The building needs to often remain in its prime and this is something that we, as a community, need to stand up to. This is a tricky balance between housing access and affordability and heritage- but a balance that I think does need to come out in favour of our history and heritage wherever possible.

Sasha Beitner — The single biggest heritage issue so development pressures. These will always be at odds with our need to protect our heritage – whether it be big or medium size developments, this is the pressure. Ultimately we need a new council to focus on their community, to focus on protecting our heritage and not to be swung by developers who spend their time and resources lobbying for outcomes that ultimately line their own pockets and do not benefit our community.

Sarah Witty — Understanding the fine balance between protecting the old and considering the new. I will use my planning knowledge to ensure we get the balance right.

Amanda Stone — There are several heritage issues facing a new council: 1. The new Yarra Planning Scheme, rewritten after 14 years, is on public exhibition. This is a unique opportunity to ensure that the relevant clause addressing heritage is as tight as it needs to be and that will be an important task for the new council as the new scheme moves through the approvals process. 2. The identification, documentation, preservation and celebration of aboriginal cultural heritage in Yarra has often been subservient to celebration of more recent social and cultural heritage and this needs to be redressed if we are to truly represent the history of our municipality. 3. COVID Recovery will place pressure on councils to facilitate development more quickly to boost the economy. This could place pressure on the approvals process where heritage is a consideration. I will resist any attempt to weaken existing planning and heritage protections in planning decisions and object to any Ministerial call-ins where they could result in similar weakening of existing planning controls. 4. Heritage buildings need to be able to be adapted to accommodate 21st century living. That includes letting in more light, allowing solar installations on roofs or, in future, on walls, in general allowing emerging technologies which might assist the sustainability performance of a building to be incorporated. Planning and heritage guidelines will need to be flexible in identifying how a heritage building is viewed in the round, whilst allowing for additions or changes which do not detract from or remove heritage fabric, but may be visible in addition to the heritage building. This is a very difficult terrain to navigate and I am prepared to work on this with the best advice available to ensure that heritage buildings can continue to serve the purpose they were created for – to house people and their activities – into the future.

Matoc Mordecai Achol — When we as a community and local council take care of what we found from others, who did their best to built these landmarks; our job and task is to protected and conserve them so the next generations could have access to them as they used to be (when built in last 80-100 plus years) or even better. The biggest single heritage is understanding and importantly valuing of the heritage.

Yarra Greens Candidates: Gabrielle de Vietri, Amanda Stone, Sophie Wade, Edward Crossland and Anab Mohamud — The Yarra Planning Scheme has been re-written and is currently seeking public input. As the most important document in terms of protecting and enhancing heritage in Yarra, it’s important that there is good community input into this document and scrutiny by councillors to ensure the best protections are incorporated into it. That is one of the most important issues facing a new council and we would be ensuring that there are many opportunities for input, and would actively seek input from local heritage groups as well as peak bodies. Beyond the above, we’re keen to establish a holistic long-term plan and vision for Yarra, with the community, stakeholders, and State Government for the likes of growth and development, transport matters, addressing housing affordability, provision of open space, supporting economic development, and means of address for the climate emergency. This would include identifying how to appropriately accommodate growth and change in a way that complements and celebrates our wonderful heritage buildings, streetscapes and landscape settings. Importantly, we’re keen to engage and work with Traditional Owners regarding the ongoing management of sites on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register, intangible heritage registrations and agreements, and places of cultural significance.

Em Sage — Although our heritage sights attract tourism revenue, more money is generated for local council and the State Government by large developments. It’s going to be tough to implement stronger controls on development in our community when this goes against fiscal considerations – particularly during a recession. But, with unified and purposeful support from the community, local heritage and environmental protection groups, and tireless lobbying – of Governments, Ministers and the media – I believe it can be done.

Next steps

Read more about our election plan, and how you can be involved, here.

Feature image courtesy Hansen Partnership Pty Ltd 

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