This week in State Parliament, barely a week after the Government's controversial announcement regarding the 10/30 right on vegetation removal, both houses voted to amend the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Regional Strategy Plan.
In what can only be described as a travesty of the democratic process, this item was only added to the notice paper yesterday and MPs received 150 odd pages to review and then debate today. This morning the lower house voted through the amendment followed by the upper house this afternoon.
It is usual practice to give members of parliament a couple of days after a document of this kind is tabled, so that they can come to terms with the implications of their decision and to consult relevant parties. Not this time. The Government has bulldozed this amendment through parliament and undermined decades of work that the Upper Yarra and Dandenong Ranges communities fought for to protect what they value about the region.
In the Lower House, all members voted for the amendment, speakers did not include any of the Government MP's whose electorate fall with the region. This is profoundly disappointing. In the Upper House it would have been the same, all members bar the three Green's MLCs voted for the amendment.
Whilst it is touted as an amendment, its effect is to nullify the very heart of the RSP. Greg Barber, Green's MLC spoke eloquently of the many reasons why this amendment was not necessary. You can find this speech here.
Amendment No 118 to the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Regional Strategy Plan