Minister for Planning Richard Wynn must explain why he has bypassed community consultation when approving a new housing development on Mortlake Road in Warrnambool, Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says.
The 68-unit development was given a tick of approval under the Government’s Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce, with applications submitted direct to the department for review and approval – bypassing the usual council approval processes.
Ms Britnell said she had been contacted by residents living near the development, concerned about the process that was used.
She said they were concerned that they had no opportunity to air their objections directly with those making the decision and that their avenues of appeal were non-existent.
“This development had a number of objections, which were passed from the council to the Department, but there was no further consultation with the residents,” she said.
“The next thing they heard about it was the Minister had signed off on the development plan.
“I’m concerned normal processes have been bypassed and residents have not had an opportunity to have their concerns heard by those making the decision.
“I’ve asked the Minister to explain what consideration was given to those objections that were originally put before council before the approval process was taken out of local hands and given to bureaucrats at the Department.”
Ms Britnell said she had no opinion on the development, but was concerned it seems to have been greenlit under the cover of the pandemic.
“The issue is with the process by which this was done and the lack of ability for those who had issues with the development to have their concerns heard and considered,” she said.
“The Minister owes these residents and explanation.”