April 15, 2010 - Victorian Legislative Council
Bruce Atkinson (Liberal, Eastern Metropolitan) – Not entirely without notice, I thank the Minister for Planning for his answer yesterday to my substantive question, and I remind the minister that I was talking about the green wedge and his current policy position in respect of the green wedge. My supplementary question yesterday was: I note the minister has approved an amendment to the Manningham City Council's planning scheme, without any form of community consultation, to facilitate an application to triple the size of the On Luck Chinese nursing home which is located in the green wedge, a project which, I might indicate, I am supportive of. It is the lack of consultation that is my concern. Can I ask the minister what criteria he used to approve the amendment for a significant development in the green wedge and why he would consider this decision and the rationale for it would not set a precedent for other developments in the green wedge?
Justin Madden (Minister for Planning) – I thank you, President, and Mr Atkinson for the surprise question. I first of all thank the member for his interest in these matters, and particularly this one on the On Luck Chinese nursing home.
Just to give a little bit of background, the On Luck Chinese nursing home is a lawfully established 60-bed nursing home located on land outside the urban growth boundary, as the member mentioned, and in a green wedge. Normally a nursing home would be prohibited.
However, a site-specific control in the Manningham planning scheme allows the land to be used and developed for this purpose. What I have done, as Mr Atkinson has correctly mentioned, is that I have approved an amendment to the Manningham planning scheme which will enable the consideration of further expansion to the existing On Luck Chinese nursing home. That is not to say it will or will not happen, but it will allow for the Manningham planning scheme to allow consideration of that. Of course any future development plan approved under the controls would be carefully considered in consultation with the council and balanced against decision guidelines relevant to the green wedge provisions, so they will also be factored in.
Mr Atkinson was interested in the extent of public consultation. The amendment was approved with exemptions from the usual notice requirements. However, in making that decision I decided to seek the views of the Manningham City Council regarding the request. Can I also say that not only was the Manningham City Council supportive of that of that approach, but as well as that there has been strong and overwhelming endorsement from a number of local members. Of course my colleague Mr Brian Tee has been very enthusiastic about the prospect of more nursing home beds, particularly for this particular community in this facility.
I have also had strong representation through correspondence from Robert Clark, the member for Box Hill in the other place, and Mary Wooldridge, the member for Doncaster in the other place, and as well as that overwhelming and almost glowing endorsement of the proposition of prospective extension to this facility from the federal member for Menzies, Kevin Andrews. So there has been a large degree of support, but it was well...
Honourable members interjecting.
Justin Madden: Mr Atkinson, can I point out that the consultation with the Manningham City Council is an opportunity for the council to also reflect the views of their broader community, and that is in many ways the expectation of any response from the council. It was very supportive, and hence we progressed that accordingly.
March 25, 2010 - Victorian Legislative Council
Janice Kronberg (Liberal, Eastern Metropolitan) - My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Planning. It concerns the rising tide of public concern in Manningham that he has approved an amendment to the council's planning scheme without any form of community consultation. An application from the owners of the Chinese Community Social Services Centre (CCSSC) has his approval to triple the size of an aged-care facility. I want to make it perfectly clear that providing quality accommodation for elderly people from any part of our multicultural society is vital, especially for ageing members of our Chinese community. Clearly their need is manifest. Comments on this planning process should not at all be cast as a negative for aged-care beds. A number of Manningham ratepayers approached me about this matter at an event there on Monday night.
It is simply not fair that the needs and aspirations of elderly citizens and their families are now being affected by the questions arising from the approval process for this facility – a process that completely bypasses the council, thus trammelling the authority of local government and its democratically elected council. It also offends the sensibility of these people, who feel that the preservation of the green wedge is important. A lot of collateral damage is now attaching itself directly to the minister because of this decision.
Unfortunately elderly Chinese members of the community are also affected by the possible conflict of interest for the applicant, who is the council's deputy mayor, Cr Fred Chuah. He is also chairman of the nursing home, president of the CCSSC and the husband of the On Luck Chinese Nursing Home's chief executive.
The action I seek from the minister is that he refer this highly contentious matter to the Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Finance and Public
Administration's inquiry into Victorian government decision-making, consultation and approval processes. This is essential, important and time critical, given the revelations of sham consultation processes or no consultation processes at all, the current level of concern that there is possible corruption of due process and the dire need to restore public faith and confidence in the planning system in this state.
Honourable members interjecting.
Martin Pakula - What a crock! Janice Kronberg - On a point of order, President, upon sitting down I overheard Mr Pakula say, 'What a crock'. I ask that he withdraw it.
The president Robert Smith - Order! Obviously I did not hear. If I had heard, I may have said something. If the minister said what it has been suggested he said, he may like to respond.
Martin Pakula - I withdraw it.
March 23, 2010 - Victorian Legislative Council
Brian Tee (Labor, Eastern Metropolitan) –I rise to welcome the decision of the Minister for Planning to amend the Manningham planning scheme, which will pave the way for an expansion of the On Luck Chinese Nursing Home in Manningham. This is a great outcome which has considerable support, and indeed bipartisan support, in the local community. The member for Box Hill in the other place, Mr Robert Clark, has indicated that there are many residents of Chinese background in the community, and he noted the importance of a nursing home where people can speak the language or the dialect, eat cuisine that they are used to and enjoy cultural activities. He has also noted the excellent care provided by the current On Luck facilities. The federal member for Menzies, Mr Kevin Andrews, has also been fulsome in his support for the planning application by the Chinese Community Social Services Centre.
Despite the importance of the projects and the need in the electorate, the member for Warrandyte is opposed to the amendment of the planning scheme. This opposition is surprising. It is a slap in the face for local Chinese elderly residents, it is a slap in the face for his state and federal Liberal colleagues, and it shows that the member is totally out of touch with the needs of his local community.
February 4, 2010 - Victorian Legislative Assembly
Ryan Smith (Liberal, Warrandyte) - News that the Brumby government may allow an extensive expansion to a local nursing home situated in a green wedge zone in my electorate has justifiably raised serious concerns in my community about the Labor government's commitment to the green wedge. While local Labor representatives have claimed to be against development in the local green wedge, the possibility that the Labor government could give its approval to this extension should make local residents very cautious as to the sincerity of those claims. It has been clearly demonstrated in the past that on controversial planning decisions the Brumby government will willingly remove the right of local residents who are affected by developments to have the opportunity to comment. This disregard for local communities extends to residents often not even being made aware that these decisions have been made so that the government can avoid scrutiny until the bulldozers move in.
Manningham City Council deputy mayor Fred Chua has apparently and inexplicably applied directly to the Minister for Planning to intervene in the decision to allow the expansion of the development, apparently without notification to the entirety of the council. It is my sincere hope the minister will make the decision to not exercise his authority in this matter. To do so would be a flagrant disregard for the views of the Warrandyte township. Although many Warrandyte residents are not necessarily opposed to the nursing home in isolation, they strongly believe in their right to voice their opinion on a major development proposed in their community. I support that right and will stand up for my community in their fight to be heard. Decisions such as these need to be made in the open and with maximum consultation, not as a result of arbitrary rulings and secret deals made behind closed doors.
February 26, 2008 - Victorian Legislative Assembly
Ryan Smith (Liberal, Warrandyte) - Section 5 deals with the issue of planning. I have to say that nowhere in my electorate is there a better example of the government's contempt for the green wedge than in the case of the On Luck Chinese nursing home. This nursing home was built against the express wishes of much of the community, and I will quote from the document that a former planning minister put out in relation to the amendment allowing the On Luck retirement village to be built. The minister said:
The amendment prohibits particular land uses not considered appropriate to be located on green wedge land, including a nursing home.
She also said: Under the provisions of the Manningham planning scheme the proposal is prohibited.
This is my favourite: The amendment is generally considered not to be in accordance with the directions, policies or initiatives of Melbourne 2030. So the government does not even pay attention to its own policies. Despite all those comments the government went ahead in allowing this nursing home to be built on the green wedge site anyway. Whatever is said about this government's intentions in developing a new planning and environment bill, history shows us that this government will not honour any commitment to the green wedge.
Honourable members interjecting.
Mr Stensholt - What have you got against the Chinese On Luck nursing home?
Ryan Smith - The member for Burwood should really calm down. He should take a lesson from the Attorney-General and just calm down.
August 23, 2007 - Victorian Legislative Assembly
Maxine Morand (Labor, Mount Waverly) - On Saturday night I was delighted to attend and speak at the first year anniversary of the On Luck Chinese Nursing Home in Donvale. On Luck Chinese Nursing Home is a non-profit, high-care facility with 60 places catering for elderly Victorians of Chinese background. Residents are cared for by staff speaking their language, and they are able to enjoy the taste of familiar food. I would like to congratulate the many people who have been involved in setting up this nursing home and congratulate them for their vision and perseverance in delivering this important community project.
In particular I acknowledge Mr Fred Chuah, president of the Chinese Community Social Services Centre and chairman of the On Luck Chinese Nursing Home committee of management, David Yong, the vice-president of the centre, and Kim Au, the chief executive officer of the Chinese Community Social Services Centre.
The story of On Luck began in 2000 when Fred Chuah, president of the Chinese Community Social Services Centre, strongly advocated the Chinese Victorian community's need for a culturally appropriate nursing home. With the support of the board of management, staff and volunteers of the Chinese Community Social Services Centre, the On Luck project was initiated. I became aware of the project around the time when the site was purchased and the fundraising and planning process was under way. I was happy to support it in any way I could, and the member for Burwood was also greatly interested in supporting the project. Once again I would like to congratulate everybody who has been involved in this important project and all those supporters who are involved in promoting Chinese community issues and supporting Chinese Australians from diverse backgrounds.
March 31, 2004 - Victorian Legislative Assembly
Bob Stensholt (Labor, Burwood) -The matter I raise is for the Minister assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, and the action I wish him to take is to render every assistance to ethnic groups that wish to establish nursing homes. On 15 March I attended the launch of the fundraising campaign for the development of the On Luck Chinese nursing home in Donvale. Many state and federal parliamentarians were there, including two state ministers, two federal ministers and numerous state members. However, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, who is the local MP, was not present. That is not surprising, as he has opposed the Chinese community being permitted to build this much-needed home in Tindals Road.
I find his opposition surprising, coming from one who claims to be a supporter of multiculturalism. There are 14 000 Chinese Victorians aged over 45 and more than 5000 aged 65 or more, and I am proud to be a strong supporter of this development - unlike the member for Warrandyte. Yes, there are quite a few Chinese in my electorate, as indeed there are in many electorates in the area. I see a split in the Liberal Party on this issue.
The shadow Treasurer and member for Box Hill clearly does not share the shamed view of his deputy leader - maybe he wants his job - as he was at the dinner. Nor is the view of the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party shared by his federal colleagues. Senator Kay Patterson said at the fundraiser, 'The Australian government is more than happy to be supportive' - but not the member for Warrandyte. She said, 'Anything is possible, anything is achievable' - but not by the member for Warrandyte. She said, 'I look forward to the opening of the On Luck nursing home', but I assume the member for Warrandyte does not look forward to it.
Honourable members interjecting.
Dr Napthine - On a point of order, Acting Speaker, this is clearly an abuse of the adjournment debate. Under standing orders - and even under the new standing orders - the adjournment debate is an opportunity for members to raise issues requiring specific action within the jurisdiction of the minister responsible. This request does not meet those guidelines. The issue with regard to funding for nursing homes is a federal issue, and the member is clearly.
Mr Pandazopoulos - It is a planning issue.
Dr Napthine - If it is a planning issue, why is he raising it with the Minister assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs? Clearly he is using a device to try to perpetrate some sort of political gain. It is a gross abuse of the process of the adjournment debate, Acting Speaker, and I ask you to sit him down.
The acting speaker, Mr Nardella - Order! There is no point of order.
Bob Stensholt - I congratulate president Fred Chuah of the Chinese Community Social Services Centre and chief executive officer Kim Chu - -
The acting speaker, Mr Nardella - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.