Fiona Richardson's tepid defence of the Brumby Government's planning record was too lukewarm to warrant the description of "dissent" in your headline. It's easy to call for community input, but quite another thing to allow local communities to actually influence the outcome of big planning decisions.What I might also have said is that developers have been among the biggest donors to the Victorian Labor Party. That's why I've called for developer donation disclosures as part of the planning application process for big developments.
How far do voters think Richardson will stray from the ALP party line, as Planning Minister Justin Madden evades scrutiny of the planned sham consultation on the Windsor Hotel project, and big planning decisions are made in the shadow of the election care-taker period?
With Amcor's Fairfield plant and the Arthurton Road site just two big potential developments that are up in the air as we go to the State election, voters should suspect reassuring future commitments to consultation from the Northcote representative of a Brumby planning system that too often excludes a community say.
The planning equation needs to include more than profits for developers. We need sustainable communities, where housing is more affordable and provision is made for the disadvantaged.
The way we build these communities is through the democratic participation of the people who live in them. That's not happening. Lip-service is not enough, Ms Richardson. True dissent will not come from an MP within Government.
If you're concerned about planning and live in the electorate of Northcote, please consider my planning policies (and the others!).