Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Liveable and Just

'Liveable and Just' is a project funded by the Local Sustainability Accord. The partners are the VLGA, the McCaughey Centre, DSE and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

These notes were taken at a workshop held at the VLGA on 30 June. This was the final workshop of a series conducted around the state

Panellists: John Wiseman and Taegan Edwards , McCaughey Centre, Liana Thompson, VLGA, Bronwen Davies, DSE

attendees: a range of community development, social and health planners, environmental staff, and councillors

'Liveable and Just' aims to
  • consider the social impacts of climate change

  • consider what this will mean for councils

  • think about and develop some tools to assist local governments address the social impacts of climate change


  • 'Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century' [Lancet, May 16, 2009]


The areas of social impact that workshop participants identified/anticipated

  • transport

  • food scarcity

  • depression/mental health

  • stressed service systems

  • ageing community

  • heatwave

  • pressure on recreational facilities

  • distrust of Council - council messages don't have credibility with community

  • 'ghost' suburbs

  • isolated settlements of retired people with no access to services/transport

  • managing change, expectations

  • inspiring positive change rather than despair

  • evacuation - consider buddy councils

  • social disharmony


  • don't necessarily see low incomes as a 'deficit'. Celebrate those who live with less

  • skills in local government sector - (refer to the response to fires) Q: would the same level of responsiveness be in evidence if crises arise each year?

  • skilled volunteering Q: can it be sustained year on year?

  • council leadership

  • work with neighbourhood centres

  • support sustainability ambassadors/leaders in the community

  • council enabling, rather than frustrating action S: a suite of trees residents could choose from rather than waiting years for trees to be planted

  • support local travel/local services

  • communication: within and across councils, with communities, levels of government,

  • never been a more important topic to work across/coordinate across council departments

  • skill up communities

  • manage relationships, which partnerships need strengthening?

What resources are needed?:

  • more localised information to postcode level - green maps

  • scorecards in decision making that favour climate friendly initiatives

  • cards to generate discussion

  • make it easy to access relevant information

  • best practice community engagement - examples and stories

  • a pool of engaging facilitators

  • a clearing house for information

  • partnerships with universities

  • networks, mentoring and relationships - also between producer/consumer, urban/rural

  • partnerships and regional collaboration

S: suggestion Q: question

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Michael Kiely: soil farming

Port Phillip Business Breakfast

Some notes:

  • climate change means 'chaotic events everywhere'

  • 'soil farming'

  • 'if you can't imagine success, you can't be successful'

  • 'your customer is an appreciating asset'

  • 'not all customers are equal'

  • you will have a fan club - work with them

  • you may only need to deal with a small number of people

  • 'the loyalty ladder'

  • 'helping customers build community'

  • 'the distance from awareness to despair is short'

  • start from where you are

  • 'business clusters'

  • 'sponsor a suburb to catch the CO2 challenge and sell the story of hope'

  • Carbon Farmers

  • its 'an individual challenge', it about 'how do I live my life'

  • 'I feel optimistic and I feel better and its better for my health'

  • 100% ground cover 100% of the time

  • its all cycles, carbon cycle, water cycle

  • so that your soil is like a sponge

  • your idea has to get wings

  • yes, you will have war stories but nothing good was ever easy

  • 'I sit with the strongest negative person because then I've got them all'

23 June 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Women in Planning

Panellists:Jane Homewood [JH], Liz Johnstone [LJ] Rae Kingsbury [RK]

  • [LJ] Respect needs to underpin the relationship between councillors and planning staff

  • [JH] Work collaboratively with your planners to create the change you want to see

  • [JH] How are you going to meeet the future needs of your community?

  • [JH] in your local policy get rid of 'and', and 'and'. Have stand alone sentences that have meaning and are not rendered ambiguous by being paired.

  • where do you want to make a difference?

  • make your values known to the planners so that they have a sensitivity to them

  • [JH] sustainability and adaptation happen at local government level

  • [jh] councillors role is to meet the future needs of your community

  • [JH] public funds are not going to fund renewal to the extent that is required. Therefore it is necessary to consider the terms on which private investment will be secured to achieve public good
  • strategic planning is the core business of council

  • [JH] analyse every aspect of your dealings with VCAT: how many applications are appealed, how much do you spend, what can you learn from the decisions

  • [LJ] planning permit activity reporting data can be exported to Google Earth

  • [RK] the role of planners is to give their very best advice. The role of councillors is to make the decision

  • [JH] we must bring planning and communtiy development together (if we are to meet the future needs of our communities in a sustainable way)

  • [JH] have a good urban designer on staff - (planners don't think 3 dimensionally and can achieve planning outcomes by 'chopping and carving')

  • [JH] engage with the process, facilitate good development, celebrate good examples, use templates if helpful

18 June 2009

The Volunteer

Where Kyme Place is, that is where there was a scrap metal merchant. That is where Ted and Jess Merrington built boats. They had a boat shed at Graham.
My grandfather George bought her for 25 pounds in 1920. It got damaged in a storm. Sold in 1955
In 1985, Doug visited a boat yard in Maribyrnong and saw this 'double ender'
It was the Volunteer. [Doug Beazley]

Local policy: some advice

Des Eccles

Planning training: some notes

about local policy:

  • should not be regulatory; to apply as regulation is improper

  • should be consistent

  • to which clear meaning can be given; meaningful to help make decisions

  • VCAT is required to consider; consider does not mean 'give effect to'

  • the words of your local policy will be subjected to 'forensic examination'

'if its not in the scheme, its not worth the paper its written on'

Making decisions in planning:

  • must be dispassionate

  • 2 reasonable people could come to different conclusions

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yarra Yarra: the Birrerung

from Clearings
Paul Fox

A chapter about Bunce, who laid out Geelong's Botanic Gardens after many years spent travelling in Australia gathering botanic specimens. His work at Geelong was prolific.
He spent some years in Melbourne around the time of white settlement around 1839
Of his first trip up the Yarra Yarra he recalled

'"its banks thick with vegetation including a tree (most probably a kind of melaleuca) with 'long heavy branches that hung in massive graceful branches over the river's side'"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Victorian Coastal Forum

23 April 2009
for the presentations referred to below see www.vcc.vic.gov.au Victorian Coastal Forum

Three themes of the Victorian Coastal Strategy

  • climate change
  • population growth
  • the marine environment

John Church CSIRO

  • sea level rise will be variable (will not rise like water in a bath tub)
  • sea level rise will come from both mass and volume change (thermal expansion)
  • we might go from 1 in 5 year events every 1 to 2 years, and historically derived 1 in a hundred year events several times a year
  • combined storm surge and tide wil have more impact than sea level rise

for more information go to www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/

see also presentation from Clive Attwater from SGS:

Lyndon Webb from Wellington Shire

  • ask developers to prepare a climate change sea level response plan (include S173 to acknowledge risk on vulnerable properties)

Peter Christoff

  • burden sharing

Risk assessment is primary

'deceptive certainty of lines on maps' to define acceptable levels of risk


'This is my country and I don't know where I am'
Referring to the changes that have taken place at Docklands
Welcome to country at Docklands

Friday, June 5, 2009

The role of buses in the future of Melbourne

Chris Loader
Bus Association of Victoria

  • mode shift is happening
  • buses are growing by 14%
  • car traffic is stagnating
  • 80% of Melburnians only have access to buses
  • most vulnerable Melburnians have the least service
  • SMARTBUS is being successful in increasing patronage with 15 minute frequencies. Patronage has doubled
  • has significant congestion benefits
  • growth in full fare patrons
  • one bus costs about $400,000 to get into service

To read one of Chris's presentations go to Bus Association of Victoria at


6 May 2009

Green Transport Breakfast: Harry Barber

Harry Barber
Bicycle Victoria
  • unpick the barriers one by one and strengthen the positives

Green Transport: Michael Hopkins

Michael Hopkins
Department of Transport

Three approaches:
  • macro-urban form - creating a polycentric city
  • increasing the capacity of public transport
  • increasing efficiency - eg carpooling


  • 'we've got to do everything'

5 May 2009

Green Transport: Rob Adams

Rob Adams
City of Melbourne

  • we're building in financial stress (on the fringe)
  • we can transform our cities - as we have done in Melbourne
  • transport is about moving more people, rather than more vehicles, past a point


  • I'm 'an absolute optimist'
  • 'we should resist it (change to greater densities), it will be more liveable'
  • shovel ready projects to respond to the stimulus package 'I don't know of projects like these' 'I'm afraid we're going to waste it'

5 May 2009

Green Transport Breakfast

Rob Freemantle

  • each person makes about 4 trips per day
  • that is 14m trips per day across metro Melbourne
  • add population growth - each person making 4 trips per day
  • have to make best use of the existing network
  • creating employment close to where people lives reduces the need for travel
  • we will still need roads, but need to put them to the best use
  • that is why we need network operating plans
  • some roads will be managed with the whole network and economy at the forefront, others will be local roads responding to local needs
  • Freight Futures optimises some routes - Principal Freight Network
  • Higher Productivity Vehicles which carry 2 x 40 foot containers reduce truck movements by a third
  • carpooling can make an enormous contribution especially at the peak Current car occupancy is 1.08
  • cycling has grown 20% p/a over the past 4 years
  • 40% of trips are 2 kms or less

Integrated Land Use and Urban Planning

Significant development applications must be referred to the Director of Public Transport. The guidelines are at


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Climate Change Adaptation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Dr Peter Christoff
spoke passionately, as he always does, about building community learning and capacity around climate change.
He was insistent that we would not have such weak targets in the CPRS if people understood the urgency of the challenges ahead. Governments can only do so much.
Institutions need to be flexible, adaptive.

Rob Adams

Climate Change Adapation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Rob Adams
Rob spoke about the need to densify the city. He spoke again about the desirability of increasing density along tram lines.
  • 75% of emissions come from cities - this is why we have to work with cities
  • the liveability that people talk about is becoming sustainability
  • 'design a good street and you design a good city'
  • all the most liveable cities are dense - Barcelona for example. Buildings of 7 to 8 storeys. Create 75% active frontages. Hang on to your heritage buildings
  • we have all the space we need along major transport corridors to build all the housing we need without extending the urban growth boundary.
  • 'productive suburbs' that can remain largely unchanged
  • we have got to tackle the cost of building over 3 storeys as it is inhibiting consolidation

There is a discussion about density along tram lines at


Chicago's climate change adaptation plan

Climate Change Adaptation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Julia Parzen
How Chicago has institutionalised Climate Change adaptation
I highly recommend this site www.chicagoclimatechange.org

Key messages

  • 'there was a lot of process'
  • built around involvement and engagement and collaboration
  • designed the plan with participation

  • Julia emphasised how much attention to process underpinned the development of their strategy 'there was a lot of process'
  • She spoke about how Chicago had institutionalised their climate change adaptation framework
  • She is not a climate change expert but experienced in organisations and process
  • Everything was based around stakeholder involvement and engagement and collaborations. This was built into their structures. They worked with industries, businesses, research institutions and community members
  • did not separate adaptation and mitigation - bringing them together in one strategy
  • wherever possible they built on existing initiatives, relationships - the assets based model [McKnight - very Chicago]
  • worked with whatever was important to people whether it was trees, gardening, concern about prices increases
  • asked extra questions of whoever was working on an existing project
  • the model can readily be updated
  • risk factors were based on assessment criteria to avoid personal preference
  • performance measures included permeability, morbidity
  • used infra red mapping to identify heat islands and focussed tree planting there
  • report emissions every 3 years

The five strategies in their plan are:

  • energy efficient buildings
  • clean and renewable energy
  • improved transport
  • reduced waste and industrial pollution
  • adaptation

see www.chicagoclimatechange.org

Climate Change Adaptation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Some points arising:
  • there is an emerging clarification of roles with the Commonwealth assuming responsibility for mitigation (through the CPRS) and the States taking more responsibility for adaptation. This raises funding questions for the states, as well as whether it achieves the urgency around mitigation. The role of local government was barely mentioned
  • adaptation is part of a continuum rather than a new and distinct discipline in its own right
  • we should be wary of being too compartmentalised around adaptation and mitigation
  • when is the optimum time to make an intervention?
  • what level of intervention is appropriate?
  • how do we share and engage with our community around the knowledge that we have shared and learned?
  • all adaptation will be local!