URBAN DESTRUCTION INSTITUTE CASHING IN ON PANDEMIC

All comments attributable to Sustainable Australia MP Clifford Hayes

“The Urban Development Institute, more aptly known as the Urban Destruction Institute for its relentless attack on the quality of our cities and suburbs, is yet again calling for the densification of Melbourne to be speeded up. The Institute’s Victorian Division is reported this week to have urged the Victorian Government “to speed up local and state planning decisions and called for the appointment of a special new committee to streamline approvals”. It has also called for development fees and levies to be cut. We have heard it all before – fast tracking, cutting red tape, Councils overridden, residents objection rights removed, heritage buildings destroyed, building and planning standards lowered, front yards, back yards and vegetation cover disappearing. The dense population push has given us some of the world’s least affordable housing, the flammable cladding debacle, and the urban heat island effect. Not content with that, they want us to become even denser, like Wuhan or New York. If there is one lesson we need to learn from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that we should not try to become a denser population like New York. Even that long-time population growth booster Bernard Salt has acknowledged that Australia has a clear advantage over other countries due to the low-density sprawl of our major and provincial cities, which gives us room to move, space in which to isolate, less scope to bump into others. He says “The very essence of late 20th century Australia – low density suburbia – may turn out to be a decisive factor in mitigating the effects of a deadly 21st century pandemic”. We need to stop overdevelopment and stop overcrowding, and say no to a denser population.”