ABC News makes claims not supported by CoM statement

ABC OnLine News service article titled:

Structure on collapsed wall did not have council permit

Is misleading. The article goes on and states:

The Melbourne City Council says a structure on a brick wall that collapsed in Carlton last month killing three people did not require council approval.

The statement published by the City of Melbourne does not claim or comment on the question if a permit or council approval was required.

The Council’s statement said:

We can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.  

There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

A CMP (Construction Management Plan) does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

The City of Melbourne does not intend to make any further comment at this time.

Other media outlets did not repeat the unsupported ABC News claim.
The question if a permit for the construction of the hoarding attached to the wall that collapsed is still the subject of review and debate.  Council local laws and Construction site Management guidelines require a permit for the construction of hoardings.

Statement published by the City of Melbourne

Statement regarding Swanston Street development permits

 Tuesday, 9 April 2013 

The City of Melbourne continues to assist the Coroner, WorkSafe and the Building Commission as they investigate the Swanston Street wall collapse.

While assisting those inquiries remains our priority, we can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.

There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

In general terms, the City of Melbourne oversees the interface between building sites and public space.

With regard to the wall collapse in Swanston Street, it should be noted that the wall was on private property.

The Swanston Street CUB site is a Comprehensive Development Zone. As a result of this designation, the Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority for the issuing of planning permits relating to the site.

The Minister has issued a planning permit for the development of Swanston Square (building 5) and the Maltstore building. That permit required the developer to file a Construction Management Plan (CMP) with the Minister as the Responsible Authority. The Minister’s permit required that the CMP be prepared in accordance with the City of Melbourne’s CMP guidelines.

The purpose of the CMP is to set out how a site will be managed to minimise impact on the surrounding area. The CMP was reviewed by the City of Melbourne and was found to meet the requirements of the guidelines. The CMP covers Stage 1 of the development of the CUB site which is south of the area where the wall collapsed.

A CMP does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

The City of Melbourne does not intend to make any further comment at this time.

City Smokers sigh a sign of relief

Melbourne’s Smokers cam rest assured that the City will not impose a blanket outside ban on smoking.  Cr Richard Foster’s propsed smoking ban had no support and the issue was not included for discussion on tonight’s Council agenda.

Discussion with various Councillors it was made clear that Foster did not have any support. The Council would not be imposing a local law that they can not police or implement.  Instead of the big bother heavy handed approach Council would embark on a more passive educational exercise to try and discourage smokers from lighting up. The Council may extend non-smoking areas to Council managed property, kindergartens, playgounds and the like but smoekers will not be targeted in a blanket city ban.

Richard Foster who is a member of the ALP was not endorsed by the Party and the proposed citywide smoking ban is not ALP policy. Foster has no mandate for his proposal. A proposal, if implemented, that  could cost the ALP two inner city Federal seats at the next Federal election. (Melbourne and Port Melbourne)

So outraged at the push and shove approach of the  City Council there were plans to mobilize city smokers in what would have been a firestorm of protest.  A campaign that would have called on the State Government to remove or subject to legislative oversight the establishment of local laws with the State Government and Governor in Council having the final say and right of veto of any proposed local law that is enacted that compromised state interests  Calls for tighter limitations on Council’s right to impose restrictive laws in isolation or with-out a referedum. A proposal that, if adopted, would hamstring all municipalities in passing local laws.

The Foster Smoking ban would have had a negative impact on public health campaigns and made their job that much harder.

Richard Foster having had his citywide ban extinguished is now expected to change tact in order to save face. He will seek to have selective bans imposed instead, but never the less his grandstanding proposal will leave a stain on his reputation.