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 Don't Screw KewARCHIVE 2004  at WWW.KEW.ORG.AU
Kew Cottages Coalition Reg # A0044698H
November 2004

Saturday 27th November

Boroondara  Council Election Victory

Contentious Kew Cottages Development takes its toll on Boroondara Mayor
 3AW 5pm News November 27,2004
Listen to MP3 Audio

Voters in backlash against high-rise
By Nassim Khadem, Martin Boulton
November 28, 2004
The Age

 "In Boroondara, Mayor Judith Voce,
who backed the redevelopment of Kew Cottages, was
dumped. Meredith Butler, who had fought to save the cottages, was returned.
Six of the 10 councillors were ousted, leaving it with a Liberal majority.."
Herald Sun November 28, 2004

"A strong anti-development message was sent in Boroondara City Council, where Kew
Cottages and Camberwell Station have been contentious issues.."
ABC Online November 28, 2004

Developers on the nose with voters
"Developers yesterday conceded  they would need to address community concerns over future projects after opponents to development triumphed in several Victorian council elections.
However, developers  and industry observers said anti-development victories were limited to a few councils with controversial projects.
The poll in Boroondara, covering Melbourne's affluent inner-eastern suburbs, was won by opponents of a high-density project at Camberwell station and redevelopment of the Kew Cottages care facility..."
By Andrew Cornell
Australian Financial Review November 29, 2004

Coalition's Historic
Heritage Victory

Herald Sun 
Front Page Story
Wed 24th November 2004

Listen to ABC Radio Jon Faine 
Brian Walsh 

the Public Advocate 

Listen to 3AW Neil Mitchell
Brian Walsh 

MP3 Audio:  use WinAmp on a PC, or Quicktime or similar on a Macintosh  to listen in real time. Otherwise, eg: if you have a slow dialup connection,  download the file first (~900kB), and then use any MP3 player to listen.) 

Tue 23rd November 2004

Heritage Council 
Approves Listing
Kew Cottages 

Kew Cottages Coalition Media Release 

Current and Historical views of Kew Cottages and Grounds 


Boroondara  Council Election

Survey of Council Candidates
To help Boroondara voters  we surveyed existing Councillors and new Candidates 
about the Bracks Government's plan to sell off
Kew Cottages.

How many attempted our questions ? 

3 out of 10 existing Councillors  (Answers..)
13 out of 37 new candidates. (Answers..)

Kew Cottages Coalition recommendations on shire elections 
(in no particular order):

Brad Miles 
Luke Tobin 

Leon Zembekis 
Ray Walford 
Joburt Betadam 

Meredith Butler 

Kerry Abrahams 

No recommendation 

Dennis Whelan 
Geoff Guest 
Peter Campbell 

Peter Papaemmanouil 

Stan Stapar 
Frank Jockel 
Mary Halikas-Byrnes 

Brian Walsh

November 2004

Kew Cottages

1. Who owns and controls Kew Cottages ? 

The State Government owns Kew Cottages, and until November 2003, Boroondara Council, as the relevant local government body for Kew, was the 'Responsible Planning Authority' for the Cottages.

Until May 2000  the Crown Land was permanently reserved under the Kew and Heidelberg Lands Act, but the Bracks Government continued the policy of the previous Kennett Government in extending the sell off of public lands, and in downgraded the Cottages Crown land reservation status from "permanent" to "temporary".

Historically, the first local government body in the region was the Boroondara District Road Board, formed in 1854 and incorporating the areas which were to become Hawthorn, Kew and Camberwell (More..) 

The Willsmere Mental Asylum was built on a large permanent reservation of Crown land stretching  from the Yarra River all the way  up Emerald Hill to Wills and Princess Street, Kew between 1868 and 1872. It is a notable Melbourne landmark.

Kew Cottages itself was built within the grounds of WIllsmere in 1887 to provide more appropriate accommodation for intellectually disabled children. The Asylum and the Cottages shared a common administration until the 1970's.

The Cottages were incorporated into Studley Ward in 1994, when the Kennett Government amalgamated the Kew, Hawthorn, and Camberwell Councils to form Boroondara Council. 

The State Government's Department of Human Services (DHS)  renamed its Kew Cottages administration body "Kew Residential Services" when the Government set out to sell the land to private developers.

The State Government's Minister for Planning, Mary Delahunty, formerly stripped Boroondara Council of its role as the "Responsible Planning Authority" for Kew Cottages on Remembrance Day (11th November) 2003. 

The State Government is now in the embarrassing position of not only being the owner of Kew Cottages, but also both the developer, and the "Responsible Planning Authority". 

November 2004

Boroondara Council Elections 
Studley Ward.

A. Is voting compulsory ? 

Yes for all persons on the Boroondara Council electoral role except those who are over seventy years old; or do not live in the ward.

Residents should receive their ballot papers in the post by Monday 15th November. 

Voters are required to complete and post back their ballot papers by 26th November. Alternatively votes can be hand delivered to the Returning Officer at one of the following locations:

- 25 Inglesby Road, Camberwell Vic 3124
- Hawthorn Office, 360 Burwood Rd Hawthorn
- Kew Office Cnr Cotham Rd and Civic Dve

until 6pm on Friday 26 November 2004

Telephone the Returning Officer on 9813 3748, 8:30am - 5pm Monday to Friday. 

or click here:
Victorian Electoral Commission Website

B. Who are the Candidates in Studley Ward 
(1 vacancy) 

SMITH, Cindee Anne 
HEALEY, Phillip 
WALSH, Brian * 
VOCE, Judith 
JONES, Christopher Lloyd 
OH, Ros 

 *Brian Walsh is the endorsed candidate of the 
Kew Cottages Coalition.

2. Will the Cottages be Kew's First Casualty of Melbourne 2030 ?

a) What did the Mayor of Boroondara say to Neil Mitchell on 3AW in August  2003 ?

MP3 Audio: Cr. Judith Voce interview, Neil Mitchell show 3AW 5th August 2003 (2MB file - use WinAmp on a PC, or Quicktime or similar on a Macintosh  to listen in real time. Otherwise, eg: if you have a slow dialup connection,  download the file first, and then use any MP3 player to listen.) 


b) What did  the Government say  in March 2004 ? (More..)


c). What is the Kew Cottages Coalition's view in November 2004? 

To state "the obvious", we believe the development will only go ahead, besides anything else, if  it makes commercial sense for both a developer and the Government to proceed. Given the recent problems the State Government has faced both at Docklands, and elsewhere we do not think they will get such an easy deal from potential developers as they might have expected in 2001 when Bracks made his initial announcement on Kew Cottages. Times have changed. Melbourne 2030 has changed. There is now too much uncertainty about the difficulties a developer will face with Kew Cottages for them to easily quantify the nature and extent of the risks involved. We believe any developer will, therefore, seek  significant undertakings from Government to help them offset that commercial risk. However, the political cost to Government of making such undertakings may ultimately not justify the benefit. 

If you are a resident in Studley Ward we ask you to vote for Brian Walsh in the current Council elections to help carry that message to Government.

3. When will the first residents be moved from their current home ? 
Some residents have already been moved to accommodation in other suburbs. A number of units at the Cottages have already been closed, and fenced off.

C. Do you live in Studley Ward ?

If you live in Kew, or in Hawthorn west of Church Street, there is a good chance you are a Studley resident. The Ward's longest boundary is the Yarra River. To enter the Ward from the South, the East, and the North, one must either cross a bridge, get a boat, fly, or swim the Yarra. The Ward's only dry land border is the eastern border which it shares with Glenferrie Ward, Cotham Ward, and Bellevue Ward.

D. Election issues in Studley Ward ?

We believe the Kew Cottages issue has demonstrated that, no doubt despite the best of intentions, the old Council totally lost the plot on:

- Planning for Kew residents needs;
- Planning for Kew residential areas;
- Planning for Kew urban green space;
- Planning for Kew's heritage;
- Planning for Kew's infrastructure;
- Planning for Kew's traffic.

As a consequence Kew and Hawthorn are both now open to further exploitation and loss of amenity through:

- inappropriate development;
- loss of neighbourhood character;
- loss of green space and public open space;
- loss of heritage sites;
- traffic congestion;
- lack of parking options for shops and businesses;
- inadequate public transport services.

E. What is Brian Walsh's 3 point plan ? 

If elected :

1. I will work with you to Promote:

- a more caring community;
- a Council with a conscience;
- a Council that values ALL of its residents, ALL of its green space, and ALL of its heritage.


2. I will Fight to help you say:

- NO to Bracks Melbourne 2030 High Rise;
- NO to dangerous traffic and roads.
- YES to a Centre of Excellence at Kew Cottages.

In Studley Ward that initially means: 

3. We will focus on:

- Helping  Council to deliver better forms of community consultation based on my experience with the  Kew Cottages issue;

- Building strong alliances to fight Melbourne 2030

- Improving road safety by completing the on road bicycle network;

- Testing creative approaches to support better parking,  public transport, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic options for shopping centres such as Kew Junction.

November 2004

F. Has Boroondara Council ever had any real power to control development at Kew Cottages ? 


Inappropriate development is never inevitable ! 

Numerous examples exist around Australia where inappropriate development has been stopped because local communities cared enough to challenge the electoral mandates of those Government authorities rash enough to try and back the power of the developer's bulldozer against the black death of the ballot box.

In August 2003 when Boroondara Council gave the 'green light' to bulldozing Kew Cottages radio talk back lines were jammed with protesters; 2000 people rang Melbourne's largest selling daily paper, the Herald Sun, in one day to vote "NO" to the sell off, and the paper was running a Kew Cottages story every day for over a week.
The Bracks Government spin doctors went into overdrive to try and counter the negative publicity. 

Council had tremendous power at that that stage, to help firmly set the political agenda against inappropriate development - not only at Kew Cottages - but throughout Boroondara. Yet, Council simply failed to exercise that power.

Now, one year later, following a metropolitan  wide backlash against the threat of "Melbourne 2030" high rise development, Boroondara Council has another chance to climb back into the ring on Kew Cottages. The next few months will be crucial in determining just what the "New" Boroondara Council will have learnt from the mistakes of the "Old".


4. When are the first buildings due to be demolished ? Kew Cottages Coalition and residents have nominated the Cottages for Heritage listing.We understand Heritage Victoria has been advised by Major Projects that no works will be undertaken pending a final decision of the Heritage Council on the nomination.
5. When are the first apartments due to go on sale "off the plan" 

This has been left up to the selected developer to determine. No contracts have yet been signed. In March 2004 the Government said: It is not a requirement that the overall residential redevelopment of the site should be completed by late 2006 unless this is the wish of the selected developer. (More..)

6. When is  the first construction scheduled to begin ? "..Work is expected to start on site in early 2005," according to Minister for Community Services, Ms Sherryl Garbutt. The Government told potential developers in March 2004 that:"It is intended that the 20 new homes for existing residents be completed on a staged basis with progressive handover to DHS during the 9 to 12 months leading up to mid 2006, by which date all 20 houses are to be completed." (More..)
7. .Did Boroondara Council make available any traffic studies ? No, none were made public.  However, The Council said it recognised the Wills/Princess Street roundabout was dangerous, that it could not accommodate more traffic from Kew Cottages, and should be further investigated.
8.  Did the Minister accept that her new plan raised serious traffic safety issues? No,  the Minister's  new plan appears to completely ignore the Council warning about the dangers posed by the Wills/Princess St roundabout.
9.  Does the Minister claim that her new plan provides for lower building heights ? Yes. The DHS website claims:" A maximum building height of five storeys, down from the seven storeys proposed in the original draft plan" (More..)
10. What is wrong with the Bracks Government's claim on height reduction in the new plan ? It is at best  half truth. To be charitable it is simply mischievous. To be critical it is fundamentally misleading. The facts are that whereas both Boroondara Council and the Minister for Planning each set a 'five story' height limit in their respective Spring 2003 plans (C38 and C53), the Minister  redefined 5 storeys to be equal to 17.5 metres high in her plan instead of the normally accepted 15 metres high. In other words the Minister in fact raised (not lowered the height limit set by Boroondara Council !

How is it "half-true" ? Well it is true that the "draft plan" prepared by Council Officers for Council to consider at its August 4th Meeting recommended a height limit of 7 storeys - ie: 21 metres. Council however, rejected that recommendation, and set the overall height limit at 5 storeys.

The Minister for Planning it would seem is keen to ensure that the devil remains in the detail.

11.  Will  the Yarra River skyline be affected ? Yes. The Government's  plan moved some of their redefined  5 storey buildings up the hill to the Yarra River skyline overlooking Studley Park, thus breaching the tree canopy vegetation. In the south-west corner of the grounds where the Council  plan proposed a height limit of 9 metres (3 storeys) the new Government plan now proposes a height limit of 17.5m (ie:5 'tall' storeys) - nearly twice as high !.
12.  Has the amount of public open space been reduced ? Yes from a minimum of 50% public open space in the Council plan down to 27.5% in the Government plan.
13.  Do residents have right of appeal to VCAT ? No. Normally that would be the case. But nothing with regard to Kew Cottages planning it would appear is "normal'. Third-party appeal rights were withdrawn without notice on 11th November 2003 by the Minister for Planning, Mary Delahunty.
14. Is the Government tender process public ? No. The Government's tender documentation has been kept secret. An announcement regarding a preferred tenderer and development plan is expected shortly. At that time Boroondara Council expects to be given 28 days in which to comment and make submissions on the detailed Development Plan.
 The Diary...
The story so far....


The Archive August 2004 at  WWW.KEW.ORG.AU
Kew Cottages Coalition Reg # A0044698H

>>>>>>> The Land >>>>>>>>>>>>>> The People <<<<<<<<<

23rd August 2004

Kew Cottages Coalition
issued the following Media Release today:



Click here for current and historical views of the Cottages and grounds.

Photos Tony Michael, Kew Historical Society.

Kew Cottages Coalition welcomes Heritage Victoria's decision today to recommend  the addition of Kew Cottages to the Victorian Heritage Register.

The Coalitions President, Mr. Brian Walsh, said that the Coalition had first nominated the Cottages for the Register in January this year, and he called on the Premier, Steve Bracks to now:

- support the Heritage Victoria recommendation, on behalf of all Victorians;
- declare a moratorium on the Government's sale of the site, and
- establish an independent inquiry into the future of Kew Cottages.

Mr. Walsh, said  that it was obvious that all the so called "Planning" for the sale and destruction of Kew Cottages by the Bracks Government to date had proceeded on a false assumption, namely that the Cottages was NOT a Heritage site, so the planning  process would now just have to start again.

Mr. Walsh said, " Steve Bracks and Sherryl Garbutt have only got themselves to blame for the current mess. They inherited the Cottages on behalf of all Victorians when they came into Government, and they should have involved Heritage Victoria from day one in their redevelopment plans."

"It would have been the natural thing to do for any responsible Government.." Mr. Walsh said. "The adjoining Willsmere site is already on the Victorian Heritage Register, and for over a hundred years  Kew Cottages were actually a part of Willsmere. "

But ironically in 2001, when all eyes were on the Centenary of the opening of Australia's greatest institution, at the Heritage listed Melbourne Exhibition Buildings, the Bracks Government appears to have simply turned its back on the possibility of involving Heritage Victoria in the future of another Melbourne icon of the same era - Kew Cottages.

Mr. Walsh said," The Bracks 'Dash for cash'  from the Cottages has ended up squarely putting the "'Developers' Cart before the Heritage Horse. They have not only wasted a lot of public time and public money over the past three years, they have also caused a lot of grief and anxiety to some of Victoria's most disadvantaged citizens - the intellectually disabled and their families."

Mr. Walsh said,"  Bracks should have properly dealt with the Public Heritage value of Kew Cottages  before he even contemplated what  Private Developers might be prepared to pay to cover this historic Yarra Valley hillside with concrete. Now the whole question of whether medium and high density housing is even remotely appropriate on this Heritage site will have to be looked at afresh."

The Kew Cottages Coalition believes that the Government tender to sell the site should be recalled immediately, and a properly constituted independent inquiry appointed to make recommendations on:

a) The failure of the Kew Cottages planning process to date to adequately take account of the Cottages historic  usage and Heritage values;

b) An appropriate future for Kew Cottages, including the nature and form of intellectual disability services and accommodation choices to be developed.

Mr. Walsh said he would like to put on record the Coalition's thanks to all those groups and individuals who had assisted in developing and supporting the Kew Cottages nominations to Heritage Victoria, and in helping with the Coalition's continuing search for the original cast iron Main Gates. The Gates were removed from the Princess Street Entrance to the Cottages in 1940, and are now believed to be located somewhere in the Shepparton region.


KEW Cottages plan faces heritage challenge
The Age.
August 23, 2004
By Royce Millar.

"The State Government's controversial plan to redevelop Kew Cottages faces staunch opposition from the Government's own heritage watchdog.... "

The full story is available at:


6th August 2004

Melbourne Herald Sun - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia

"The families of former Kew Cottages residents simply want their children to be adequately cared for .... This is part of the reason why parents wanted a centre of excellence built on the site.." Maree Wood, Boronia (More..)
" Community Services Minister Sherryl Garbutt describes conditions at Kew Cottages as Dickensian.

My brother, Donald, lives at the Cottages and I, along with many other families have been fighting long and hard to keep them there.

We would hardly be doing that if we thought the situation was Dickensian...." Beverley Garrett, Springvale South (More..)

5th August 2004

An unkind development
Melbourne Herald Sun - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia

THE Bracks Government's assurances that Kew Cottages residents would not suffer when moved out to make way for a developer are now looking decidedly hollow. ...

The full editorial is available at:

Bracks disputes Kew claims
Tanya Giles and Jane Metlikovec
Herald Sun
August 5, 2004

PREMIER Steve Bracks yesterday refused to ease the plight of former Kew Cottage residents hit with exorbitant medical bills.

The full story is available at:

Herald Sun
Item: Bills hit families of disabled 04aug04

From: Eric Yeomans
An utter disgrace, the Bracks government should be ashamed of itself for adopting 'user pays' capitalist ideology in respect of such handicapped persons. Perhaps shortly one of their own family may become so afflicted, then suddenly they may gain more insight.

From: Tim Shambrook
The Bracks Government has treated the Kew Cottage resident families with contempt. Originally they wanted all residents to leave the area altogether. They are mainly interested in the dollars the Kew land would bring, rather than the historic Kew Cottage institution which has for many years been a great help to many families throughout Victoria.

From: Margaret Ryan
The Bracks government has allocated an extra $79 million over six years for the extra costs of moving 460 or so Kew residents "into the community". It is corruption that this money is apparently not going to directly benefit the Kew people. The heartless people who prey on intellectually disabled people and their families are flourishing in Victoria.

4th August 2004

Heartless: Bills hit families of disabled
Kate Uebergang
Herald Sun
August 4, 2004
 FAMILIES of former Kew Cottages residents have been hit with thousands of dollars in medical bills since their children were removed from their long-time home.... (More..)

The Bracks Government reply......

"They paid more ..and were living in a Dickensian Institution"
Sherryl Garbutt
Victorian Minister for Community Services
ABC Radio News
11am Wednesday August 4, 2003

To view the Kew Cottages "Dickensian Institution" referred to by Minister Garbutt click here.

Is this the same Kew Cottages  that the Bracks Government is trying to sell to private developers for hundreds of millions of dollars ?

1st August 2004

So who cares?
August 1, 2004
Nine Network
URL: http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/article_1609.asp

Reporter :Jana Wendt
Producer : Thea Dikeos, Paul Steindl

"In a health system under siege in many areas, one statistic stands out: the number of mentally ill people who committed suicide while under care doubled from 1993 to 2001 — the last year for which figures are available. While the validity of the figures can be argued, one thing is certain: the amount of money and services directed to people suffering from mental illnesses is hopelessly inadequate... (More..)

Sunday's Jana Wendt reports on how we have failed to provide those most in need with adequate heath care services. This has resulted in sufferers being either "in the jails, on the streets or in the graveyard," according to Dr Jean Lennane, a long-time critic of a decision in the 1980s to shut down mental institutions and move care into the community. (More,,)

Listen  Also to:

Mental Health Care Inadequate.
Grab from 4th August 2004 - Stavroula. (More..)
Isabelle Collins … Director, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council
(on) Jon Faine
774 ABC Radio
5th August 2004


14th July 2004. (Bastille Day)

State Planning in Victoria is coming off the rails,  but...  Bracks' bureaucrats still struggle with simple arithmetic....

In May 2001 when Premier Bracks announced that Kew Residential Services was to be  "re-developed"  he said it was to be a "$100 million land and residential redevelopment...."

The 470 intellectually disabled residents would be re-located. To raise the $100 million cash required for re-housing the Kew residents "the land  will be sold" said the Premier.

It was planned to be just one more in a spate of public capital projects,  including a succession of public land sales to private developers. Bracks bureaucrats and spin doctors went to work on Kew with a will.

But now  three years later, a number of private developers have apparently withdrawn from the Government tender process for Kew,  there is widespread community opposition to the Kew Cottages land grab even starting, and according to recent reports in the press, the Government's numbers often just don't add up. As result...

Capital projects hit a brick wall
By Michael Bachelard
The Weekend Australian
July 10, 2004

In the final months of construction on Melbourne's landmark Federation Square, the official in charge of the project had to go to the Commonwealth Bank every month to borrow cash to pay the bills.

"The bureaucrats up at the departments of Premier and Cabinet and Finance wanted to fart around and make up the arithmetic to see if the $6 or $7 million I wanted to pay was right. Or they were saying: 'We need time to think about this,"' recalls Dick Roennfeldt, the then director of the Government's Office of Major Projects..... (More)

10th July 2004.. Back in March 2004 the Bracks Government suddenly changed tack on Kew, and opened up the possibility of a Public/Private Partnership deal instead of an outright sale. Now this fashionable new found form of "PPP  financing  has been shown to be fundamentally flawed.

Instead of the so called 'Public/Private Partnerships' that often conceal more than they reveal, the experts say that, Governments need to revisit more traditional  forms of financing public sector infrastructure. As Professor Alan Fels, former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission argues:

First comes debt, then investment
The Age
July 10, 2004

"The chorus of voices urging federal and state governments to rethink their aversion to debt is getting deafening.

It seems that the "borrowing is bad" mantra that came into fashion in economist circles during the 1990s is beginning to peter out. It's a shame the nation's treasurers are yet to catch on.

In the past year, we've heard everyone from the Property Council, the Australian Industry Group, the ANZ Bank, the ACTU and even ratings agency Standard & Poor's encouraging governments to invest in infrastructure using public debt. Examples abound where capital expenditure on infrastructure is sorely needed, with projects in roads, rail, ports, hospitals, public housing and water all on the drawing board. (More)


The Land

July 2004

Community unrest with State and Federal Governments bungling of environmental and heritage issues continues to grow.

Point Nepean is viewed by many as a national watershed in heritage mismanagement. But the problems are not just confined to the National and State edifices and icons. Hazardous waste, water, wind power, and woodchip issues have all threatened to become a festering sore in a range rural Victorian communities, coastal areas, and old growth forests. (More..)

Meanwhile back in the suburbs of Melbourne more protests have erupted against the Bracks Government's "Melbourne 2030" strategy. What began in Kew, Camberwell, Carlton, and Parkville has now spread to every suburb concerned about Green Space, heritage, height limits, setbacks, and community character. (More..)

"Melbourne 2030" has  disenfranchised metropolitan councils, and frustrated voters with volumes of 'planning speak' and media double-talk, about activity centres, medium density units, and high-rise housing.

Up at Kew Cottages, Yarra Valley Water responds to Heritage Victoria's polite request, and moves its new pipes from under the Algerian Oaks to what the Department of Sustainability and Environment calls a  "grassy area"...

 A year ago this DHS KRS sign said "People First" , but that claim appears to have been removed by DHS when the first Units behind the sign were emptied of people late in 2003. Then DHS locked up the Units, and sealed them with cyclone security fencing. Ironically the fencing used was of the type that was supposed to be used to protect the SIgnificant  trees.

DSE were right of course. It is certainly a grassy area. The only problem is that  someone must have moved a tree or two back up against the pipes when DSE weren't looking ... and none of the trees have any of the protective fencing that was so carefully detailed in the Government's glossy reports and "Tree Protection Guidelines" published  for this "Site of State Significance."(See: "KRS Background Overview Report, Supporting Amendment C53 to the Boroondara Planning Scheme, Public Information, DSE/DHS 11th November 2003)

Heritage lies in the eye of the excavator....

Foreground - Heritage Cast iron 30" Yan Yean Water Main Pipe WITH Protective Fencing
Background - Heritage Holly-leafed Cherry, Algerian Oaks, and Elm trees  WITHOUT Protective Fencing

Photos. Tony Michael.


June 2004

Trust moves to save 'historic' station
By Martin Boulton
The Age
June 25, 2004
URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/24/1088046227298.html

Camberwell railway station has been classified as historically significant by the National Trust, further challenging Government plans for development at the site.

The 85-year-old station is one of four new precincts the Trust will classify, in a deliberate push to preserve heritage characteristics in built-up areas that the State Government has earmarked for further development.

High Street in Northcote has also been classified... (More)

23rd June 2004. Heritage Victoria undertakes a Kew Cottages site inspection, and arranges with Yarra Valley Water for the new pipes to be relocated "as soon as plant is available."

22nd June 2004. Heritage Victoria responds quickly to KCC's request, but says it has only one tree expert on staff and that that person will not be able to undertake a site visit until the following day. In the meantime they start their investigation by contacting Yarra Valley Water, and all the Government agencies involved.


21st June 2004. Kew Cottages Coalition calls on Heritage Victoria to

- investigate the proposed works as soon as possible,
- take whatever action is needed to immediately protect the trees  in question, and
- apply an interim protection order to the whole site without further delay.

21st June 2004. Unfortunately, Yarra Valley Water  weren't to know the Government had had a Conservation Study undertaken in 2003. Nor did they know that the Government had decided that these trees needed to be protected, and that to do that in the event of construction works, then "the appointed trees shall be fenced off with sturdy fencing.... (in order to) create an 'exclusion zone' beneath these trees. This fence will deter the entry of heavy equipment, vehicles, workers and/or the public into this Tree Protection Zone." (ibid,DHS/DSE Nov 2003.)

Unfortunately, Victoria, unlike NSW does not apparently even have a 'fail-safe' system in place to make sure contractors 'dial before they dig', on such significant sites.

Tree Protection Zones for these trees are listed at 7m to 9m according to their canopy size.

Nor were Yarra Valley Water  to know that earlier this year, the National Trust had  added this Holly-leafed cherry tree "prunus Ilicia" to its register of significant trees. Perhaps Yarra Valley  hadn't asked, and perhaps no one at DHS or DSE had thought to tell them. Perhaps the Government bureaucracy had other things on its mind, like a major Kew land sale, and a project of "State Significance". Perhaps it had tenders to deal with, and with "revisions and decisions, which a minute would reverse..." Perhaps that's why the Government's own commissioned tree experts, John Patrick, had gone to such trouble in defining  the fencing and management practices for 173 significant  'Tree Protection Zones" (TPZ) that needed to be put in place at Kew Cottages. Perhaps Patricks knew the sorts of damage that a combination of modern day bureaucrats,  back-hoe's and bulldozers could do to these century old trees.

Tree No.172, on the Minister's list of significant trees drawn up by John Patrick was the Holly-leafed cherry tree "prunus illicia". Tree No 172 had TPZ specified of 3 metres - the distance from the trunk (radius) in metres to allow for the protection of the tree."
"This area", said Patricks," should be appropriately fenced during the entire construction phase."


We won't harm Yarra: Thwaites
Melissa Fyfe
The Age
June 16, 2004


The Heritage Council announced the good news that a decision
had been made to confirm the provisional determination that the Royal Park Hospital
be included on the State Heritage Register... (More..)

14th June 2004. Yarra Valley Water commences exploratory works near Kew Cottages as part of its plan to reline some of Victoria's oldest water mains. Two 30 inch mains run all the way to Kew from the Yan Yean Reservoir.

The Yarra Valley  Water works are a major project. It is now just over 150 years since Governor La Trobe turned the first sod to start construction of Yan Yean.

The original pipes are as old as the Cottages themselves.  They cross the Yarra at the Fairfield pipe bridge, then up to Kew through the Willsmere and Cottages land, before splitting at Wills Street - one main south down Princess Street to Kew Junction, and one south-east towards Charles Street. As they approach Wills Street the pipes pass under the Main Avenue of Algerian Oaks and the Holly-leafed Cherry Tree recently nominated for the Victorian Heritage Register by the Kew Cottages Coalition.

17th June 20004.  Channel 7 News Reports GE Development Threatens Burnley Gardens (More..)

Thwaites steps in on Devilbend

By Martin Daly
The Age
June 13, 2004
URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/12/1086749942116.html

Off the plan: development chaos adds to Bracks' woes

"... Several developers have said if Melbourne 2030 can't work in Camberwell, it can't work anywhere... (More.)

Nicole Lindsay
Australian Financial Review
June 4, 2004
URL: http://www.afr.com/premium/articles/2004/06/03/1086203564883.html

May 2004


2nd May 2004. On Sunday 2 May a crowd of over 1000 people led by celebrities Barry Humphries and Geoffrey Rush with a supporting cast of community groups from all over Melbourne protested at "Melbourne 2030" and the planned destruction of Camberwell Station. (PPL More..)

Barry Humphries summed up the feeling of the protesters with his "Poem for A Planner..."

      I am a city planner and I've generally succeeded,

       In giving Melbourne people things they never thought they

       I love to plan these projects (and they fill an entire shelf),
       Provided that they're miles away from where I live myself.

       We've got some groovy planners' buzzwords to convince you
       sceptic souls,

       We talk of 'strategies' and 'options' and we love delivering

       And if you enemies of progress make us put our plans on

       We talk vaguely about safety, wheelchair access and the

       Now that several years have passed since the ministry's eye

       On that sleepy little suburb that is known as Camberwell.

       And I have just walked down Burke Road at a pretty steady
       gallop -

       For we planners very rarely see the sites that we develop.

       Our mates at VicTrack told us the situation was no joke,

       If it wasn't for Asian students the railways would go broke.

       So they asked a kind developer to help them save their skin,

       And that's about the point where my ministry stepped in.

       Now confidentiality is what my job's about,

       But we struck a bugger of a problem - the residents found

       And that is why I'm standing here before you all today,

       For progress is a fact of life that will not go away.

       To us the whole of Melbourne is completely up for grabs,

       And our developer of choice uses the best of concrete slabs.

       And if you think we're vandals, you clearly haven't checked,

       We put big pictures of how it used to be on all the streets
       we've wrecked.

       So please don't try to stop us perform our rightful function,

       Think of all the lovely traffic we'll be bringing to the

       And the retail opportunities for resident and renter,

       And the mysterious activities in your new activity centre.

       And we'll build a lovely plaza to entertain the local thugs,

       Why should the kids of Camberwell go to Box Hill for their

       And one day if you behave yourself we might even produce a
      picture of what you're getting,

       Meanwhile, I'm off to Noosa!

April 2004

Bracks' freeway folly will cost us dearly
By Kenneth Davidson
The Age
April 29, 2004
URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/28/1083103547962.html


The threat to Melbourne's green wedges
By Kenneth Davidson
The Age
April 15, 2004

URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/14/1081838789001.html

Green light for listing boosts city's gardens
By Martin Boulton
The Age
April 5, 2004

URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/04/1081017035959.html

1st April 2004

KCC Media Release asks,  "Is the Bracks' Government Kew Cottages Tender an April Fool's Day joke or a serious miscarriage of justice ?" (More..)


March 2004

31st March 2004.. The day before tenders close DHS responds by e-mail to a series of further questions about the Kew Cottages residents and current usage of the land. (More..)

However, when asked specifically :

Does DHS intend to remove some intellectually disabled residents from their
current homes on the site without their consent?

DHS appears to try and avoid admitting that the Government does now plan to try and move some residents off the land without their consent.

DHS  tries to re-assure potential developers by saying that:

- People are progressively moving from KRS to better accommodation.
Decisions about where each person will live are made following an extensive
consultation process and are subject to external scrutiny and review
including by the Intellectual Disability Review Panel and the Office of the
Public Advocate. People have identified up to three preferences and the DHS
is placing people according to their needs and attempting to meet their

24th March 2004.. 5 days after amending the E-2982 online tender documentation (19/3) and with just a week to run before tenders close on 1st April, DHS finally advises the respondents to its original advertisement (12/3) in...

19th March 2004.. Some Plans last longer than others..

A week is a long time in politics, as they say, and just 6 days after its initial advertisement in 'The Age'  the Victorian Government suddenly changes its plan on how best to sell the  Kew Cottages land.

Without any notification in the press, or any further explanation as to why the Government wants to move the goal posts,  DHS simply amends its online advertisement. (More..)

Now, instead of seeking only developers who would be prepared to purchase the site outright, DHS says that:

Developers should note that the Government is prepared to entertain a range of options for the sale and development of the site, which may include:

· Overall purchase on a staged or terms basis;
· An unincorporated joint venture between the State and the developer; or
· Other commercial arrangements that achieve an optimum return for Government whilst meeting the appropriate probity and fiscal guidelines.

Precisely how an "optimum return" for Government is to be measured, in the face of diverse and differently structured development plan proposals, however, is not explained.

12th March 2004.. In Search of a Kew Cottages Development Plan... (and a Developer...)

After three years of deliberations on how best to 'redevelop the century old institution formerly known as Kew Cottages, ' the Bracks  Government finally calls for expressions of interest from private developers.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) places advertisements  in the Tenders section of "The Age" newspaper, and online  calling for   "Expressions of Interest"  in the purchase of Kew Residential Services. (More..)

DHS says: "The successful Company or Consortia will purchase the 27-hectare KRS site for redevelopment as a planned, integrated and appropriately staged development, which meets the requirements for those residents leaving KRS and the requirements of the Planning Scheme Amendment." (More..)

1st March 2004 . Kew Cottages Coalition lodges its application with the National Trust to nominate the Holly-leaved Cherry tree near the Main Drive entrance of Kew Cottages to the Significant Trees Register (More..)

February 2004

23rd February 2004.. Boroondara Council receives a report (1) on KRS and resolves:

2) Upon receipt of the (Kew Residential Services)  development plan, immediately write to land owners and occupiers who were originally notified of the exhibition of Council’s Amendment C38, advising them of the release of the development plan, and seeking comment within a 14 day period. In addition, Council promote awareness of the opportunity for comment via the Progress Leader.

3. Write to the State Government and advise that Council finds unacceptable

(i) the lack of State Government consultation; and

(ii) the insufficient time allowed for Council to consult with its community.


15th February 2004.. The Protectors of Public Lands Action group (PPL) holds its first Public Forum at Melbourne Town Hall. (More..)


January 2004

22nd January 2004.. Kew Cottages Coalition lodges a submission with Heritage Victoria requesting a Heritage Register listing for Kew Cottages including Main Drive and associated avenues (Plan..)

17th January 2004.. The first meeting of Protectors of Public Lands (PPL) Vic is held at the North Melbourne Town Hall.


5th January 2004.. Kew Cottages Coalition writes to Mary Delahunty pointing out that one of the 300 year old red gums she had undertaken to protect in November as part of her C53 Planning Scheme Amendment was  seriously at risk of damage, and the protective fencing recommended by her own consultants had still not been erected.

The Minister does not reply, however, the following week work on the new fencing begins.

The People

July 2004

Living with Autism
Street Stories
Wednesday 14 July  2004
Listen (Real Audio)

Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects up to 1% of the population and in the last decade there has been an exponential growth in the number of diagnoses in Australia. For families who live with an autistic child life is a daily struggle. Often the child does not speak, throws long temper tantrums, becomes obsessed with certain toys or objects, cannot be toilet trained and finds it difficult to interact with other children. A newly developed therapy called Applied Behaviour Analysis, which requires intensive one-on-one treatment for about eight hours a day, is having good results. However it costs about $50000 a year and is only subsidised in Western Australia. Many families cannot afford it and those who do are making sacrifices such as having the father live overseas in order to make enough money to pay for the therapy.

Guests on this program:

Caroline Christina
A mother of an autistic child.

Kelly Hargreave
A mother of a child with Asperger's Syndrome, a condition that is at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum.

June 2004

Gloria O’Brien, a Member of the Kew Cottages Parents’ Association writes to the Editor
of The Herald Sun newspaper:

As Aged Care is in the news, Kew Cottages land is going
up for sale. Should not most of this land be saved for the
aged, severely or profoundly disabled people of our
community, especially the group who are living at home
with their elderly parents who at times need respite from the
care of their disabled sons or daughters?
We know that there are over 4000 Victorians on the waiting
list for services. Most are all living at home with their
parents? Wouldn’t it be great if they could have some much
needed respite on the Kew Cottages site?


May 2004

The Kew Cottages Parents Association is unsuccessful in its request for a meeting with Steve Bracks.

The Premier's Chief of Staff, Tim Pallas, replies to KCPA on Bracks' behalf saying inter alia:

"On the matter of numbers remaining on site, the Government has made
its position clear. The figure of 100 has been accepted by a range of
stakeholders, including those who preferred a lower number. In light of
this, the Department is reluctant to revisit this issue.” (More..)
The Pallas letter does not make clear which  'stakeholders' the Premier has in mind, nor precisely who among the latter "preferred a lower number".

In the face of the Government's obdurate evasion the Parents Association responds:

The Association remains strongly of the view that, contrary to Mr Pallas’
advice, a range of accommodation options is not being offered to those moving
off site, and that the Department has not been responsive to catering to the
preferences of residents and families.

In addition, the Association continues to advocate for a significant increase in
the total number of KRS residents to live on the redeveloped site in recognition
of the real demand expressed by the residents and their families to remain on

We remind the Government that the Parents’ Association withdrew from
Minister Garbutt’s Site Forum in frustration due to the absence of any
discussion of such significant issues as accommodation choice, numbers to
remain on site and the provision of vital services (medical, dental and day

The Association publishes a full response and twelve point list of objectives in its May Newsletter.
See http://kewcottages.alphalink.com.au/may04insert.pdf

2nd May 2004 Geoffrey Rush and Barry Humphries plus a few thousand PPL and BRAG supporters with red balloons walk up Bourke Road to Camberwell Station in order express Community outrage at yet another failed Bracks' Government election promise:

- "The Bracks Government will protect what you love about your neighbourhood" (Election Advert, Melbourne Times, 20/11/2002)

April 2004

Letter to the Editor
The Age
April 30, 2004

It is hypocritical for Boroondara City Council to be opposing the presence of bats in parkland (The Age 29/4) while endorsing the sale of 27 hectares of publicly owned land - the Kew Cottages site - to a property developer.
Bill O'Connor, North Fitzroy

Back from the edge
The Age, A3 p.4
April 30, 2004
Many Victorians are falling though the cracks of our health care system but major efforts are being made to fill the gaps for one vulnerable group, writes Bettina Arndt.

...The story highlights one of the drawbacks of the 1980s shift away from housing people with disabilities in institutions to moving them out into the wider community. Not only are there young people who fall through the cracks, ending up in appalling circumstances, the responsibility for health care that was previously taken on by doctors and nurses within those institutions now rests with community-based GPs who do not have the training, experience or time to deal with some of the complicated problems of this group...

URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/29/1083224512783.html

March 2004

Families ‘forced to lie’ for disabled aid
John Elder
The Sunday Age,
News p.8
March 21, 2004

Services for the disabled are on the point of disintegration, with more than 3000 Victorian families waiting for supported residential accommodation for their children, according to disability advocacy groups.

Despite a 50 per cent rise in State Government funding, the Service Needs Register - essentially a waiting list for accommodation - has virtually stalled, the groups say.

They say the register has become a joke because exhausted families, on the point of breaking down, need to "sell" their situation as one of crisis - which often means portraying their relationship with their disabled children as abusive or at risk of turning abusive - just to get an "urgent" ranking on the list.

"You have to humiliate yourself to get heard," says Jenni Sewell of PINARC, a Ballarat disability service agency with 500 people on its books.

"Many families aren't bothering to get on the Service Needs Register because there's no point. It's not moving," says Margaret Ryan of the Disability Network, a lobby group that last year staged monthly protests at Parliament House. "Most people have no idea how difficult it is for families to get help in Victoria. Services are spread so thinly. Literally hundreds of families are falling apart and thousands of people are living in despair."

Many of those in crisis are elderly people caring for their middle-aged children who require 24-hour support. They have no idea what will happen to those adult children after they die. "We have parents in their 60s and 70s caring for children in their 40s and early 50s. You're talking about grown children who need their nappies changed... who have no survival skills whatsoever," says Ms Sewell

The Disability Network statistics show that last December, 5070 disabled people were in supported shared accommodation - group homes supervised at all times - and 3193 were waiting for a place, 1178 listed as urgent. "So for every 10 beds already occupied, there are six people waiting for a vacancy,' ' says Ryan.

The Bracks Government has boosted funding for disability services by $270 million since 1999 including a pledge of $77 million over four years in last May's budget. "But there's only been 6 per cent increase in the number of people getting residential places - which translates to 281 additional beds," says Ms Ryan.

A representative of Community Services Minister Sherryl Garbutt said: "The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates there will be a 50 per cent increase in the number of people with a severe or disability over the next 10 years. The Bracks Government recognises the increasing demands for disability services and we are taking action to address these pressures."



The Sunday Age
March 28 2004

Hope for the carers

Congratulations on John Elder's 'Families "forced to lie" for disabled aid' (21/3) about permanent accommodation for people with disabilities. As parents of an adult with an intellectual disability, we know how difficult it is to obtain accommodation facilities. We were fortunate to have our daughter placed about five years ago but only after years of struggle and hard work.

By publishing such articles, you give hope to desperate parents that something may be done to relieve their plight.
Carol and Jim Price,

Congratulations to John Elder. That there are more than 3000 people on the waiting list for accommodation is reprehensible. If there has been a boost to funding of services, then where has the money gone?

One answer may be the enormous cost of taking people from their homes, as in the case of Kew Cottages, and relocating them in the community. Whether they want to go or not is not an issue; choice does not seem to be an option for those with a disability. This needless cost of housing those that already have beds is depriving the 3000 waiting for a bed.

What sort of a society ignores the needs of the more vulnerable members of the community?
Deborah Holmes
Avalon Centre Inc,
East Malvern

3rd March 2004..  Parity is the publication of the Council to Homeless Persons. The focus of their April 2003 Edition was "After Deinstitutionalisation". Extracts became  available online in March 2004.

The latter include an article, "The End of Institutions, Housing and Homelessness",  by the former Victorian Public Advocate, and now Associate Professor, Social Work, La Trobe University David Green.

Professor Green's article poses the argument that whilst funds have been transferred into community programs to supply the support that institutions previously provided, funds have not proportionately been transferred to supply the housing stock or accommodation capital. Green writes:

It is now clear that granting vulnerable people their freedom by closing institutions has not been the success that many of its advocates had hoped, and governments and experts had promised. The most significant change in the delivery of human services in the previous century has left this century with a new range of policy. service delivery and moral dilemmas. The consequences and costs of closing residential institutions have always been underestimated. And as with so many specific reforms in one arena of public policy, the complexity of the environment into which these reforms were projected was not understood. (More...)  Green, D 'The End of Institutions: Housing and Homelessness' in Parity April 2003 Volume 16

February 2004


10th February 2004. Kew Cottages Parents Association passes a unanimous vote of no confidence in Minister Garbutt’s management of the Kew Cottages Redevelopment (More..)

The KCPA calls for a meeting with the Premier on key issues of the project - that was recently declared of “state significance” by the Bracks Government.

President, Ian Whalley says, “Surely a Labour Government should be sensitive to the needs of these most vulnerable members of the Victorian community and their families?  The Parents’ Association calls on the support of the Victorian community. ”

3rd February  2004.. Third  DHS KRS Site Forum Meeting.

It was noted that KCPA had withdrawn from this process, and that:

"  the Minister had confirmed the process for establishing the numbers on site and that this would not be revisited."(More..)


January 2004


31st January 2004.. Department of Human Services Advertises

Tender for: Evaluation: Quality of Life Outcomes following Kew Residential Service Redevelopment
Tender No: T/EMR01/04

Comment: The DHS tender evaluation terms of reference sound strangely reminiscent of  a large bank bent on deflecting criticism for closing yet another a local branch. Rather than starting by asking the local residents how services could be improved, and  offering a reasonable range of choices, the bank  puts all its resources into evaluating the introduction of ATM machines for its customers. Read "customers" for "residents" and "ATM" for "CRU" in this tender document and you start to get the picture on why some  'large institutions' can often appear, no doubt despite the best of intentions, to be tarred with the same brush... (More..)

27th January 2004.. Second DHS KRS Site Forum Meeting. The Parents' Association finds that although some of its family members have lived at Kew for over 50 years it is still impossible to get straight answers from DHS -  even to simple questions  like:

  • Why are only 100 of the existing 460 residents earmarked to remain on site ?
  • When will  DHS  table their VicUrban  KRS Masterplan for consideration by the Parents’ Association and other key stakeholders?

The Parents Association reluctantly concludes it has no option but to withdraw from the forum in protest at the Minister's failure to provide residents with adequate and comprehensive consultation. (More..)


20th January 2004.. Department of Human Services convenes first KRS Site Forum. Despite the Minister's commitment to a Forum which will consult with the "KPA (Kew Parents Association) and other interested groups", the Parents' Association is surprised to find that  the only other "interested groups" invited to the Forum are in fact all Government funded organisations.    (More..)


The Press.

Metro Media....

Are our rights disappearing into a 'St Kilda triangle'?
Ken Duxbury, East Kew
The Age
July 22, 2004

"...The argument that third-party appeal rights must be denied in order to provide "certainty" for potential developers is hardly compelling, given that almost all major - and many minor - development proposals in Victoria have been subject to third-party appeal rights for the past 90 years. The removal of third-party rights would mean that developers of this public land would have less need to address the reasonable concerns of third parties than would developers of nearby privately owned sites. This creates a distorted planning system where potentially objectionable and/or over-intense developments tend to gravitate to publicly owned land...."

Battle stations
James Button
The Age
April 28, 2004

Camberwell residents say it will destroy their suburb. The State Government says it is a modest proposal.
Either way, the dispute over plans to redevelop Camberwell station is proving a major test of the
Government's resolve to reshape Melbourne. James Button reports.

URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/27/1082831566692.html

State failed disabled children, report finds
By Sean Nicholls
Sydney Morning Herald
April 15, 2004

URL: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/14/1081838795398.html

Steve Bracks is starting to look like Jeff Kennett
Russel Savage
The Age
April 12, 2004

URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/11/1081621832394.html

Families 'forced' to lie' for disabled aid
John Elder
The Age
March 21, 2004

If only the Premier had a grander vision for our city
Kenneth Davidson
The Age
March 11, 2004

URL: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/03/10/1078594427196.html

"Let my brother stay"
Kate Uebergang
Herald Sun
January 10, 2004
(Reprinted:  Kew Cottages Parents' Association Newsletter, February 2004)

 URL: http://kewcottages.alphalink.com.au/february04.pdf

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