MEDIA: Herald Sun - Protect our past and safety

CLIFFORD HAYES MP: What does this State Government want to be remembered for? I imagine the Premier would like his Government to be remembered by his “getting things done” mantra of construction, construction, and even more construction.

It’s something that he wants to double-down on more so, in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But for many residents of Melbourne, the Premier’s Government will be remembered as one that has desecrated Melbourne’s already-dwindling heritage.

It is a list of casualties that drags on and on, each entry as heart-wrenching as the last.

The lost homes of Melbourne. The heritage homes we have lost, to fulfil the greed and line the pockets of the relentless property industry. Losses facilitated by our State Government; a State Government obsessed with rapid population growth.

To some; especially those in this Government; these homes may represent nothing more than a pile of bricks, stones and wood. An opportunity to reap in some more stamp duty. But to the rest of Victoria, these homes represent memories, tradition and culture. They are the legacy of the visionaries who came before us and one of the few things we can cling to when we remember the days of quarter-acre blocks, backyards and open space.

All of these homes have been lost over the last few years, due to lack of heritage protection, some demolished whilst awaiting protection:

34 Armadale St, Armadale

19 Moir St, Hawthorn

“Forres”, 9-11 Edward St, Kew

981 Burke Rd, Camberwell

993 Burke Rd, Camberwell

33-35 Huntingtower Rd, Armadale

34 Were St, Brighton

“Idylwilde”, 16 St Georges Rd, Toorak

18 St Georges Rd, Toorak

27 Mariemont Ave, Beaumaris

“Breedon House”, 34 Were St, Brighton

17 Nautilus St, Beaumaris

32 Middle Cres, Brighton

25-27 Victoria Ave, Canterbury

368 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn

55 Seymour Rd, Elsternwick

360 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn

2 Burgess St, Beaumaris

46 Rowland St, Kew

“Arden”, 1045 Burke Rd, Camberwell

493-497 Balcombe Road, Beaumaris

This is why we need a Parliamentary Inquiry into Heritage Protection. This is something I have discussed with the Crossbench and Liberal Opposition and look to spearhead very soon.

In the same vein, The Urban Destruction Institute, or should I say the Urban Development Institute, seems to have learnt nothing from the coronavirus pandemic and is putting forward even more outrageous proposals to increase Melbourne’s population density.

Proposals which would make Melbourne’s population even more dense and slash red tape are ridiculous and fly in the face of the lessons of the coronavirus pandemic.

The last thing we should do is take even more planning controls away from Councils and communities and give them to profit-hungry developers.

The dense population push and slashing of red tape has already given us some of the world’s least affordable housing, the flammable cladding debacle and unwanted high rise, high density development in our suburbs.

I suspect that their latest proposal would serve as the death knell to Melbourne’s heritage.

We know that the Premier is all about pleasing the likes of the UDIA and the CFMEU, but we need to draw a line in the sand before 20th century Melbourne is nothing more than a distant memory.

Clifford Hayes is the member for Southern Metropolitan


The above opinion piece appeared in the Herald Sun on 14 July 2020 as follows:

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