VICTORIAN Planning Minister Matthew Guy said that Melburnians have embraced the opportunity to help plan for their city's growth with "a record attendance at one of the largest and most successful community consultation events in Victoria's history."
Mr Guy said the public forum, held at the Docklands on Saturday, was part of the Victorian Government's commitment to ensuring the new Metropolitan Planning Strategy was developed in consultation with the community.
"More than 8,000 individuals have downloaded the discussion paper and there have been more than 30,000 visits to the Plan Melbourne website," Mr Guy said.
The discussion paper, titled 'Melbourne, let's talk about the future' and released in October last year, was prepared by the Ministerial Advisory Committee in order to "prompt debate around the challenges and ideas for Melbourne's future."
In January this year, the Victorian Government released a 'Conversation Toolkit' to encourage more Victorians to get involved in planning for Melbourne by assisting community members hosting their own group discussions. The government also extended the closing date for submissions on the discussion paper from 1 March to 28 March 2013.
"The Coalition Government is committed to driving the largest community consultation in Victoria's history to develop the Metropolitan Planning Strategy, and the scale and scope of today's event is unprecedented," Mr Guy said.
According to Mr Guy, a total of 280 community groups have engaged in roundtable discussions, workshops and forums and a further 48 community groups have registered their own events to discuss the Strategy. In addition, Mr Guy said targeted consultation "with traditionally hard to reach sections of the community" has also commenced.
"The Metropolitan Planning Strategy is a particularly important document being worked on by the Coalition Government and the outcomes will shape the way Melburnians work and live for decades to come," Mr Guy said.
"The Coalition Government will not make the same mistakes Labor did by failing to consult with the community, resulting in a poorly thought out strategy with zero buy-in and no implementation plan."
A draft Metropolitan Planning Strategy is expected to be released for consultation in June this year. More information is available from the Melbourne Planning Strategy website at <http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/>.
UPDATE 6/03/2013: An astute reader noted that some participants of the Plan Melbourne event were offered $50 to attend, which may, in part, explain the "record attendance."
Market research firm, Lynnette Griffiths Market Research Services, placed an advertisement on SEEK on February 15 and invited Melburnians to "attend a forum at Docklands on Saturday March 2 (all day) to help plan the next 40 years in Melbourne". In return, attendees were offered $50 to cover travel expenses and parking as well as free morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.