Council disappointed that Upfield Railway Line Precinct heritage submissions cut short (media release)

9 October 2019

Moreland City Council has expressed concern to the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, about lack of transparency, notification, and processes around the Upfield Railway Line Precinct submissions to Heritage Victoria.

The Minister has taken over decision-making and cut short the submissions period, which was to run from 4 September to 3 November 2019.

The Minister now has sole responsibility for decision making on the proposed changes to the registration using powers under the Heritage Act 2017.

The Heritage Council will no longer be responsible for decision-making; the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria initially recommended the public advertising period for submissions to the Heritage Council on 30 August 2019.

“The Minister’s decision usurps processes and has cut short a public consultation period with no explanation,” said Merri-bek Mayor Cr Natalie Abboud.

“As a result, both Council and the community have been denied a formal pathway to provide a submission for consideration on this important heritage matter.”

The Upfield Railway Line Precinct is part of the State Government’s level crossing removal project in the City of Merri-bek.

Proposed changes to the Upfield Railway Line Precinct heritage was triggered by members of the community, who submitted a detailed application to Heritage Victoria asking them to consider the potential state significance for a number of 20th century heritage assets, including the Munro Street Signal box and the trees in Gandolfo Gardens.

“Council welcomes level crossing removals in the City of Merri-bek but is disappointed at the lack of communication and transparency,” said Cr Abboud.

“Community members have the right to have their say and have their submissions considered.”

Council has sent its submission to the Minister and requested that the Minister consider any submissions he receives from the community, and that he ask Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council to provide any copies of submissions already received from members of the community.