• VCAT

December 7, 2022

The Future of Planning Under the Re-elected Andrews Government

Sonya Kilkenny has been appointed the new Minister for Planning in Victoria. This follows her recent State election win as the Carrum MP for her third term in office.

In July 2022, Kilkenny picked up four portfolios after a cabinet reshuffle, taking on responsibility of corrections, youth justice, victim support, and fishing and boating.

Dan Andrews commented on her July 2022 appointment as it brought “the number of women in the Victorian cabinet to 14, more than any other Australian jurisdiction, with three of the four parliamentary leadership positions also filled by women”.

In her new role as Planning Minister, she will retain just one of her former portfolios, as Minister for Outdoor Recreation, which includes fishing, boating and the other activities that boost local economies and keep families active.

Before entering Parliament in 2015, Sonya Kilkenny was a lawyer in commercial litigation and banking and finance. She also worked for the Kimberley Land Council in Broome and was on the Board of The National Theatre and Back to Back Theatre.

What can we expect from the new Planning Minister?

As Planning Minister we can expect Sonya to support Victoria’s future as an outstanding place to live and work. She wants to see an inclusive state with equal and fair access to services close to home. We can expect a strong emphasis on technological innovation, local manufacturing and educational pathways alongside her continuing commitment to equality.

The areas of public policy that she is most passionate about are all about creating jobs for the future. This includes education and training, transitioning our energy sector to renewables, and unlocking opportunities for women in the workforce.

The former Planning Minister, Lizzie Blandthorn, has been promoted to the senior ministry after six months in the planning portfolio.

Issues were raised by Lizzie’s appointment as Planning Minister around the potential for a conflict of interest due to her brother’s business. There were no actual allegations of impropriety, and the Urban Development Institute of Australia Victorian chief executive Matthew Kandelaars said he was confident Blandthorn could proceed with impartiality.

How will planning change during this term in government?

On December 5th, the State Government announced that the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) will be formed. It will be responsible for planning, land use, and consolidating precinct delivery and policy functions to put a stronger emphasis on place-based community outcomes. It will include the Victorian Government Architect, to improve project design, regulatory approvals, community consultation, and better realise local economic and community opportunities.

The Department of Transport and Planning will be led by Secretary Paul Younis, and support the following Ministers:

·        Minister for Planning Sonya Kilkenny

·        Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan (Coordinating Minister)

·        Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop Jacinta Allan

·        Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll

·        Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne

·        Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne