Friday, May 31, 2013

Decision on Princes Bridge made under a cloak of secrecy

Melbourne City Council Lord Mayor and Councillors failed to consult on the decision to close down a lane on princes Bridge.

Councillors Stephen Mayne, Jackie Watts and Richard Foster and the Greens claim to be advocates for open transparent government yet on this and many other issues issue they have failed to ensure decisions of council were made in open session.

Questions have been raised to the legality of the decision making process as decisions of Council are supposed to be made in open Council. It appears that controversial decisions are being made under delegation following consideration at closed session Councillor Forms, locking out members of the public, where councillors give a nod and a wink and the decision is made.
No opportunity for public comment on thee proposal which will see access to the city restricted.  Residents South of the Yarra who are effected the most were not consulted.

If the issue appears in the Council budget papers then it is assumed that approval has been given.

Act of bad faith - Council credibility with the community at an all time low.

The Council's budget papers indicated that the decision to build the bike lane was not possible before June 30 end of financial year.

Having deceived the public the Council held a serious of closed session and a decision has been made to announce the lane closure under the disguise of a "trial" . 

Just last week the City Council engineers, Haig Poulson and Geoff Robertson had met with representatives of the Motorcyclist and Scooter riders association to discuss the road safety issues that had not been addressed by the City Council. Motorcyclists and Scooter riders had been left out of the Council Transport Strategy plan.,  The Council gave an undertaking that it would develop a traffic strategy plan similar to the Council's Bike plane to look at issues of concern related to motorcycle scooter riders. In addition Haig Poulson undertook to before implementing any traffic engineering modification.  In less than two weeks the Council reneged on its undertaking and pushed ahead with the Princes Bridge proposal, a proposal that will impact on road users, motorcycle and scooter riders in particular.  Motorcycles safety is also at risk and they want equal access to many of the City's bike lanes that are underutilized and in many cases empty.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Doyle Trial by deception. Pushes ahead on Princes Bridge lane closure

Melbourne City Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, thumbed his nose at the community and has decided to push ahead with plans to remove traffic lanes on Princess Bridge to make way for bicycles.

Robert Doyle claims the proposal is a trail by city insiders know this is not the case

The City Council has been criticised by the RACV, business and residents alike with Residents' South of the Yarra complaining there were not been consulted .  South of the Yarra will be blocked-out from accessing the city as Princes Bridge is the MAIN access point to the City.

The number of cyclists using Princess Bridge is minimal and even less during during off-peak and the non summer periods.

Melbourne's bike paths have come under considerable community opposition.  It's bike madness.  The City of Melbourne is Engineering congestion.
The push for more bike paths in the City comes from City Engineers Geoff Robinson and Haig Poulson.

Last month the City Council had to defer it's Road Safety Plan following complaints by Melbourne's Motorcycle and Scooter riders that they were not consulted in the development of the Traffic management plan.

And it was not just Motorcyclist they were not consulted the City Engineer department also failed to consult Melbourne's Emergency services, Ambulance or Fire Brigade.  Questions are being asked what impact the lane closure will have on Ambulances accessing the City from the Alfred Hospital?

The proposed lane reduction on Princes has been opposed by the RACV, Motorcycle/Scooter riders, businesses and City residents who have called on the State Government to step in and assume management of the City's road infrastructure policy development and put a halt on the sheer madness that has engulf our city leaders.
The City Council is flushed with cash and the engineering department is keen to spend up big and issue contracts for expenditure that is not required.  

The Queensberry Street and LaTrobe Street bike paths are not working and the intersection of Latrobe Street and Queen Street is an accident waiting to happen.

You only have to travel down Queensberry Street and LaTrobe Street where the Council has spent over 2.6 Million Dollars constructing bike paths that service few bikes.  There is hardly a bike in sight on Queensberry Street yet the council has dedicated a full lane of traffic to bicycles generating congestion in the Street and beyond.

The City of Melbourne has proposed spending additional $300,000 in next years budget on a bike path in Neil Street Carlton. 

We contacted a number of Councillors today and asked them if they had been down Neil Street? They said they had not.  Had they done so they would see that there is no Bicycle traffic or significant car movements in Neil Street that warrants the construction of a $300,000 bike path.  Most bikes use Canning Street not Neil Street.

Robert Doyle is pandering to the wishes of a few at the expense of the majority and in the process demonstrating why he would not have been a good State leader.   

The Princes Bridge "Trial" and lane reduction is another chink in the Armour and is having a negative impact on City businesses .  City Commuters and business will pay the cost for the Council's engineered congestion,

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Coroner launches investigation on Wall collape

The Victorian Coroner's Court today launched its inquiry into the circumstances surround the March 28 Swantson Street Grocon Wall collapse.  Coroners' Court Judge Ian Gray, assisted by the Victorian Police, acknowledged the public interests in the inquiry and warned of procedural delay arsing from the potential for persecutions that may arise from independent inquiries undertaken by WorkSafe and the Building Commission. 

It may take up to two years or more to be concluded depending on the extent of any prosecutions that may be launched.

The Victorian Police are in the process of preparing a report for the Coroner focusing on the history of the site, the design and construction of the collapsed wall and the hoarding that was attached to the wall.  The Police report will also cover the regulatory requirements governing the building site and will be supported by expert evidence.

In attendance were representatives of the Building Commission, WorkSafe, Grocon, the City of Melbourne and the families of the victims of the accident.  The CFMEU has also sought leave to be represented in the hearing as their members and staff were employed on the construction site and also in attendance immeadiatly after the wall collapase.

The French Embassy also sent an observer but they will have no formal standing in the proceedings

Judge Ian Gray reserved his decision, subject to the tabling of the report from Victoria Police, on whether or not the CFMEU will be granted leave to appear

No date was set for the tabling of the Police report but the court is expected to convene again one month following the Police evidential report copies of which will be provided to all parties.

Given the close  association between the developer GroCon and the various government authorities representation by the CFMEU would assist in maintaining public confidence in Coronal review which is independent from Government

Police investigating why wall debris was removed from collapse site

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coroners mention hearing of Wall Deaths

Thursday 23 May 2013
Coroners Court of Victoria
Level 11, 222 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Court 1
Jones, A         COR 2013 001338
Fiawoo, M     COR 2013 001339
Jones, B          COR 2013 001368

Monday, May 20, 2013

Early days as Melbourne contemplates new planning regime come july 1

Melbourne City Council has been caught out and is not sure as to the impact Victoria's new planning scheme zones, announced on May 8, will have on Melbourne
On Tuesday May the 14th "Future Melbourne Committee" Anthony van der Craats, resident, asked the Committee a question in relation to the Minister for Planning’s recently announced changes to the Victorian Planning Scheme, which resulted in the abolition of Business 1 Zones, when will the City of Melbourne be undertaking a review of the [new] schemes?

In response to the question the Director City Planning and Infrastructure, Geoff Lawler advised that "it is very early days as the rezoning has just been announced. He is currently beginning to understand the process and will bring the information to Councillors once it is fully known"

In a further response to a [follow-up] question [as to when a report will be presented to an open public session of Council] , the Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle advised that as per the previous discussion regarding the zoning changes at the beginning of the meeting the matter will be brought before Council, but cannot guarantee it will be at the June Council meeting. Given the 1 July 2013  deadline the Council will be pressing to make sure this is as expeditious as possible 

Council better get it's act together no later than June if confidence in planning administration is to be maintained.

Under the new scheme Business 1 zones such as the Domain Rod precinct will become Commercial 1 zone with residents believing the zone should be a Mixed Use zone not Commercial 1.

The new planning regime starts July 1.  

Gambling with our future Planning

Gambling Awareness Week

In 1995, on 3LO Jon Faine's program, I campaigned for Gaming venues to be subject to a planning permit.   Amusement Parlours required a planning permit but not gaming venues.

The Gaming industry was quick to reject and deflect the need for Gaming venues to require a planning permit.  At the time all you needed was a Fully Licensed venue and the approval of either the TAB or Tattersalls. 

11 years later in 2006 the Bracks/Brumby Government introduced a planning permit for gaming venues.  Whilst planning permits for gaming venues is now in place the system is still in need to review and more regulations and controls.  In 1995 you could turn a licensed restaurant into a gaming venue.  The same applies today.  Under the new planning system introduced by the Napthine Liberal Government Gaming venues an be established in the new "Commercial 1" zones an application for a change of use is all that is required.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Linking Melbourne: Pipe Dream or Tunnel to the future

The often talked about, Melbourne Metro underground extension is one of those top end pipe dream infrastructure projects that should help transport Melbourne into the future.

The project is estimated to costs anywhere between 9 to 12 billion dollars and will link South Yarra to Kensington via the Domain. CDB and Parkville

With big ticket items comes big planning and infrastructure expenditure.

The Federal Labor Government has indicated support for the project which is yet to receive commitment for State government funding beyond planning and initial design

The project is it proceeds will involve an estimated one year disruption to Swanston Street trashing the $25.6 Million that the City of Melbourne has spent over the last year  not to mention the money spent on upgrading the Domain interchange.

 With the project comes opportunity for better services and integrated planning.  The owners of the Swanston Street CUB site should be planing to allow for integration of the proposed North Metro station providing direct access into their development  with the possibility of additional below ground shops.  the more we can integrate public infrastructure into retail shopping the better off both will be.  Similar opportunities exist in developing the Flinders Street station and its integration with Federation Square

Missing from the bigger picture is how the long talked about Eastern Freeway corridor rail line will interface into the new network if at all.  And which route the long waited Airport rail link will take.  This tunnel could be a busy rail hub after all.  We just hope they have got the planning it right this time unlike the lack of long term planning when they built the Melbourne underground rail loop .

The other issue effecting our rail network is the removal of level crossings. Crossings that limit the number and frequency of trains in Melbourne.  The impact that level crossing have to the overall performance and functioning of Melbourne transport system can not be overstated.  These projects also should be on the drawing board and private investment funding sought. There is an opportunity here to integrated commercial shopping centres into new underground passage and freeing up of land utilization.

Visionaries, like Darebin's Mayor Tim Lawrence, are keen for State Government to invest in outer Melbourne's future by supporting redevelopment along the Bell Street corridors.  If this was attended to then a large tracks of road and rail development and commercial infrastructure could  be freed up to help stem the pressure on Melbourne's ever expanding  urban sprawl and road network congestion.   Similar opportunities exist on the Dandenong-Frankston lines. Removing level crossings on major roads should be given equal if not higher priority.  Local Councils should be allowed to independently pursue redevelopment finance proposals to remove level crossings capitalizing on the land, rail and commercial development integration to the benefit of their local communities.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Doyle pushes for Princes Bridge lane closure

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and the City of Melbourne plans to push ahead with the proposal to reduce traffic lanes in Princess Bridge to allow for the creation of a bike lane amidst opposition from  road users and the local community.

A reported 27,000 motorists use Princes Bridge to access the city a day .  The proposal is to reduced the number of car lanes from two in each direction to just a single lane to create a dedicated bike lane catering for less than 2000 bicyclists.

The Council's claim to have consulted with stakeholders is false. The Council had consulted with bicycle riders, Vicroads and the RACV but has failed to consult with Motorcyclists, Scooter riders or local residents in South Bank or South Yarra.

Most traffic crossing Princes Bridge heading into the city turn right into Flinders Street and head east and also travel in the reverse direction when existing the city.

The proposed lane closure is expected to increase congestion in the city. The Flinders' Street/Princess Bridge route is the only route that provides vehicle access to the South Yarra precinct.   Morall's Bridge to the East which has been closed to vehicular traffic, is for pedestrians and bicyclist only.  The only other nearest means of crossing the Yarra into the City is along Alexander Parade/Swan Street Bride and the Batman Ave. Tollway that travels next to the Tennis Centre and into Exhibition Street.

Alexander Parade/Swan Street Bridge option is already congested with traffic backing up at Swan Street bridge as far back as Princess bridge and the Arts Centre  in peak hour traffic with little easing during the day.   This rout can not absorb any overflow created by Lane closure on Princes Bridge

The other option is for Motorists to travel down South Bank Boulevard around the Casino tuning left at Power Street and across into William Street or turn right and then along Queens Street.  Both of these options will increase travel time for motorists by 20 minutes and further add to city congestion.

The Council could look at constructing an new bridge linking Linlithgow Avenue to Batman Avenue but that would costs Millions of dollars. 

Transport Minister Terry Mulder says VicRoads has jurisdiction over the project.
“VicRoads would have to be consulted for any work that was to be undertaken on that bridge and any impact it would have on the broader road network,” Mr Mulder said.

Last month on 3AW Neil Mitchel Denis Napthine, Victoria's  Premier, claimed that VicRoads had not signed off on the project.

Opposition spokesperson on Road, Luke Donnellan has also expressed concern over the proposed lane closure.  "The City of Melbourne must put in place alternative routes and measures before it can close down traffic on the bridge. All other options must be considered first.

Melbourne City Councillor Richard Foster echoing the views express by Luke Donnellan has called on the City of Melbourne to implement better line marking and bike path delineation before reducing traffic access to the City.

The City of Melbourne must rethink its proposed lane closure and consult more widely or run teh risk of a community backlash,.  South Yarra residents, who were not consulted, have expressed opposition to the proposal .  Residents are calling on Local State member and former deputy Lord Mayor,  Clem Newton-Brown to put a halt to the project and engaged in more consultation and consider alternative options.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Robert Doyle and Council vote on proposed budget increase in fees and rates

Robert Doyle in summing up the presentation of the City of Melbourne 2013-14 budget had a dig at Collins Street Traders by saying...

"Council is actually here [Council Meeting held on Thursday May 9] on both items [4 yr Plan and Council Budget] giving approval for public notice rather than giving approval or substantive debate of content because this is a work in progress we now send this process out for further comment from the public"
"We are starting to get comment already... I remind Councillors that those very people who criticise elements of the budget, like a small rise in parking fees of a dollar fifty, are the very people who at other times of the year are exhorting us to spend more on Christmas decorations, more on cleaning the City and beatifying streets, such as in Collins Street and that is one of the things for me [Robert Doyle] difficult to understand."
"The amount we are raising, and I will ask the public to think about that, through the increases in parking and increases in rates equates to about 14 Million dollars. I often say to people in the consultation period what would you cut out."
"That adds up to our entire Arts and Cultural budget. We could do none of that, if you like, but I do not think that will be the right answer. "
"It is a work in progress but I like to think pretty much of our work is done. I can not see us after consultation going back to first principles"

Councillor Stephen Mayne (In closing)

"It is open to councillors and everyone else to suggest changes or updates to the budget, for instance the 149 births at docklands where we mention zero rent ... where many were packaged up with apartments by VicUrban"... "from 2025 we will be able to extract rent for those births".. :"It is all about providing information in its correct context."
"It is up to everyone to make submissions and suggestions."


The Melbourne City Council audio recording of the meeting has been edited and a section deleted removing comments made by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle just prior to the taking of the vote and the closing of the meeting. (Listen from the end of Stephen Mayne's Speech 1 min before recording end)

Have your say

Submissions are welcome on the draft Annual Plan and Budget 2013-14. 

The detail of what we will do and how we will fund our activities is agreed each year in the Annual Plan and Budget.

The draft Annual Plan and Budget 2013-14 is now out for statutory consultation.

Council’s Future Melbourne Committee will consider any written submission received on or before Friday 7 June 2013, at a meeting to be held on Tuesday 18 June 2013 at 5.30pm in the Council Meeting Room, level two, Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston Street, Melbourne.

If a person wishes to be heard in support of their submission they must include the request to be heard in the submission and this will entitle them to appear in person or by a person acting on their behalf before the meeting of the Committee.

The postal address for written submissions is:
Manager Governance Services
City of Melbourne
GPO Box 1603
Melbourne VIC 3001

$300,000 for bike lanes in Neil Street Carlton

The City of Melbourne will spend $300,000 creating bike lane separation in Neil Street Carton.

Neil Street is not a major bike pathway  or a though-fare. Less than 100 bikes a day would use this Street. Most bikes travel down Canning Street, Carlton and through the Carlton Gardens not Neil Street.

Robert Doyle: What would you remove from the budget?

Melbourne's Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, at last night's Special Council meeting, asked "what would you remove from the Council's budget to save money?"

Listen here (15min)

I would scrape the Lord Mayor's Limo (Something Robert said he would do but hasn't)

They could also scrape Lord Mayor's Free Booze Bar, Free Councillor Car Parking and Staff Overseas Junkets.
"There is a $10.5 million shortfall in parking revenue basically caused by compliance, people are following the rules so our projected fines did not reach what we thought we were going to get,''  - Robert Doyle

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Council's Embarrassing Moment as it slugs ratepayers and City commuters

The Melbourne City Council has published its four year plan and 2013-1014 budget.  In an embarrassing oversight the Council nearly passed a recommendation approving the wrong City plan.

The recommendation outlined in the notice paper listed

Recommendation from management
8. That Council:
8.1.approves the draft Council Plan 2009–13
for release for public notice (Notice)
from 10 May to 7June 2013
Should have been the 2013-2017 draft Council plan

Thankfully a member of the public altered the Council to the administrative oversight and the Council was able to amend the recommendation before it was too late.  Had they not  done so they would have had to convene another meeting to pass the correct motion, costing ratepayers 10s of thousands of dollars.
As much as I would have been amused I could not sit by watch such a blatant oversight go unnoticed.  That's our Council administration for you.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

City of Melbourne denies any responsibility for permits to construct a hoarding

In a surprised turn around the City of Melbourne has come out and denied that it has any responsibility to issue permits for hoardings on private property.

Previously the City of Melbourne had stated:
We can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.
There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

A CMP (Construction Management Plan) does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.
Developers, builders and owners along with lawyers will have a field day with this one. Anarchy reigns in Melbourne's Streets  I wonder what the Coroner and the Work Safety inquiries will make of this one.  

 The City of Melbourne has a permit application for hoardings which comes with a fee for service. They have published a full list of permits required and a hoarding, fence and advertising sign is on the list which is also included in the

City of Melbourne Local Law 2009.

Part 7 BUILDING STANDARDS Compliance with Code
Part 13 PERMITS When is a permit required under this Local Law?

What the response from the City of Melbourne (published below) failed to mention or make clear was that under the local law a hoarding (Both on public land and on private land) must comply with the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan and the relevant design standards related to height and wind loading  The code of practice, (1.4) which is referenced in the City of Melbourne Local Law, stipulates a maximum height of 2.4m and ability to withstand wind loads to AS1170.2 standards

Under the the Code of Practice
Item 2. Definitions ... "Hoarding" means "a high temporary fence or structure enclosing a demolition site or a building site during building works, to restrict access and provide side protection to the public"
Item 4. Hoardings

4.1 ... Hoarding screens must be constructed of closely boarded timber or plywood between 1.8m to 2.4m in height to secure a building site and form a barrier against noise, dust and debris.
... Hoardings are to be designed to withstand wind loads to AS 1170.2 with counterweights as necessary to prevent overturning. In addition hoardings adjoining excavations are to be designed to withstand a lateral line load of 0.75 kN/m applied at a height of 1 metre from the base and suitably guarded by barriers to prevent vehicular impact.
With all the word games and "intricate interconnect overlap and complexities" that surround this issue there is a clear need for the City of Melbourne to undertake an independent review of the legislative provisions governing public safety on building sites and the City Council.

This should be done as a matter of urgency and without delay or waiting pending the outcome of the Coroner's report or other investigations that are currently underway in relation to the March 28 Swanston Street Wall Collapse. It will have to be done eventually,. The sooner they start the better

Council response dated: Tuesday, 7 May 2013 12:08 

I refer to the Future Melbourne Committee Meeting of 15 April 2013 – Question without Notice in relation to 555-591 Swanston Street and 2-76 Bouverie Street, Carlton and provide the following response.


“Did the City of Melbourne issue a permit for the construction of the new hoarding on the CUB Swanston Square project site?  The height being significantly taller than the 2.4m maximum permitted height pursuant to the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan Guidelines.

Has the City of Melbourne inspected the site since the new hoarding was constructed?  If not, why not?”


No permit has been issued for the construction of a hoarding.

The temporary fence/hoarding is located on private property.  In this instance a permit is not required under the Activities Local Law 2009.

The structure is also exempt from a building permit under the Building Regulations 2006
(Sch. 8).

The structure satisfies Element 1, Item 1.5 of the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan Guidelines as:
It is a solid barrier
The barrier prevents viewing; and
The barrier should restrict unauthorised entry

It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the structure is designed, installed and maintained in accordance with engineering principles and must satisfy any relevant standards.

City of Melbourne officers attended the site shortly after the barrier was erected.

Angela Meinke | Manager Planning and Building | City Planning and Infrastructure
City of Melbourne | Council House 2, 240 Little Collins Street Melbourne 3000 | GPO Box 1603 Melbourne 3001
T: 03 9658 8400 | M: 0429 502 043 | F: 03 9658 9891
| | |

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Disaster! What the New Planning Zones will mean for Melbourne

"The Victorian government’s proposed new planning zones are the most radical review of planning schemes in the history of Victorian planning. They will lead to fundamental changes in the way Melbourne operates, change the fabric of the city and its hinterland, and remove an extensive range of existing citizen rights. Everyone will be affected".  - Prof. Michael Buxton


Business 1 Zones to be transferred to new Commercial 1 zoning with "As of right use" and removal of height limits 

The Commercial Zone 1 replaces the existing Business 1, 2 and 5 Zones and is designed to create vibrant mixed use commercial centres for retail, office business and higher density residential growth. 

Ministers Press Release

Melbourne's Planning Scheme is already in disarray. Inner urban residential amenity is being corroded and removed by inappropriate development. Public confidence in the City Council's Planning and Engineering Services Departments is at an all time low. Car Parking exemptions for licenses premises are not assessed on a basis of any benefit to the community or local amenity. The Council is not collecting contributions for car park exemptions and the system is wide open to corruption in order to secure a favourable recommendation.  Come July 1 things will only get worst as height limits removed and "right of use" without a permit begins to take hold. in what will be a free for all planning regime where the developer rules and teh community's needs ignored. Along with the removal of restrictions we will see a noticeable decline in the quality of design.

Monday, May 06, 2013


Have you recently completed an English language test?

By Thomas on 6 May 2013 3:11pm, 

Calling all students

Have you recently completed an English language test?

If so, we’d like to hear from you.

Fill in our short survey and let us know about your recent experience with English language tests. You can find the survey here  If you have any difficulties with the link please copy and paste it into your web browser.

Your feedback is important to us and will help inform the department’s review of its expanded English language testing arrangements for students.

The survey will remain open until 5pm AEST 20 May 2013.

Thank you

ABC Error in Reporting on Council's Press Release on Wall Collapse

The ABC, following a complaint in relation to an article on the Wall collapse in Swanston Street, reported that the City of Melbourne was not required to issue a permit for the hoarding.  The ABC reporter was wrong.

ABC's response to the complaint
ABC News acknowledges the reporter misinterpreted the press release issued by the City of Melbourne and consequently inadvertently misrepresented the council’s position.

News advise that the release came after several days of phone calls by the reporter to the City of Melbourne asking about whether or not a council permit was required and, if so, whether one was issued. She was told by council officers that the situation regarding permits was confused as there were a number of different authorities involved. The confusion was compounded by the press release, which was not received until late in the day. On reading the release she came to the conclusion that it was indicating that the council did not need to issue a permit.

ABC News apologises for the error. The story has been corrected and an editor’s note attached.
The City of Melbourne Press release did not state that the Council "did not need to issue a permit" to the contrary it stated that 
We can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.  
There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.
A CMP (Construction Management Plan) does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.
The City of Melbourne's responsibility of the subject of a number of inquiries including the Coroner, Work Safety and the Building Commission.  The Council has refused to undertake an independent inquiry into its responsibility on the administration of public safety, it's Local laws and liability

Friday, May 03, 2013

Flaw in ABC Antony Green's Election Calculator

There is a noticeable flaw in ABC Anthony Green's Election Calculator in that he has awarded the seat of Melbourne to the Greens based on the Essential Research quarterly state poll

The Greens only won Melbourne in 2010 because the Liberal Party at the time preferenced them ahead of the ALP. A mistake they are unlikely repeat in September.

In 2010 the State Liberal party fearing a backlash from its supporters placed the Greens below the ALP this allowed then State ALP member Browyn Pike to hold on to the State Seat of Melbourne.

Without LNP preferences the the only way the Greens can hold on to the Seat of Melbourne is if ALP endorsed candidate Cath Bowtell polls third below the Greens and the Liberal Party after distribution of minor party candidates preferences. in which case Cath Bowtell's preferences will elect Adam Brandt.

LNP supporters will be conscious of this potential outcome and we will most likely see a repeat of the State By-election where LNP voters will fall behind Cath Bowtell in order to prevent the Greens from being re-elected.

All recent  polls including the Essential Research Poll are showing a Statewide drop in Greens support which lends even more to the flaws in Antony Greens Calculations. You can not apply a statewide swing overall to a specific seat such as Melbourne where the 2PP contest is not between the LNP and the ALP.

UPDATE:  It is clear that Antony Green has hard coded in the defeat of  Independent seats as shown by this scenario on his calculator

Australian Telco's institutional policy rips-off Millions of dollars from consumers.

The scam goes like this...  you subscribe to a mobile telephone plan that includes a 5Gb per month  data usage. The monthly anniversary is, say, on the 15th of each month. You exceed your data usage on the 10 of the month and purchase an additional  top-up allocation  of 1 to 5 Gb which expires on the 10th of the following month.

On the 15th you have only used a proportion of your top-up allocation when you then regain a new 5Gb data entitlement as part of your normal monthly contract.  Your account shows now shows you have 4 Gb left from your top-up, which expires on the 10th of the next month plus a new allocation of 5Gb which expires on the 15th of the next month.

Now here is where the rip-off begins to occur. 

The Telco provider, In my case DODO but the scam applies equally to all Telcos, deducts your data consumption from your standard 5Gb allocation (Expiry date 15th) but you use up the 5GB  again on the 10th of the following month only to find that your 4GB that you had purchased and remained unused has expired and is no longer available.  You are forced into buying a new data-top-up. Had the Telco deducted your consumption for the account that expired first (FIFO) you would still have 4Gb to use prior to your next monthly anniversary of your account.

I asked my provider why they deducted my data consumption from my normal allocation which expires on the 15th of the month  and not the data allocation that expires earlier on the 10th? 

In discussion of this issue with Peter (Undisclosed surname) , Disputes Resolution Officer with Dodo Australia Pty Ltd, Peter indicated that the deduction of data from the Monthly allocation in priority of the top-up package is a deliberate corporate policy. Designed of course to force you into buying more data-top up packages. 

Millions of dollars rip=off Australian consumers as a result

If you multiply this scam by millions of account holders, and remember this does not just apply to DODO but also to other telco providers, the amount ripped off from Australian consumers adds up to millions of dollars.  This in my view is unconscionable.  Peter from DODO said it was unethical but not unconscionable.

DODO offered to provide a "bonus $5.00 1GB of data in compensation".   Problem is this offer is useless as the data would expire prior to the expiration of my next monthly data allowance and I would not benefit from it. 

Peters reply "if I did not like it then I can cancel my account".  Why should I?  In all other aspects I am happy with the service.  It's just the policy of deducting my data consumption from the wrong account in the wrong order.

The issue is not about the five or twenty dollars spent on buying additional data allocation, it is the principle of consumer fairness. The Telcos should be deducting data consumption from whichever account allocation expires first. (FIFO)

I wait with interest to see if the Telecommuncations Ombudsman is capable of addressing this issue.   If not this may require a class action law suit before the rip-off, costing Australian consumers Millions of dollars, is addressed.  

A link to this post has been sent to the Stephen Conroy and Opposition Spokesperson Malcolm Turnbul.