Rates waived for grassland owners

The following article appeared in the Geelong Advertiser after I received a call from them. Whilst we disagree with most of the sentiments and opinions stated in the article, there is certainly more that can be done other than “watch the grasses grow”, as they have stated.

Matthew Guy has yet to respond to our request for intervention.

It’s funny how the Council is prepared to spend $76,000 in a voluntary buy out scheme to buy over 100 acres of land at rock bottom prices. Yet, if they were to rezone it as residential, the land would then be valued at a more realistic figure of $127M (at $150k per block). With the land revalued at residential rates, the rate revenue to the council would be in excess of $600K per year. Seems odd that they would turn down this revenue especially when they are facing budget constraints and despite there being no fundamental problems with the land as a residential development site.

Rates waived for grassland owners

17 May 2013
Geelong Advertiser
SHANE FOWLES shane.fowles@news.com.au

THEY may have lost the decadeslong war, but New Corio Estate landowners have won a consolation battle.

The owners, who have battled in vain to have their property rezoned for development, will have all of their rates waived by the city council this year as a goodwill gesture.

Any hope those holding blocks in the 847-lot area either side of Shell Parade had was extinguished in January, when the council decided to quarantine the site under laws designed to protect native grasslands.

While the the area was deemed invalid for subdivision in 1980, owners in the farming zone had continued to fight for the right to build homes before the conservation initiative was approved last month.

Councillors have been sympathetic, with Cr Bruce Harwood noting: ‘‘There is virtually nothing they (landowners) can do with their property, other than to watch the grasses grow.’’

The council has annually issued rates notices to the owners while pursuing a buy-out scheme.

It is revealed in the 2013-14 draft Budget that the council will declare a total waiver of general rates and municipal charge for the privately owned properties.

Joe Cotroneo, secretary of the New Corio Independent Land Owners Group, said the move would save the average landowner around $80-90.

‘‘It’s not much but it does help,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know if it’s an attempt to keep us quiet or if it’s a genuine effort to make amends.’’

Mr Cotroneo said the group had appealed for Planning Minister Matthew Guy to intervene and was awaiting a response.

The council has allocated $76,000 for the voluntary buy-out scheme in 2013-14.”

New Corio Estate buy-back story featured on 7 News 3-Feb-2013

Our story was featured on 7 News last night, it was only a very brief 30 seconds, but hopefully it helps raise more awareness.


Corio Land Buy Back Anger – 7 News 3-Feb-2013 from New Corio Land Owners Group on Vimeo.

Block Shock – New Corio Estate story featured on front page of Geelong Advertiser

The online version can be read here, Fury over $3000 buy-back to save grass.

Fury over $3000 buy-back to save grass

Fury over $3000 buy-back to save grass

Fury over scheme to save grass

Letters from New Corio Land Owners supporting our committee’s actions

We recently contacted New Corio land owners requesting their support to co-operate together to help resolve the long standing issue of not being able to utilise our land or realise an equitable return on our investment. Below is an image of some of the letters of support we have received so far. Of all the responses received to date, all were in favour of the committee acting on their behalf.

Letters from New Corio land owners in support of the committee

This is a positive sign that we are gaining momentum and we look forward to working together.

Notice of Request for Disclosure re: Planning Amendment C243

To: strategicplanning@geelongcity.vic.gov.au, councillor@geelongcity.vic.gov.au, mayor@geelongcity.vic.gov.au
CC: john.eren@parliament.vic.gov.au, jaala.pulford@parliament.vic.gov.au, “New Corio Land Owners Group”

Notice of Request for Disclosure

29 August 2012

To: City of Greater Geelong (COGG)

This notice is in response to the Planning Amendment C243 Panel Report published on 6 August 2012.

Not all of the information pertaining to the GREP Native Vegetation Plan 2011 report published by Ecology Partners in February 2011 [1] has been made available
to the public in regards to Planning Amendment C243.

The Ecology Partners report [1] does not specify the location or number of endangered species of flora or fauna that were allegedly detected within the New Corio Estate. Despite this, Mr Mark Stockdale claims the following (in section 2.2 the Panel Report [2]) as evidence:

“The presence of two national (Spiny Rice-flower, Large Headed Fireweed) and one state (Rye Beetle-grass) listed flora species.”

The following references are cited in the Ecology Partners report, yet they are unpublished and have not been made available to the public. Please disclose the following information to the public so that it can be reviewed within a reasonable time frame.

1. Please provide full copies of the following unpublished reports as cited in the Ecology Partners report [1].
* Ecology Partners 2010. Net Gain Assessment of Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct. Unpublished report to the City of Greater Geelong.
* Ecology Partners 2011. General Fauna Assessment and Targeted Golden Sun Moth Survey, Lara. Unpublished report to the City of Greater Geelong.
* MWH 2007. ‘Flora, Fauna and Net Gain Assessment of Council Land’. Unpublished report to the City of Greater Geelong, MWH Pty Ltd.
* Earth Tech 2005. ‘Proposed Industrial Development, O’Brien’s Road, Lara – Flora and Fauna Assessment’. Unpublished report to the City of Greater Geelong, Earth Tech Pty Ltd.
* Ecology Partners 2010. Vegetation Assessment of 240 Heales Road, Lara. Unpublished report to the City of Greater Geelong.
* Ecology Partners 2010. Vegetation Assessment of O’Briens Road, Lara. Unpublished report to the City of Greater Geelong.

2. The date of when a decision is expected to be made by COGG regarding Amendment C243.
3. What is the stated intention of COGG in respect to the land within the New Corio Estate.
4. The amount of time the public has to respond, once a decision has been made regarding Amendment C243.

1. Native Vegetation Precinct Plan, Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct. February 2011. Ecology Partners Pty Ltd.

2. Panel Report pursuant to Sections 153 and 155 of the Act Amendment C243 to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme

Please reply within 14 days of this notice.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Yours sincerely,

Joe Cotroneo
Acting Secretary
New Corio Land Owners Group
[info at newcoriolog dot net]

19-Aug-2012 – A public meeting was held to reconnect with fellow land owners in the New Corio Estate.

We had approximately 40 people attend todays public meeting to express and discuss our concerns with local councillor Cameron Grange of the Windemere Ward.

It was a great turnout, many thanks to all who organised and attended the event.

Jason Taleb was nominated as Chairperson, and Joe Cotroneo volunteered to setup and manage this website.

We will conduct our first committee meeting as soon as possible to formalise a structure and the roles of each committee member.