A return to core values

What has happened to change the performance and outcomes from Mount Alexander Shire Council decisions of late? In 2008 we saw the increased corporatisation of our council and the service oriented culture gradually give way to a revenue-raising imperative that left residents, traders and community groups disadvantaged and a general degradation of community life.

In the last few months there seems to have been a return to core municipal values, as evidenced recently in the decision to go against planning department advice and refuse a permit for the construction of a house on land zoned for farming in Taradale ('VCAT upholds decision', Express, January 23).

Even though the granting of a permit would have resulted in more rates being collected from the property, the council prioritised the integrity of the planning rules and the need for our country to keep as much land 'under the plough' as possible.

I mean no criticism of the planning department, as in the past they have doubtless been forced to compromise good planning practices for revenue raising imperatives. They were probably blindsided by this renewed commitment to good planning practice.

We should all welcome the recent change to the culture at our shire council that puts quality of life ahead of money making. May it ever be so.