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The Truth Down Under

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
An national inquiry has found many town and city planners are leaving the profession because of workplace stress.
Where, you might ask?

United States? No.

Canada, eh? Nope.

India? Closer, but no. Thanks for playing.

Australia!!

Umm, Rem? Was there something you haven't been telling us in your recruitment efforts? 8-!
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
I've seen photographs of Australian "suburban" commercial districts. If that was what I had to deal with (mind you-these photos were from the posh part of Melbourne, South Yarra) everyday, I would quit, too.:)

Not that American cities are all much better, of course.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
It's true. I thought I had previously posted a link to the national inquiry by the Planning Institute of Australia into the problem of the supply of planners. Professional stress is a commonly identified problem. We also lose many competent planners to management positions in all levels of government (I am an example of this, though a little less on the competent side - can you say 'Peter Principle'). It is true we have created a system, particularly in the area of development control, that is mind numbingly difficult to work within. Every time there is an attempt to simplify the system (there is yet another program underway now) it becomes more complicated.

I don't think overall that planning is a more difficult task in Australia due to the nature of our Cities - it is possibly more difficult due to the administrative systems we have invented. We definitely have fewer urban environments though, and a career as a planner is more likely to concentrate on issues of towns and suburbia than City work - this may be another reason why some people leave the profession.

I still think there is a lot of scope for North American planners to be successful in Australia if you are prepared to take the risk. We certainly don't have the sort of professional stress encountered by Donk and Michaelskis from rabid townsfolk and Councillors. Developers can be unpleasant, money grubbing, amoral, turds in Australia but are not likely to threaten you with physical violence, follow you home, threaten your family etc. There was that one incident of a subdivision engineer being shot in Kalgoorlie a few years ago, but that really is the wild west, and he was an engineer (sorry engineers). Am I convincing anyone yet?
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
I took the immigration test for Australia a while ago and they told me I was not needed. :8: The lovely sound :8: of rejection :8:

Then again Steve Irwin didn't like the idea of chasing down a 9 foot tunafish;)
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
Hey, Austrailia has a test to immigrate? Cool! Is it online? What is the link bigfish?
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
el Guapo said:
Hey, Austrailia has a test to immigrate? Cool! Is it online? What is the link bigfish?
I'll have to did it up again. I remember I received an e-mail for it the other day, but I stumbled apon it a while back while looking into a move.

Where's one https://secure.migrationexpert.com/register_skilled_professionals.asp?fid=100036

Just google it and I'm sure you'll see all the other ones. I don't think they're taking anymore people that speak english anymore;)
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
Rumpy Tunanator said:
I took the immigration test for Australia a while ago and they told me I was not needed. :8: The lovely sound :8: of rejection :8:
Immigration is based on a points system. If you are young (you will pay taxes for a long time before you become a burden on the health system), have lots of money, have skills that are in short supply, have family already in Australia, speak English etc. you get points for each. If you have enough points - we let you in.

One of the key recommendations from the inquiry into the undersupply of planners is to add planning to the list of "Migration Occupations in Demand". This will boost the points a planner earns on their test and make it easier to immigrate.

Rumpy if you are interested in coming to Oz, please don't hesitate to ask for my assistance.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,699
Points
69
Rem said:
Immigration is based on a points system.
If there's such a high demand for urban planners, than why ...

Urban planner: 50 points
Hairdresser: 60 points
Cheesemaker: 60 points
Pastry cook: 60 points
Saw repairer: 60 points
Vehicle painter: 60 points

Good luck getting planning added to the list of occupations in demand.

Why do I get extra points if I have a college degree from a school whose primary language of instruction is NOT English?

95 points out of 115 needed to get in. Nope.
 

DA Monkey

Cyburbian
Messages
84
Points
4
The lack of planners has been a hot topic for some time here. I personally know of groups "headhunting" planners (having been in receipt of one or two) and some Councils advertising for months on end to fill positions.

I found this article and thought it might be interesting. Unfortunately the link to it is dead, so I have tried to paste it here as text. Apologies for the long content.

No planners, no grand design
By Bernard Lane, Urban affairs writer
February 07, 2004


IT is no surprise that Garth Seneque is in demand. As a planner in his native South Africa, he oversaw large, complicated projects such as new airports and petrochemical plants.

Quite apart from this, Australia is desperate for urban and regional planners, those often unsung officials who try to bring some order to the built fabric.

Yet Seneque has been unable to find the sort of interesting and comprehensive planning work he once did in South Africa.

He's had to rest content with "bread-and-butter stuff". Right now, for example, he's helping Mosman Council in Sydney with its development applications.

What he has seen of our planning system strikes him as fragmented. There is the familiar assessment work (new dwellings, for example, or renovations). There are various specialisations such as environmental or heritage work. What goes by the name of strategic planning is, in Seneque's opinion, the more mundane task of writing up basic planning documents. Each of these aspects of planning seems "hermetically sealed" from the others.

As for genuine integrated work - planning that descends from strategic thinking to technical detail - Seneque's conclusion is that not very much of it gets done in Australia.

"It's hard to see that there's a single coherent discipline," he says.

There would be Australian planners quick to disagree with him. But Seneque's story nonetheless illustrates two inter-related themes. There is a severe shortage of planners with more than a few years' experience. And there is discontent with the state of the planning system.

Academic Brendan Gleeson believes the significance of planners - and therefore the seriousness of their shortage - is easily overlooked.

"It's of such importance because planners really oil the wheels of the whole development machine," says Gleeson, professor at Griffith University's school of environmental planning in Brisbane. "We urgently need a federal interest in this - this is about the efficient and sustainable functioning of our cities."

The overwhelming view of those seeking planning approval - developers, for example, and architects - is that the system is partly to blame for the steep increase in house prices, according to the Productivity Commission in its recent draft report on housing affordability.

"Many architects reported that for some smaller projects it took two or three years to obtain approval for a building that took three to six months to construct," says a recent survey by advisory service Archicentre.

A block of land sold complete with development approval typically fetches 20 per cent more on the market - indirect evidence of the congestion in planning, according to the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
It's not only those doing business with councils who feel the effects of the planner shortage.

Under-strength and often inexperienced, the staff who remain in the planning department face demoralisation, which in turn leads to more departures.

Councils struggle to meet deadlines for deciding whether or not to approve development. They fall behind in revision of their basic planning documents. Inferior planning and bad decisions are more likely.

"We've had (development) booms before but we've never had such pressure on the planning profession," says Michael Papageorgiou, manager of strategic and environmental planning for Queensland's Gold Coast city council.
An unprecedented national inquiry for the Planning Institute of Australia suggests that 13 per cent to 19 per cent of planner positions have been vacant, some for as long as three years, according to institute chief executive Di Jay.

The inquiry's conclusions - the reasons for the shortage and its possible remedies - will be presented this month in Hobart at the institute's national conference, aptly titled Planning on the Edge.

What seems likely is that more councils will go overseas in their search for experienced staff.

Papageorgiou may look to New Zealand but says other former colonies - English-speaking and with a history of British planning principles - could be a source of adaptable recruits. "We're definitely going to start looking further overseas," says Luke Nicholls, assistant director of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils.

He says a senior planner can expect to earn $60,000-$70,000 a year: "We think that's competitive overseas."
Councils across the country may form a united front to pressure the federal Government for a change to the immigration system so foreign planners can advance in the queue. Gleeson says architects are in front at the moment, although the demand for them is nowhere near as strong.

Why the lack of home-grown planners with experience?

"I think it's the pressure on local councils - many (planners) can only take it so long," says Jenny Rudolph, who arrived from South Africa in 2000 and now works with the NSW Government's developer Landcom.
Many locals agree with her, including Gleeson. "Morale is a big one," he says.

It's not just the recent boom in building, according to those in the industry. What planners are expected to do appears to be both too prosaic and too demanding.

Some say that much development assessment is too routine to keep young planners satisfied. Papageorgiou says there are enough bright graduates emerging from planning school but wonders aloud: "Is doing DA work sexy?"

The sometimes hazy tasks of environmental, heritage and even social assessment have been added to traditional planning. These have enlarged the opportunities for conflict between developers, planning authorities and residents, already at odds over urban sprawl, medium-density and coastal strip development.

Some council planners burn out and drop out. Others step sideways into private consultancy or various public authorities. Still others are snapped up by development companies trying to negotiate the planning maze.
How to encourage planners back into the maze, that's the question.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
Dan said:
If there's such a high demand for urban planners, than why ...

Urban planner: 50 points
Governments move slowly on immigration in this country - it is a fraught political issue. Current policy on both sides (Liberal = Conservative and Labour = Small l liberal) is to cap migration at 80,000 per annum. There are those who want to keep everyone out and there is an unseemly element of racism pervading much of the debate.
Dan said:
Good luck getting planning added to the list of occupations in demand.
It is a recommendation from the inquiry I've been mentioning. Given the level of negotiation between our governments at present (free trade deal) maybe it would be opportune for the APA (what have the APA ever done for me tm) to make representations to the US government to get some pressure going both ways.

Dan said:
Why do I get extra points if I have a college degree from a school whose primary language of instruction is NOT English?
Not sure of the reason but it may be because you are likely to be bilingual. I understand you virtually have to be English speaking to get off first base.

Don't forget Canadians can work for limited periods without restriction and New Zealanders do not need to immigrate to work unrestricted in Australia.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Rem said:
Given the level of negotiation between our governments at present (free trade deal) maybe it would be opportune for the APA (what have the APA ever done for me tm) to make representations to the US government to get some pressure going both ways.
Oh great, now somebody at APA is going to start developing an Australian language web site to promote planning in Oz. B-)
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
Rem said:
.
Don't forget Canadians can work for limited periods without restriction and New Zealanders do not need to immigrate to work unrestricted in Australia.
What about British citizens? Is there any sort of clearance they need to work in Australia?
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
Plannerbabs said:
What about British citizens? Is there any sort of clearance they need to work in Australia?
Same as Canadian - you can work unrestricted for limited period (three months I think) without any special visa. My understanding is that Commonwealth countries generally enjoy more liberal, reciprocal, arrangements - other than NZ with whom we have a seamless labour arrangement.
 
Messages
4
Points
0
Dan said:
If there's such a high demand for urban planners, than why ...

Urban planner: 50 points
Hairdresser: 60 points
Cheesemaker: 60 points
Pastry cook: 60 points
Saw repairer: 60 points
Vehicle painter: 60 points

Good luck getting planning added to the list of occupations in demand.

Why do I get extra points if I have a college degree from a school whose primary language of instruction is NOT English?

95 points out of 115 needed to get in. Nope.
Qualified and experienced Planners, don't waste your time contacting money grabbing 'immigration consultants'. Check out the FAQ section at www.jobsinplanning.com.au, it says the Victorian Government will sponsor Planners for the necessary visa.

Q. Why does Victoria make it easier for Planners than the other States?

A. Because Victoria has the most complex planning scheme in Australia (and Melbourne has had 5 times more new property development than Sydney since the 2000 Olympics).
 
Messages
4
Points
0
Rem said:
Same as Canadian - you can work unrestricted for limited period (three months I think) without any special visa. My understanding is that Commonwealth countries generally enjoy more liberal, reciprocal, arrangements - other than NZ with whom we have a seamless labour arrangement.
You are thinking of the one year working visa. You have to be under 27 yo to get one.

I don't think the Aussie immigration dept looks more favourably on people from any particular country (although recent international cricket/rugby/netball/swimming etc scores may influence). When you are apply for permanent residency, it depends more on which 'official' deals with your case and which side of the bed they got out of that morning!

H.
 
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