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THE property development industry is watching carefully which way the Western Australian Government will move in regards to implementing the concept of an urban growth boundary.

In the recent ‘Dialogue with the City’ planning forum more than 70 per cent of delegates wanted the Government to limit further urban sprawl by setting an urban growth boundary.

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Alannah MacTiernan said while the current Metropolitan Region Scheme already set limits for growth, any implementation of an urban growth boundary would focus on what development occurred within the boundary, rather than drawing a line after which no development could occur.

Ms MacTiernan said if any boundary was implemented it would accommodate for future growth and entail a far more holistic and strategic approach by government to guide development occurring within that boundary.

She said Perth’s growth for the next couple of years would be satisfied by land that had already been identified for development.

“If all you do is draw a boundary, the pressure for land would become too great and it (the boundary) would have to open up,” Ms MacTiernan said.

If an urban growth boundary were to be implemented more urban infill along corridors and more development around old town centres would be required.

Ms MacTiernan said zoning alone would not ensure successful planning outcomes and that a more active and dynamic government was needed, which could mean the creation of more development authorities.

A Department of Planning and Infrastructure steering group is currently being established to examine the main issues that arose from the planning forum over the next six months.

In terms of determining where the growth boundary would sit, Ms MacTiernan said any final decision would involve the private sector, local government and other stakeholders.

According to Housing Industry Association executive director John Dastlik, the entire planning structure of the metropolitan region would need to change if a boundary was implemented.

He said planning schemes across the many local governments in Perth would have to be standardised so that developers were not burdened by unrealistic restrictions.

Australand general manager Chris Lewis also agreed that the success of an urban growth boundary would hinge on the cooperation of local councils to make it work.

“There would need to be a cultural change in many of the elected members mindsets,” he said.

Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA) president Colin Evans said the practicalities of an urban growth boundary were perhaps an unrealistic objective given a recent government survey revealed that most people wanted to live within eight kilometres of the coast.

He said transport corridors were also located close to the coast, where development was desired.

“This means that there will be continued pressure for urban sprawl up and down the coast,” Mr Evans said.

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