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Committee finds pain of clearing

THESE are case studies from the standing committee on Public Administration and Finance that is conducting an inquiry into the Impact of State Government Actions and Processes on the Use and Enjoyment of Freehold and Leasehold Land in Western Australia.

Robert Chester owns a farming property in the Shire of York and made an application to the Department of Agriculture to clear about 150 hectares in May 1992.

He was informed that he could not clear several areas because of on and off-site salinity and was told to refer the application or the department would put a soil conservation notice on the property.

After many months Mr Chester made enquiries and found a soil conservation notice had been put on the property. He was told he could not do anything about it and there was no compensation available.

Over this period Mr Chester sustained a serious injury and was unable to work. This put more pressure on him to increase the amount of land being farmed to cover the cost of employing someone to help.

After the soil conservation notice was put on the property Mr Chester continued to pay rates for two years.

Jill Trevenen was 61 when she started negotiations for the establishment of a wind farm on land she owns in Augusta.

She is now 73 and has no income with a significant property that she cannot get any access to.

Between 1995 and 2001 Ms Trevenen spent almost $50,000 on fees to town planners, consultants, engineers and surveyors.

The land in question is 60 acres of natural woodland on the Leeuwin Naturalist ridge and was identified as an ideal location for a renewable energy wind farm.

Ms Trevenen attended the workshops for the Leeuwin-Naturalist statement of planning policy. The report in relation to the statement of planning policy was published and its recommendations severely affected the potential use and plans for the property.

Ms Trevenen is claiming compensation for the current value of the land, the amount she has spent over the past 12 years and the loss of potential income from any development including the wind farm proposal.

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