State govt releases Kwinana buffer plan

21/10/2015 - 15:04

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The state government has released plans to formalise a ‘protection area’ around the Western Trade Coast industrial area, pleasing existing industry but disappointing land developers.

The Western Trade Coast industrial area.

The state government has released plans to formalise a ‘protection area’ around the Western Trade Coast industrial area, pleasing existing industry but disappointing land developers.

The proposed buffer zone is designed to separate industrial and residential land uses, but has been challenged by land developers since being proposed in 2010.

The proposal includes amendments to the Hope Valley Wattleup Act and the Planning and Development Act to formalise the existing buffer as the ‘WTC Protection Area’, and regulations to set our classes of land use that would be prohibited within the area.

“This bill is intended to provide certainty for land use planning around the WTC area, which is a vital driver for the state’s economy,” Premier Colin Barnett said.

“It will also protect the WTC from encroaching residential development, and help to provide some separation between industrial activities and new ‘sensitive land uses’.”

The WTC comprises the Kwinana Industrial Area, Rockingham Industry Zone, Latitude 32 Industry Area, and the Australian Marine Complex.

There is no proposal to extend the protection area beyond the existing buffer (which has been contained in planning policy in varied forms since 1992), only to define the current buffer in legislation.

Planning Minister John Day said the proposed regulations would prevent new sensitive land uses like residential housing, short-stay accommodation, hospitals, schools and child care centres within the protection area.

“However, this proposal would still allow ‘non-sensitive land uses’ like business and commercial activities, and would only affect new developments rather than existing approved land uses,” he said.

"Following consultation, the WTC Protection Area will be formalised in legislation.”

The proposed regulations won’t affect current residents in the area.

Public opinion is being sought on the proposed changes, while the legislative amendments are expected to be introduced to state parliament early next year.

Kwinana Industries Council chief executive Chris Oughton welcomed the news that the legislation would be tabled in parliament.

“Having the buffer legislated means that there is certainty for industry, certainty for the developers and also certainty for the residential industry because they know if they are on the right side of the buffer then their health and amenity is protected,” Mr Oughton said.

He said land developers would likely oppose the legislation as they would want to have the defined land moved further westwards, meaning a contraction of the WTC area, especially in the Mandogalup area and the Rockingham Industrial Park area, where the city council wants to move the buffer further northwards. 

“I’m sure the land developers will put in a strong submission during the public comment period - as will we for support. We’re very strongly in support of the premier on this,” Mr Oughton said.

Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Debra Goostrey said the buffer has been contentious since the Western Australian Planning Commission resolved to amend it in 2010.

“This is a large buffer at about 1.5 kilometres, while waste water treatment plant or waste facility buffers are routinely less than 1km,” Ms Goostrey said.

“UDIA is concerned that the Environmental Protection Authority supports a precautionary approach across the board in relation to industrial buffers, recommending that ‘a precautionary approach where specific emissions sources are not yet known’.

“There needs to be incentives for emissions reduction and management on site rather than increasing buffers.

“UDIA will be preparing a submission as buffers are a key issue as Perth moves towards a population of 3.5 million.”

Lands Minister Terry Redman has previously labelled the WTC as one of Australia’s largest and most valuable stretches of integrated industrial land, with businesses within the area generating over $15 billion in annual sales and employing more than 11,000 people.

This issue has been covered in depth by Business News in the past. Here are some earlier stories on the matter.

https://www.businessnews.com.au/article/Housing-threat-to-Kwinana-industry

https://www.businessnews.com.au/article/Key-development-conflicts-flare-up

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