THE Swan Valley Protection Bill 2016 introduced into State Parliament last week will preserve the valley’s attributes and ensure its sustainable growth, according to the Planning Minister.
But Opposition Planning spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said the Bill had created uncertainty and confusion about the future of the Swan Valley.
Ms Saffioti said one concern with the Bill was it showed the Swan Valley Planning Committee had not been replaced.
“The committee has significant local knowledge and expertise, and this is not being replaced with anything similar,’’ she said.
“Without a dedicated board or committee the many interests in the Swan Valley will not be properly represented,’’ she said.
On Thursday, August 25 after introducing the Bill Planning Minister Donna Faragher said the Liberal National Government recognised the importance of the Swan Valley and was committed to maintaining its rural, agricultural and tourism attributes.
“The Swan Valley is an important part of Perth’s natural and cultural landscape,’’ she said.
“This legislation provides a simpler framework for the regulation of development in the Swan Valley to more effectively protect the valley’s rural character.
“The Bill will give effect to the Swan Valley Development Plan, which can be used by developers and proponents when preparing applications.”
Mrs Faragher said the draft Swan Valley Development Plan had been released for public comment between October 2015 and February 2016 and submissions were now being considered by the Department of Planning.
“When finalised, the plan will guide the implementation of a strategic vision for land use in the Swan Valley.
“It will focus on providing a balance between maintaining the role of agriculture in the area and supporting the Swan Valley’s tourism industry.’’
Ms Saffioti welcomed the focus on maintaining the rural character of the Swan Valley but said the Bill relied on the Swan Valley Development Plan for the planning and development guidelines of the Swan Valley, which was still in draft form.
“Ideally the legislation and the Swan Valley Development Plan should have been considered concurrently.’’
Echo News understands the boundaries outlined in the Swan Valley Protection Bill are consistent with that established under the Swan Valley Planning Act 1995, except for a section of the southern boundary which has been modified slightly, to exclude a portion of industrial land near the intersection of Reid and Great Northern highways.
The Bill would have to pass both houses of Parliament before becoming law.