Wednesday 29 November 2006


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - My question is to the Leader. Firstly, in view of concern being expressed by residents in my electorate of Rosevears over building homes on smaller blocks, is the State Government confident that the local government planning process is working appropriately in rural areas? Secondly, does the Government believe there is enough flexibility for appropriate decisions about building applications in zones such as that to be classified as rural resource by the West Tamar Council?
Mr PARKINSON - It is assumed that the honourable member is referring to an article in last Saturday's Examiner, 25 November 2006 -
Mr Finch - Well, I am not. I had actually had a lot of phone calls from people before then.
Mr PARKINSON - which reported that the draft West Tamar Planning Scheme has caused uproar among rural land-holders who would no longer be able to build houses on their properties. The article appears to refer to provisions in the draft West Tamar Planning Scheme that restrict residential development on lots smaller than 50 hectares in the rural resource zone.
The draft scheme says that the objective of the rural resource zone is to ensure that animal and crop production has priority in accessing agricultural land and is not fettered by the existence of activities that are not directly dependent on the soil resource. Within this context a dwelling on land greater than 50 hectares would be a permitted use and on less than this size would be discretionary use and subject to various conditions. The draft scheme is currently on public exhibition which provides the opportunity for members of the community to make comment.
The West Tamar Council will need to consider all the comments received and report to the Resource Planning and Development Commission on how it suggests they should be responded to. This process also allows council the opportunity to review its own position on the provisions of its draft planning scheme in relation to those matters raised by the public's comments. Issues regarding the provisions of the draft planning scheme will be heard by the commission in public hearings following the public exhibition period which is due to close on 15 December 2006. The RPDC is the independent statutory body charged with the responsibility to consider these matters and it is inappropriate to pre-empt decisions of the commission regarding dwellings in the rural resource zone or any other matter.