Residents sceptical about review promise

11 May, 2005 08:45 PM

A REVIEW of landowner submissions could lead to a reduction in the amount of land reserved for regional open space (ROS) within the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme, according to Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

"There will be further consideration of submissions made by landowners to determine whether we may be able to reduce the amount of land reserved for ROS," Ms MacTiernan said.

"The government will not finalise the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme until these matters have been fully considered over the next month."

Ms MacTiernan said she had committed to completing a review arising from the Dialogue with Bunbury public forum.

"It was not the purpose of the forum to change any areas of the scheme," she said.

"The aim was to find out the extent to which the residents of Greater Bunbury wanted to conserve land, and if so, how."

The minister said that the Tuart Forrest Stirling block and National Park Ludlow sites, and the Maidens/Shearwater, Bunbury coast, South Dalyellup and Muddy Lakes sites were the areas of most concern for residents.

However landowners argue they do not disagree with crown/public land being zoned as ROS, and it was only the private lands that could in the future be reclaimed by the crown they were fighting for.

Fiona Forrest attended the dialogue with her husband David and father in law Jim, the family affected by ROS zoning on their coastal dairy farm.

"Most people thought the ROS was great on crown land, but they should remove the zoning from private land," Ms Forrest said.

"Muddy Lakes is the only one of those sites that has private farming land involved."

She said landowners supported the retention of ROS zoning on sites such as the Tuart Forrest, but questioned the amount of land that the government could reclaim as crown land under the scheme.

"The Tuart Forrest is poorly looked after now, and we certainly agree with it being zoned as ROS for its protection," she said.

"But they aren't looking after the land they have now, how are they going to manage the amount of land they are claiming under the scheme?"

She said the dialogue was not structured in a way that allowed landowners sufficient time or voice.

"It was frustrating we didn't get the chance to ask that many questions, and many people didn't even get a chance at all," Ms Forrest said.

"Alannah has been saying in the media that people overwhelmingly supported regional open space, but she didn't ask that question."

Ms Forrest said she believed people should have initially been asked two specific questions, before any other statements were made.

"Initially they should have asked, do people support the idea of ROS as a broad based planning scheme?" she said.

"Secondly they should have been asked, do you support ROS on private land?

"If they had asked those two questions then they could have asked which three sites people thought should contain ROS."

Ms Forrest said she and her family would love to believe that the WA Government was going to review the GBRS, but unfortunately was not optimistic about it.

"That is very hard to believe, after five years of going through what we have been through," she said.



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