A PETITION will be presented to State Parliament requesting Planning Minister Rita Saffioti reconsider her decision to revoke planning approval to rezone Wilkins Road in Kalamunda, which would have paved the way for an aged care development.
East Metropolitan MLC Donna Faragher, who will present the petition to the Legislative Council. said she shared the community’s concerns about the decision.
“As the former Planning Minister, I am disappointed the current Minister has decided to revoke the approval that was given in January of this year,” she said.
“All matters, including environmental and bushfire-management concerns, had been carefully considered and the approval was given on the recommendation of the Western Australian Planning Commission.”
Ms Faragher said the Department of Fire and Emergency Services had approved a fire management plan and the Environmental Protection Authority had considered the amendment and decided it did not require assessment.
“Despite my questioning of the Minister’s decision in State Parliament, the Minister has repeatedly refused to give detail on the reasons or the advice, if any, she has received that would validate the revocation,” she said.
However Ms Saffioti said a number of issues and concerns were raised over the site, including bushfire and native title issues.
“It was clear that the expectations created regarding the site could not be realised in an appropriate timeframe,” she said.
“We are working with the Shire to identify suitable sites.”
Aged care advocate Neil Pember has started the petition requesting the Minister reconsider her opposition to Wilkins Road and to support the amendment.
“It has taken six years and in excess of $230,000 of ratepayers money to have all government approvals satisfied only to be stalled by the new Planning Minister,” he said.
“Clearly the Minister has not done her homework because issues surrounding bushfire management and native title have been through an exhaustive process and have been satisfactorily dealt with.
“Potential risks were considered by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services which approved a fire management plan.
“The Environmental Protection Authority considered the Amendment and decided it did not require assessment.
“From the Commission’s perspective, the advice provided from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs did not indicate there was any substantive Aboriginal heritage issue with the site.”
Mr Pember said Kalamunda desperately needed an integrated aged care facility.
“Western Australia has a growing population and an ageing population,” he said.
“I firmly believe that Wilkins Road is the right place for such a facility.”
City of Swan Community Care Services Advisory Committee president Ron Carey said he was disappointed Ms Saffioti had asked the Governor to revoke the order to allow the rezoning.
Mr Carey said he would write to the minister asking her to explain what information, advice or evidence she relied upon that allowed her to arrive at the decision to have the previous approval revoked.