Controversial Kwinana Industry Buffer Zone a step closer to fruition

 Labor leader Mark McGowan addresses the large crowd at last week’s community meeting in Mandogalup.
Labor leader Mark McGowan addresses the large crowd at last week’s community meeting in Mandogalup.

THE Kwinana Industry Buffer Zone is a step closer to fruition after Premier Colin Barnett said the issue would be debated after State Parliament’s winter recess.

It comes as Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said his party would not support the Bill, which has existed in draft form since 2010, when the WA Planning Commission endorsed it.

The buffer evolved from work done by the Environmental Protection Authority in the early 1990s.

A Department of State Development spokesperson said the Bill was being brought in to create a long-term surety.

“The current buffer area is only enforced through planning policy, which does not provide sufficient long-term certainty required for industry and land owners,” they said.

“The protection area will provide certainty and stability for existing industries whose operations may be at risk from encroaching development, and will also help to provide separation between industrial activity and new sensitive land uses.”

The 1.5km buffer is being strongly opposed by property mogul Nigel Satterley.

Mr Satterley was one of more than 100 people to turn out at a rally last week, along with Mandogalup landowners, Mr McGowan, Kwinana MLA Roger Cook and other members of Opposition.

Satterley executive manager of planning Ray Stokes addressed the audience and told them that a 1km buffer would be more than sufficient.

“Recent comprehensive dust studies have shown that a 1km buffer would be more than sufficient and should be further reduced with the closure of the nearest residue Area F,” he said.

“Government plans going as far back as 2001 had shown Mandogalup as a future residential area and in 2004 Alcoa committed to the closure and rehabilitation of Area F for public open space to help make this happen.”

Mr Satterley said he felt sorry for land owners who he believed had been ignored by the government in its process.

“Did the Government think they could just go ahead and legislate without even informing affected landowners and residents?” he asked.

“What’s worse is the legislation does not provide for compensation for landowners and residents whose land values and reasonable development expectations may be seriously affected if the buffer goes ahead.

“Some families have been living in the area since 1913. They would have difficulty selling their homes or subdividing their land if the legislation is passed through Parliament.”

However, the Department of State Development said the buffer had always been on the cards and comment was sought from stakeholders last year.

“A public comment period ran for six weeks (beginning October 2015), with 175 submissions received from interested parties, including more than 100 submissions from landowners,” the spokesperson said.

“Following the public comment period, the departments of State Development and Planning have provided Government with a summary of the views expressed by the community, industry, councils and others.

“The matter is now with Government for consideration.”