Mayor calls on Minister to finalise Rural Lands Strategy

Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes has returned from a meeting with the NSW planning minister saying she left him in no doubt about the community's frustration at the government's lengthy delay in signing off on Council's Rural Lands Strategy.

Clr Innes met with The Hon. Anthony Roberts at Parliament House yesterday. "Minister Roberts is new to the planning portfolio and appeared concerned by the delay. He assured me he will look into it," she said. "I made it very clear that Council and the community is looking for a favourable and timely response. "We submitted the planning proposal that will allow us to implement our Rural Lands Strategy to the Department of Planning in August 2016, and while their officers are seemingly reviewing a strategy they were part of developing, our community continues to wait with no explanation about why or what the issues might be. "I want to assure Eurobodalla residents that I left the Minister in no doubt about the community's and my frustration at their lack of response to us. "Either the planning proposal complies with the statutory and policy requirements or it doesn’t. Either way, these are facts that are easily determined and should have been communicated to us months and months ago. "If the proposal is at odds with government policy or legislation, or even if it has raised issues the government does not have a policy position on, it is reasonable to expect these matters would have been raised by the department through their role on our rural lands strategy steering committee, or at least when the planning proposal was first submitted last year. "Council and our community should not be penalised as a result of delays in the way that we are. We are ready and waiting to implement a strategy that will protect our key agricultural land and environmental values and provide some opportunities for further development in rural areas.

"As I've said before, these are not ill-conceived concepts. Our strategy has been developed with great care over a long period by skilled people with local knowledge and significant community involvement.

"It's now five years since we started preparing the Rural Lands Strategy and residents who's land has been in a holding pattern all that time deserve better. "I'm so grateful that our community has remained patient, but enough is enough. We are now forcefully but respectfully requesting a response."

Mayor Innes said she was grateful to Member for Bega and Minister for Transport Andrew Constance, who arranged the meeting with Minister Roberts, and for his ongoing support of the Rural Lands Strategy. Media Release

Above: Major landuse in Eurobodalla Shire

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