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Presentation to Council Rural Land Strategy: Keith Dance

Address to council 28/8/2018 by Keith Dance.

Thank you Madam Mayor and councillors for the opportunity to comment on the rural LEP matter that is before you today.

Lately there have been many comments regarding the exhibited Rural LEP. The claim that the community have not been consulted is absolute garbage.

To understand where we are today, we need to go back to 2010 when the state Government dictated that all councils must update their Rural LEP and provided a “Template” for councils to follow. As it turned out the template was a proper dog’s breakfast. Council put out its first draft LEP for exhibition in 2011 which caused major community uproar. Many community meetings followed, extremely well attended and all vehemently opposing the template demand that rural land include E3 zonings. Properties that were 50%+ timbered or steep lands had no option but to fall under the dreaded E3 category.

Protests from landholders, not only in this Shire but many Shires throughout coastal NSW forced the government planning department to change their Template to accommodate the public backlash. Thankfully around that time a change of government and constant lobbying from both staff and councillors greatly assisted in a change of attitude from the planning departments.

In 2012 council passed the current Rural LEP leaving out roughly half of the rural lands. Council then set up the Rural Lands Advisory Committee to oversee the updating of the Rural LEP which was to include all rural lands and also reflect the strong views of the community.

Over the next 4 years the committee managed the Rural Lands Issues Paper, Opportunities and Constraints paper community meetings etc, which culminated into the Rural lands Strategy.

This strategy has been accepted by Council, the minister and relevant planning departments. At all times throughout the process State planning reps, OEH, primary industries, RFS and the public participated. Many business people and the general public attended the Strategy workshops and gave valued input into the final document.

The other great work done was to review each locality to determine the existing lot sizes from which council could then offer the land owners potential dwelling entitlements. In total an additional 122lots and 247 potential dwelling entitlements were identified. These changes will have no detrimental affect on the agricultural output of the shire but conversely is aimed to both grow and diversify the agricultural output of the Shire.

People need the understand that the LEP is the broad planning instrument and for those who do apply for dwelling entitlements must first satisfy all DA requirements relating to access, asset protection, waste disposal as well as biodiversity regulations as set out by state legislation.

The claim that these proposals are unsafe, are a threat to the oyster industry and will be to the detriment of the biodiversity of the shire is nonsense. The current LEP mirrors the past, current and future State environmental legislation and was purposely written to do just that. This gives both clarity and certainty to our rural producers and in fact negates the need for council to be involved in dealing with rural biodiversity and also cutting unnecessary red tape.

The opposition to this LEP is typical misinformation spread from those groups who continually foist their opinions on others irrespective of legislation. They generally claim poor community consultation, dream up some threatened critter or orchid that shows up every 7 or 10 years to justify their spurious claims aiming to disrupt a process that they do not agree with.

Unfortunately they have no regard to those of us who actually own the land, and consider those of us who actually live on and work the land as despoilers and rapists of the environment when in fact the opposite is the reality. It is an insult to those of us who own and protect our land.

Councillors this process has taken nearly a decade with extensive community and departmental consultation. Council has responded with correct and evidence based answers to matters raised in both this and past consultation processes.

Councillors it is incumbent on you that you pass the matter before you and send it back to the State government to have this LEP gazetted as soon as possible.

Thank you.


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