Thursday, 17 November 2011

Land zoning restriction removed from Latrobe Valley properties

Land zoning restriction removed from Latrobe Valley properties

Friday, 11 November 2011
Nationals Member for Morwell Russell Northe today announced that the Victorian Coalition Government is acting to remove an outdated land zoning rule which has been a point of contention for many Latrobe Valley landowners.

Mr Northe said the “Special Use Zone 5 (SUZ5)” zoning had prevented landowners from developing their land to its full potential and in some instances made the selling of property quite difficult.
“This action by the Victorian Government will help protect the Latrobe Valley coal resource while also removing planning restrictions that stifle development,” said Mr Northe.

Many years ago, it was thought that the Morwell River might have to be moved to the east of the township to ensure access to the coal fields at the western end of the Latrobe Valley.
As it turned out, minor movements were made to the river to the west of Morwell by the power generators. The existing SUZ5 covers a 25 km tract of land from Boolarra to Tyers east of Morwell that was set aside for the river, would not be needed.

“The planning restrictions impacted 223 properties and covered 1900 hectares of land.”
Mr Northe said Clean Coal Victoria (CCV), which is part of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), has completed a study which found that it was unlikely that the Morwell River would ever be moved to the east of the township.

“Following CCV’s review, I have decided that this restriction can be removed,” said the Minister for Energy and Resources, Michael O’Brien.
“Mr Northe has been a great contributor to the process of achieving this practical outcome for the local community,” said Mr O’Brien.

Mr Northe said the Minister for Energy and Resources will now write to the Planning Minister to begin the process of removing the SUZ5.

Latrobe City mayor, Councillor Darrell White, said that Council had been working closely with landowners in the area for quite some time.
“We have been lobbying for this change for a while now and we are extremely pleased to see this positive outcome. After years of frustration, the change will be most welcome by the residents who are no longer constrained by the restrictions. They are now free to pursue further development opportunities, should they wish.

“We acknowledge the assistance from Mr Northe and the State Government and Clean Coal Victoria in achieving a resolution to what had been a long, ongoing matter. Lifting these restrictions means that future development opportunities can now be investigated,” Cr White said.
Mr Northe said there is still coal in sections of this area, and the Minister has authorised DPI to work with Latrobe City Council and the Department of Community Planning and Development to review the planning protections as necessary to protect the coal resource.
“This will improve the Latrobe Valley Planning Scheme, protect the coal resource and remove redundant restrictions on development,” said Mr Northe.

“This will be a huge relief for residents who have been fighting for the removal of these restrictions, and whom I have been advocating on behalf of for over 3 years.”
Media: Russell Northe / Julia Auciello 5133 9088