MRC turns land policies into one

By Riverine Herald

MURRAY River Council has adopted its Strategic Planning Review Local Profile.

The local profile is the first stage of a planning scheme review of both the former Murray and Wakool Shire councils, with the aim of consolidating the schemes into one policy for Murray River.

It identifies current facts about land and management issues, with statistics around land use, the community, the economy, the environment and trends in individual communities.

Murray River Council mayor Chris Bilkey said community feedback on the draft profile helped highlight issues to consider in the development of council’s new Land Use Strategy.

“Development of the local profile is an important step in consolidating the planning schemes and setting the path for some positive development in the future,’’ he said.

“We had a number of submissions or liaisons during our public meetings which have enabled us to capture the important planning issues at a local level as we move into the next stage of the planning scheme review.’’

Some of the common points raised from the community include:

■ Allow for rural lifestyle lots close to settlements and along watercourses;

■ Reconcile and reduce the minimum lot size for the subdivision of rural land to permit dwellings;

■ Permit dwelling entitlements on small rural lots;

■ Reduce the building setback to waterways;

■ Consider accommodation opportunities for workers associated with emerging agricultural industries, i.e. the almond farms in Tooleybuc, Koraleigh and Goodnight;

■ Review regulations on moorings in the Murray River near Barham and provide development guidance;

■ Consider the spatial and community cross-border relationships and development opportunities;

■ Allow for exploration and protection of access to mineral resources;

■ Changes and corrections to commercial and agricultural development in Moulamein;

■ Changes and corrections to the classified road system; and

■ Implement buffers to separate industrial development from other land uses to prevent conflict.

Following the feedback, some amendments were made to the local profile to capture the current state of affairs before adoption at the December council meeting.

“While there is a robust amount of planning and policy framework that guides land use planning and management in general, the review process enabled us to capture the planning issues in our individual communities and across our council as a whole,” Cr Bilkey said.

Cr Bilkey said the development of Council’s Land Use Strategy will be the next stage of the planning scheme review.

“This next stage of the process will again be heavily informed by community feedback and will focus on long-term sustainability and improved planning for all land uses to ensure the council’s character and economic capacity is both preserved and enhanced.”