Both the State Government and the Barossa Council have been criticized in their handling of the Barossa Protection Zone matter.
During the debate last week, Light MP, Mr Tony Piccolo told State Parliament that both the Council and the State Government could have dealt with the proposal in a way that could have caused less anxiety in the community.
Mr Piccolo said while the State Government’s initial interim DPA was a little harsh, the Council’s approach to the matter generated more heat than light which only fueled confusion in the community about what was intended.
Mr Piccolo said the Minister’s responses to two questions he asked had removed from doubt what was intended in the proposed legislation.
The Planning Minister, the Hon John Rau advised parliament that “the legislation in respect of the Barossa Valley is intended to provide one substantial effect and one alone; that is, that those areas within that protection zone, excluding the townships, cannot be subdivided further for residential subdivision purposes.”
Mr Piccolo sought clarification to two key issues; the ability to build a home on an existing title and the possibility of introducing some additional industrial areas to accommodate industry that supports businesses in the Valley.
Mr Rau advised the parliament that once the Bill is passed and the interim DPA lifted, the pre-existing Development Plan would apply with the exception of land division for residential purposes outside the township areas.
In response to Mr Piccolo asking “if someone wanted to have some sort of industrial activity near the townships, will this bill prevent that from occurring, Mr Rau said “this bill does not seek to regulate the management of industrial activities. That would be dealt with under the existing plan regime; it would either be okay or not, according to that regime. It would not be affected by this.”
Mr Rau told parliament that “the primary object of this legislation is pretty simple: it is to say that in respect of the areas which are the preservation zones—and there is a map which accompanies the bill which is going to be legislated—people can get on with their normal activities and can do pretty well whatever they can do now, except that if they
want to subdivide land for the purposes of, in effect, housing, they have to get the approval of the parliament to do that.”
“Aside from that, there is no interference in their activity,” Mr Rau added.
“The townships themselves are basically untouched and they continue to be regulated in the same fashion as they always have been.”
Mr Rau acknowledged some of the criticism leveled was a result of the interim DPA been more complex than necessary.
“However, we have rectified that in consultation with communities and, as soon as this legislation has gone through, then the work of the interim DPA will be done anyway and it will be an unnecessary tool. Then we will see the regime essentially returning to what it was before the interim DPAs were deemed necessary.”
Mr Piccolo said the Protection Zone will have less impact than some of the allegations made by some, and it is subject to review.