New laws introduced into State Parliament today aim to protect the Swan Valley’s unique character by providing clear planning guidance and outlining appropriate scales of tourism and development.
The new Swan Valley Planning Bill 2020 delivers on a key McGowan Government election commitment to undertake a planning review and protect the unique character of the area.
The legislation is built off the recommendations of the Swan Valley Action Plan and the Kobelke Report – with feedback from more than 700 local residents and businesses on preferred land uses, future tourism and development opportunities and the right to farm.
It establishes a single planning authority, streamlines planning processes to cut red tape, introduces a new planning scheme for the Swan Valley and sets preferred development types.
The Bill also establishes a ‘right to farm’ protecting the Swan Valley as a productive rural area.
Development within the region is currently subject to three different planning regimes which often create tension and difficulty in achieving consensus on development proposals.
Replacing the outdated Swan Valley Planning Act 1995, the Bill proposes a new Swan Valley Planning Committee as a statutory body to provide oversight for all planning and development.
A Swan Valley Strategic Coordination Group will also be created to provide an advisory role to Government across a broad range of matters including tourism, environment and planning.
A new bespoke planning scheme will come into effect early next year, replacing the existing dual scheme system – the City of Swan Local Planning Scheme No. 17 and the Metropolitan Region Scheme.
The Swan Valley is home to more than 7,000 residents and attracts over two million visitors annually seeking to explore its many wineries, recreational activities and tourist attractions.
For more information on the Swan Valley Action Plan and Kobelke Report, visit https://www.dplh.wa.gov.au/swan-valley-action-plan
As stated by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The Swan Valley is one of our most unique WA locations – not only is it a popular tourism destination with its prime gourmet food and wine districts, it is also used for agriculture and viticulture purposes.
“For many years now residents and businesses in the Swan Valley have become frustrated with confusing planning processes and the lack of a clear vision for the area.
“When we came to Government we engaged the well-respected Hon. John Kobelke to undertake a review into the Swan Valley and ask residents and businesses what they wanted to see from the planning framework.
“The legislation I am introducing today is the culmination of years of work and community consultation and strikes the right balance between maintaining the area’s unique rural character, while supporting viticulture, lifestyle and equine uses, and suitable food, beverage and local produce tourism.
“The Swan Valley Planning Bill 2020 will provide greater clarity in future development of the region, create a planning system that is easier to navigate and enable strong advocacy for development that protects and enhances the character of the region.”