The following Question Without Notice was asked by the Hon Colin Tincknell and answered today by the Hon Stephen Dawson representing the Planning Minister, Hon Rita Saffioti:
Hon COLIN TINCKNELL to the minister representing the Minister for Planning:
I refer to the subdivision in Mt Helena.
(1) In choosing to move forward with the proposal, can the minister outline what considerations were so convincing as to outweigh the expert opinion of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services?
(2) What factors have persuaded the minister to overlook the expert advice of DFES and move forward with the proposal?
(3) What factors did the Minister for Planning take into account when choosing to go ahead with the proposal and ignore DFES expert advice?
(4) Have any government departments flagged concern over the proposed subdivision; and, if so, which ones and what are their concerns?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for the question.
There is a preamble in the question that I have that the member did not read out, so I presume it is the answer to the same question.
(1)–(3) The Western Australian Planning Commission metropolitan region scheme amendment 1277/57 “Report on Submissions” states, and I quote —
12 submissions were of support, 2 submissions were of objection and 14 submissions contained neutral comments, non-objections or general comments on the amendment (primarily from government agencies).
Overall, there is a need to balance technical concerns with ensuring the ongoing viability of hills communities. In making the decision, the minister outlined the requirement for the preparation of an updated and refined bushfire management plan to address the concerns raised by DFES, including the extension of water infrastructure and bushfire attack level ratings on new houses, which impose far stricter requirements than those that are applicable to the existing and adjacent property owners. There are also 20 existing houses on the landholdings that were rezoned, and it is adjacent to an existing subdivision.