Western Australia Minister for Planning John Day
Bush Forever Formalised A Decade After Introduction
Victor P Taffa
The Western Australia State Government today announced a major milestone in the regulatory protection of 51,000ha of Metropolitan Vegetation, 10 years after the Bush Forever Policy was first endorsed.
Planning Minister John Day said the new State Planning Policy for Bushland in the Perth Metropolitan Region would be complemented by the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) Amendment Bush Forever, to be tabled in State Parliament next week.
“This is an extremely positive step for the conservation of more than 51,000ha of regionally significant vegetation on the Swan Coastal Plain portion of the Perth Metropolitan Region.” Mr. Day said.
“The policy will establish a statutory framework and greater planning recognition for the protection and future management of all Bush Forever areas.”
“The policy also provides regulatory certainty for Land owners, whose properties are to be affected by the Bush Forever amendment, providing them with a statutory means to access compensation from the State.” Mr. Day said.
“The MRS amendment is one of the largest ever compiled by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and when finalised, 99 % of Bush Forever sites will be protected through the establishment of Bush Forever areas in the MRS.”
MRS Amendment 1082/33 Bush Forever and Related Lands will rezone 94 sites to be reserved as parks and recreation.
The Minister said bushland protection had been integrated with the land use planning process for more than a decade, so it was time the bushland policy and the MRS Amendment were finalised.
“The implementation of Bush Forever areas was initiated by the Liberal Government 10 years ago and, while I note the amendment is highly complex, the progress in its finalisation certainly languished under the previous Labor government.” the Minister said.
“This Government has been able to provide greater regulatory certainty on a range of planning issues since coming into office and, subject to the support of Parliament, will provide long-awaited certainty around this vital conservation measure.” Mr. Day said.
Environment Minister Donna Faragher welcomed the Policy and MRS amendment.
“I am delighted in this achievement by the Government and its timing is particularly fitting given 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity.” Mrs. Faragher said.
“WA, including the Metropolitan Region, is recognised for its biodiversity and Bush Forever is an important tool in preserving our natural assets.”
To date the WAPC has purchased 1,000ha of land for Bush Forever, to the value of $72.718 Million.
The State Planning Policy for Bushland in the Metropolitan Region will be gazetted on Tuesday, after which it will be available from the Planning WA website.