Graham Kierath

Graham Kierath

-

    Subdivision for conservation helps Wheatbelt farmers

    8/01/2001 1:27 PM
     
    8/1/01

    The preservation of rural bushland has been given a boost with new planning procedures to allow the sale of bush blocks on the condition they remain undeveloped.

    Planning Minister Graham Kierath today announced a policy for Subdivision for Conservation in the Wheatbelt Agricultural Policy Area.

    The policy is one of several initiatives adopted by Government to minimise the economic burden on farmers with large areas of bushland on their property while ensuring conservation of native vegetation in the long term.

    The action is in response to the recommendations of the Native Vegetation Working Group commissioned by Primary Industry Minister Monty House.

    Mr Kierath said that under the policy, Wheatbelt farmers would be able to subdivide and sell large areas of bushland from their farming properties to buyers who wanted to retain the conservation value of the bush block.

    He said the conservation lot would be subject to a covenant preventing further clearing.

    “Given the wide community support for the conservation of our natural bushland areas, I would expect there would be a great deal of interest in these bush blocks,” the Minister said.

    “It is important that these bush areas remain intact to protect against land degradation and salinity encroachment.

    “However, by enabling the sale of these areas on a separate title to the farming property, the owners will be freed from the ongoing costs of managing bushland.

    “The sale of the bushland will also generate working capital to invest in the ongoing viability of farming enterprises.”

    Mr Kierath said the policy applied to rural-zoned land in the Wheatbelt Agricultural Policy Area only and did not apply to pastoral leases.

    The policy would apply pending the finalisation of the draft Agricultural and Land Use Planning Policy that would include a provision to subdivide land to preserve native vegetation.

    The Minister said the policy would allow bushland on a farm to be subdivided as one conservation lot, provided it was at least 30ha, had conservation value and a minimum of 20 per cent of the farm lot was retained or regenerated as bushland to combat salinity and land degradation.

    “Preferably any new dwelling should only be located on cleared land included in the conservation lot and have limited impact on the remnant bushland,” Mr Kierath said.

    Agriculture Western Australia will assist with assessing properties for application of the policy with progress monitored by the Natural Resources and Environment Committee of the WA Planning Commission.

    Media contact: Zac Donovan (08) 9213 6400