Deputy Premier Ian Taylor today gave assurances to farmers affected by Wespine's $50 million modernisation plans that the development would not prevent them using their land for farming.
He said the buffer zone to be created around the proposed new plant was designed to do nothing more than stop residential development.
"I understand the concerns of the Farmers Federation over this issue and I am prepared to state clearly that the legislation now before State Parliament is in no way designed to reduce the availability of land for agricultural purposes," Mr Taylor said.
"By creating a buffer, all we are doing is ensuring that there will be no future conflicts over environmental issues."
Mr Taylor said the present argument had been caused by a misunderstanding of the Government's reasons for including a clause in the proposed legislation giving it power to resume land in the buffer zone.
"Such clauses are included in virtually all legislation for development agreements that go before State Parliament.
"They have been included in agreements affecting the alumina refineries at Pinjarra, Wagerup and Worsley; various Collie coal agreements and almost all of the agreements affecting iron ore developments.
"The Wespine agreement will certainly not be creating a precedent, as the Farmers Federation appears to fear. It is certainly not part of a plan to grab farming land for industry."
Mr Taylor said the final size of the buffer could well be smaller than previously thought necessary.
"The original buffer was drawn up to take account of existing noise levels that emanate from the Wespine plant.
"However, when the new installation is built - using the latest technology - it will be substantially quieter than today's mill."
Mr Taylor said the proposal was now being assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority and Wespine's proposal document was expected to be released for public review this week (EDS: week starting October 12).
"Clearly, noise levels from the plant will have to meet the EPA's requirements.
"I understand that some farmers inside the buffer zone have been considering using their land for purposes other than commercial agriculture.
"There may be one or two families who would like to seek approval for their land to be subdivided and perhaps sold for hobby farms.
"But no decision can really be made until the EPA assessment is complete."
Mr Taylor said he believed the ruling would be available before the end of the year.