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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5975

Mr BRIGGS (9:09 PM) —I rise to join with the member for Kingston on this issue of town planning and support her motion. I understand she comes from an area which has significant planning issues. The Onkaparinga council—the city of Onkaparinga inches into my electorate—struggles with issues of planning in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.

There are two issues I wish to deal with tonight with regard to planning. They relate to my electorate, Mount Barker and surrounds, Littlehampton and Nairne in particular. Some years ago, in 2000, the Heysen Tunnels opened in the Adelaide Hills on the Great Eastern Freeway, which opened up the Adelaide Hills significantly. That was the former member for Mayo’s greatest achievement as the member for Mayo, he proudly boasts, and it certainly has created significant economic development in the Adelaide Hills, opened them up and changed the dynamic.

However, it also brought an up-tick in growth—in Mount Barker, Nairne and Littlehampton in particular—which has brought with it considerable difficulties, with lagging infrastructure, roads, services and water. Water, of course, is a huge issue in my electorate. This has been a major concern for my constituents. It has a major impact on our ability to grow our own food. The Adelaide Hills produces not only some of the best wine in the country but also some of the best food. It is an important area for agriculture and an area we must protect. With this fast expansion there has been a real impact on people’s ability to continue to grow their own food. We have seen farmers tempted by offers from developers—as retirement packages, I guess—for their land. This has created an interesting dynamic, where there is now quite an anti-development feeling in Mount Barker and surrounding communities.

The second issue I want to deal with is that of future growth in my area. It is an issue which the state member for Kavel, Mark Goldsworthy, has been following. I commend Mark for the work he has done. He recently surveyed the towns concerned, asking people’s opinions on this issue, and received quite an extraordinary reaction, with about 1,500 survey respondents all very strongly raising concerns about the pace of development and the actions of the state government in relation to development. The state planning minister, Mr Holloway—who I think is an upper house member in the state parliament—said in our local newspaper, the Mount Barker Courier, which has also been pursuing this issue with some vigour, that the state government will have the final say about continuing development in the region. It is fair to say that that has enraged locals. Rather than locals and the council being considered and their views taken into account, the state government is just going to bulldoze its way through ordinary people and their views. That has caused an enormous amount of concern in my electorate. Development is a very contentious issue, particularly as it impacts on agricultural land, services, whether we have enough police, hospitals, health care and whether the roads are up to standard. Mount Barker is a country town that is now being turned into a dormitory suburb.

This is a big issue, and I was disappointed with the action of the state government. I hope that they will reconsider the part of their plan—I think it is a 20-year plan—where they plan for Mount Barker, Littlehampton and Nairne to grow significantly. They should reconsider that. The people in my area want them to do so. What the state Labor minister said and did has been very unpopular. I think people accept that bulldozers are needed for development but they will not accept their opinion being bulldozed by the state Labor government. They need to reconsider this quickly. I know it is not an area that state Labor has traditionally put much emphasis on, up around Mount Barker, but it should not be treated as a second rate area because politically it is not important; it is very important to the Adelaide Hills and to South Australia. The Adelaide Hills retains a beauty and it should not just be turned into an outer dormitory suburb. (Time expired)