Planning Minister Justin Madden today approved an amendment to the Mildura Planning Scheme recognising the Farming Zone as the most appropriate zone for the Mildura Older Irrigation Area.
The amendment recognises that agriculture, particularly irrigated horticulture and the associated manufacturing, packaging and processing of local produce, underpins the local economy of the Rural City of Mildura.
“I have approved Amendment C65 to the Mildura Planning Scheme while making certain provisions for subdivisions and dwellings,” Mr Madden said.
“The MOIA presents a unique range of circumstances that requires quite targeted responses and planning controls.
“This amendment puts in place planning controls that provide for agricultural transition in this important food growing area while focussing urban development in settlements to minimise ad-hoc development in non urban-zoned areas.
“This is a great outcome for landowners and the broader Mildura community.”
Mr Madden said the amendment draws on the recommendations of the Mildura Planning Taskforce which was charged with investigating planning issues in the MOIA and determining a long term position for landowners.
“The Taskforce also recommended that Council prepare a housing strategy, with support form DPCD, to guide the municipality’s future housing and settlement needs, as well as investigating opportunities for rural residential living around existing hamlets,” he said.
The independently chaired Mildura Planning Taskforce comprised representatives from the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), Regional Development Victoria, Department of Primary Industries, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Lower Murray Water and Mildura Rural City Council.
“The Taskforce has been a collaborative effort with Mildura Rural City Council and various State Government departments and agencies working together to achieve a positive outcome for the landowners and people of Mildura,” Mr Madden said.
“This is a significant food production region where the Government is making significant investment in irrigation infrastructure upgrades and related services through its Northern Irrigation Renewal project.”
The new provisions for the MOIA include:
- A landowner may apply for a permit to use land for a dwelling, subject to specific requirements, if one of the following applies:
- The lot is between 0.3 hectares and 1.2 hectares and the application is made prior to 31 December 2012;
- The lot is between 10 and 20 hectares and existed on 29 May 2009; or
- The lot is 10 hectares or greater (including those that were achieved via consolidation of adjoining lots unencumbered by a Section 173 Agreement ensuring no further dwellings will be constructed).
- A permit to use land for a dwelling is not required for a dwelling if a lot is 20 hectares or greater.
- A permit to use land for a dwelling cannot be granted for a lot between 1.2 hectares and 10 hectares.
A landowner may apply for a permit for subdivision for the following:
- An excision of an existing dwelling on a lot that is 1 hectare or greater.
- A boundary realignment to transfer or consolidate farming land (may include an existing dwelling). All other boundary realignments are prohibited.
- The amendment will provide transitional arrangements to provide an opportunity for the owners of specific sites to apply for a planning permit for the use of land for a dwelling.
Overall, the provisions for subdivisions and dwellings are in the form proposed by council with some modifications and subject to specific conditions.
This amendment supersedes Amendment C58 which placed a moratorium on planning applications in the Mildura Older Irrigation Area.
Full details of Amendment C65 can be found at: www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/