Home' Smart Farmer : April 2012 Contents April 2012
By MAX OPRAY
WO Greens motions placed
before State Parliament reignit-
ed the debate about the con-
troversial rezoning of Mount Barker
that would more than double the
Most local residents oppose the
plan, concerned that new housing
developments would put a strain on
infrastructure and jeopardise food
The first motion, which wanted
Parliament to replace the Mount
Barker Development Plan
Amendment with a new plan that
'respects the wishes of the people of
the district', was voted down by both
Labor and Liberals on March 28.
At the time of writing, the second
motion calling for an inquiry into the
$2.3-billion development plan was
yet to go before parliament on April
"Mount Barker is a case study of
everything that's wrong with the
planning system," said Greens MLC
Mark Parnell, who introduced both
motions after successfully winning a
20-month Freedom of Information
battle to obtain correspondence
between private developers and the
"When we eventually got the doc-
uments, they showed the process
was worse than we thought. The
government basically allowed devel-
opers to call all the shots," he said.
A key part of the debate is the role
of development advocate Connor
The documents detail how the
company had been lobbying on
behalf of Mount Barker developers
for months before being appointed
by the State Government to help find
areas near Adelaide to accommodate
future population growth.
Mr Parnell likens the situation to
"putting the fox in charge of the hen
"Sure, the company claims to have
internal firewalls in place to prevent
conflict of interest, but the whole
thing just stinks," he said.
Connor Holmes declined to com-
ment on the issue.
Mr Parnell said the development
approval contradicted the govern-
ment's own 2006 planning strategy
for outer metropolitan Adelaide,
which did not recommend signifi-
cant Mount Barker growth.
"That was supposed to guide
expansion for the next 10 to 15
years, but before the ink was even
dry on the document, developers
were knocking on the minister's
door," he said.
Through donations and by attend-
ing fundraising events, housing
developers contribute significant
amounts of money to the coffers of
both the Labor and Liberal parties.
Former Planning Minister Paul
Holloway, who oversaw the Mount
Barker DPA, strongly defended the
close links Labor maintain with
developers, arguing that any plan-
ning for urban growth should
involve companies that actually do
Heavyweight developers 'fox' in on
The process was worse
than expected. The
developers to call all
Greens MLC Mark Parnell says
Mount Barker is a case study of
planning gone wrong.
Mount Barker Mayor Ann Ferguson
agrees there was a failure to
address infrastructure needs.
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