The recent VCAT decision to allow a house to be built on land in the “growth area” is a welcome outcome.
VCAT has previously knocked back sensible decisions by Mildura Council, such as a truck stop on the corner of Benetook Avenue and Seventeenth Street on the grounds of loss of “agricultural land” of which there is no shortage. In fact, there is now an oversupply in comparison to water availability.
It is well and truly time that we saw some movement on houses in the Mildura Old Irrigation Area (MOIA) and this must surely send a message to the Victorian Planning Minister that there is a further need to once again look at all the empty housing lots and the dried off farms in the MOIA. His office needs to rethink on how we should move forward in a way that is sensible and, more importantly, fair to owners of those properties.
Mildura’s irrigation district has seen huge expansion with more land in irrigated production than ever before. A few little, old, properties with a few houses and other activities on them will make no difference at all to food production on irrigated land.
I look forward to the opportunity to revisit the Mildura Planning Scheme rules and the ability to move toward more sensible outcomes, like those proposed over the last 15 years but rejected by the State.
We need to get to the point where the Planning Scheme and zoning rules are acceptable to the community and their needs and expectations.
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