Growth review on hold

THE long-awaited Traralgon Growth Areas Review framework will not be adopted until further meetings are held between state authorities, landowners and industry.

Latrobe City councillors were tasked with adopting just six of 10 recommendations from Planning Panels Victoria at Monday’s ordinary meeting.

However, following PPV’s left-field proposal to double an existing coal buffer around the Loy Yang mine in the interim, along with remaining community concerns, councillors voted to instead arrange additional meetings.

Cr Sharon Gibson, who put forward the alternate motion, said there had “to be some common ground” before any framework was adopted.

“Yes, people can say it’s taken such a long time so far, but if it is not right, you don’t push it through,” Cr Gibson said.

Multi-million dollar residential developments lay in the hands of the TGAR framework, which intends to identify areas of future urban development around Traralgon, Tyers, Glengarry and the Traralgon-Morwell corridor.

Cr Gibson said it was essential authorities responsible for the urban amenity buffer around Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill and the Loy Yang mine coal buffer were brought to the table to have a community conversation.

“This is such an important piece of work that you have to leave no stone unturned,” Cr Gibson said.

“I am looking at it for the whole community. They’re not happy – they’re saying it has never been right.”

In Parliament on 19 August, State Member for Morwell Russell Northe asked Planning Minister Richard Wynne why government departments had not communicated PPV’s recommendations.

Mr Northe referred to affected landowners who had approached him, having heard of the extended buffer zone proposal through articles published in The Express. Mr Wynne took the question on notice and responded on Tuesday, stating it was council’s responsibility to inform the community of any updates.

Mr Northe said he agreed with council’s decision to hold further discussions, although reiterated his disappointment about the lack of communication.

“The community generally, but more specifically landowners, have been disengaged from the process,” Mr Northe said.

“Landowners have been quite upset about the fact they have only read about these matters in the local newspaper.

“For me, making sure landowners know what’s happening is paramount and for all stakeholders to be engaged.”

Latrobe City will write to Premier Daniel Andrews, requesting a meeting with the Environment Protection Authority to discuss the urban amenity buffer.

Council will also request the assistance of the Department of Energy and Earth Resources in providing a solution to the coal residential interface.