Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has emphasised that plans to streamline planning approvals by the State Government may improve affordability but risk liveability without some basic protections for the things we love the most about our cities and neighbourhoods.
“How many times have developers bulldozed bushland and wetlands, erected a sea of roofs, then constructed a small park with a gazebo as some kind of dismal attempt to compensate for the loss of biodiversity and destruction of landscape? I welcome the innovation to improve affordability, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Local communities have had to fight to protect the places they love.
“In the past, we have only been able to save precious places by pressuring Local Government to stand up against powerful developers. For instance, our cities and neighbourhoods need mature trees to keep temperatures down, these are at risk without strengthening planning protections if the voice of communities is weakened.
“Western Australians value green space, which has proven to increase physical and mental health wellbeing and also increases property value. Residents recognise this increases liveability in the area and often move to protect it, the same cannot be said for our State Government, who are doing little to protect mature trees, public space or green space.
“Natural environments, like lakes, wetlands and bushland, are part of what makes Perth special. Making the most of living in a biodiversity hotspot means including these natural environments in the fabric of urban living. Streamlining planning decisions without guidelines for retaining these amenities may just mean we lose the best of what Perth already has to offer.
“Protections for green space, public space, natural environments, mature trees, should be locked into decision making before we take planning powers out of the hands of local councils.
“Today, without a neighbourhood right to appeal planning decisions, local councils are the only people that can stand up to protect ever diminishing parks, wetlands, and vulnerable WA species. We have already lost enough, without strict protections in planning law, the remainder is at serious risk.”