Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:13): I rise to speak to the Planning and Development Infrastructure (Constitution of Commission) Amendment Bill, moved by the member for Light, and support all the comments made by the Deputy Premier and the member for Schubert. Planning can be fraught and, at the ground level, different planners can have different views.
Recently, in Murray Bridge there was a decision on a proposal and on all the evidence the council supported this proposal. Two planners on the panel said yes, two said no and then it was left to the councillor on the panel to either approve that project or not. Despite the councillor having full authority from the council to approve the project, they did not. That has since been remedied with another application and I wish the proponents of that project all the best. They have worked for many years—they know who they are—and I applaud them for sticking at it.
These issues around the interface of agriculture and urban development, whether it is the often-had conversation around agriculture or mining, the biggest encroachment we have on agricultural land for all time in this state is urban encroachment. There is absolutely no doubt and we need to have robust planning laws and robust planning legislation and we also need to have sensible legislation.
I have said this in this place before that my father knew every acre—because they were acres back then—between Gepps Cross and Gawler as paddocks. Look at it now. Urban sprawl happens, as does regional sprawl. Look at the disaster of Mount Barker's early years, when the developers took control and it went berserk and infrastructure did not keep up with the development.
I note that the Attorney mentioned the environment and food production areas. Part of the legislation was debated on the birthday—I call it the birthday because it was a big birthday—of the planning act in 2016. I, too, note the extraordinary work by the shadow minister at the time, the former member for Goyder, Steven Griffiths, in bringing multiple papers to our party room on different amendments coming forward. I have mentioned in this place before that the former member for Enfield, former Minister Rau, brought in 300 amendments to his own bill.
An honourable member: Shocking.
Mr PEDERICK: It was outrageous. It was being made up as it went along and this was the full birth date of the planning act, so we were second-guessing on the floor. I cannot imagine how many grey hairs the former member for Goyder got because of this. I know he put countless hours into deciphering what was coming up next from the government of the day—and then it got worse.
There were 50 clauses in committee, which I have mentioned in this place before. Once we debated the bill and it had gone through, at about clause 50 the former member for Enfield threw in the environment and food protection areas. It took multiple questions from me and others as to what that meant. In the end, the former member for Enfield had to admit that it was essentially a replication of the Barossa protected area and the McLaren Vale protected area, and this area went from somewhere around Kapunda right down to Goolwa in the south.
Some people may think that is a great thing, but you end up with all sorts of absurd things that happen around the legislation, where horticulturalists cannot have a second property on their property. I know through the Environment, Resources and Development Committee we remedied that, I think in the Wakefield council, or a council in the northern area. It does create a whole lot of issues. As the member for Schubert rightfully said, 'Where's the opportunity for value-add businesses?' whether it is places like a gin distillery on a barley farm on Yorke Peninsula; opportunities for vignerons, for example, and what they can do on their property; or whether, as I have already said, it is dryland farmers and options they can utilise on their land.
We have this ridiculous situation in my electorate where on one side of the river, if you are in the Rural City of Murray Bridge, the environment and food protection area rules are in play, but if you go over the other side to Coorong District Council, where I reside, they do not come into play. It promotes all sorts of different investment opportunities, and not just investment opportunities but opportunities for the landholder, the person practising agriculture. I am very pleased to see that the review is coming up for the environment and food protection areas. I think it had a five-year sunset clause or a review clause in it, and we will be debating it soon.
We have to be realistic. Yes, we do have to produce food, but we also need to house people during a boom that is happening in regional areas through this time. I am certain that COVID-19 has impacted on the growth of regional areas, whether it is Mount Barker, which is booming away as the fastest growing regional centre in South Australia, or Murray Bridge in my electorate of Hammond, which is the second fastest growing regional centre in South Australia. Mount Gambier would be having the same growing pains in the member for Mount Gambier's electorate. It is a great problem to have, that essentially there is barely a house available. However, when you have a billion dollars worth of development going on, as is happening in my electorate, we have to find houses.
I am having these conversations with relevant bodies and relevant people, but we have a meatworks that is working on the beef project as we speak. The earth is being moved out at Thomas Foods out on Mannum Road, and they will need somewhere around 450 workers when that opens. At the end of the day, they will need 2,000 workers, with another 4½ thousand affiliated jobs revolving around that meatworks, which will be the most modern meatworks in the world.
Apart from that, we have growth in a whole range of areas. Big River Pork has expanded as well. Whether it is Ingham's chickens or Costa mushrooms, the growth is just amazing. That is apart from all the small, medium and larger manufacturers of various industrial goods around the electorate and the service companies that go with all those needs of an electorate.
Another area we need to be concentrating on is rezoning. I certainly know that there is plenty of room inside the town boundaries of Murray Bridge at the moment, bar Gifford Hill, for potentially 3½ thousand housing blocks that can be rezoned. If they are not already in a rezoned area, they need to be rezoned pronto by the local council. Gifford Hill, thankfully, because it was already in place before the legislation of 2016, stayed out of the environment and food protection area—that is where the racetrack is just outside of Murray Bridge—and will have another 3½ thousand opportunities for housing into the future.
Certainly, I concur with what has been said today and I acknowledge the Attorney's comments that people can be essentially subbed on to the commission at any particular point in time. In regard to this bill, if someone with particular agriculture expertise needs to be appointed for certain items, they can be subbed on. I do agree with our position in opposing this bill.