Community wins Upper Swan Bitumen fight

Community wins Upper Swan Bitumen fight  Main Image

10 June 2020

Picture: David Watts, Lyn Watts, Evelyn Oversby, Jessica Shaw MLA, Ann Winchester, Jan Benaim.

Media Release: Community wins Upper Swan Bitumen fight

Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw has welcomed the rejection of a planning scheme amendment 150 to the City of Swan’s Local Planning Scheme No. 17 that would have permitted a bitumen batching plant in Upper Swan, and has praised local community members for their tireless work opposing the project.

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has today accepted the WA Planning Commission’s recommendation to refuse the project on Great Northern Highway, ending a three year battle for the local community.

The Minister determined that the proposed additional use of Industry General was inconsistent with both the strategic intent of the Draft City of Swan Local Planning Strategy as well as the WAPC’s North-East Sub-regional Planning Framework.

Ms Shaw and the Upper Swan District Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc have been fighting the proposal, arguing that industrial activities are inappropriate, given the extent of residential development in the area. Residents frequently complained about acrid smells that burnt their throats and destroyed the enjoyment of their homes.

The outcome is the result of an extraordinary local community effort. Residents, ratepayers and USDRRA committee members have researched the planning process and bitumen processing to understand Australia-wide safety practices and compliance. They have also undertaken extensive lobbying, including petitioning the Legislative Council; discussions with, and correspondence submitted to various relevant government bodies, Members of Parliament, councillors for the City of Swan, the Environmental Defenders Office of WA; attendance at and deputations to City of Swan Council Meetings; articles in community news; letterbox drops and door knocking.

Comments Attributed to Jessica Shaw MLA:

“This issue was raised with me when I was first elected back in 2017. So many Upper Swan locals have been complaining about the noise and odour coming from the site.

“We have been highlighting to State and Local authorities how inappropriate bitumen batching is, so close to people’s homes.

“The community refused this project and now the State Government has stopped it. Industrial activities should happen in industrial areas. Not in people’s front yards.

“I would like to thank the tireless efforts of Ann Winchester and Jan Benaim of the Upper Swan District Ratepayers and Residents Association for their tireless advocacy. This outcome demonstrates what our community can achieve when we work together.”

Comments attributed to Anne Winchester, USDRRA:

“This is a great result for our community. Since the application was submitted to the City of Swan in August 2017, our community has been lobbying to have the proposed amendment refused.

“We felt a bitumen processing plant would have been out of place and would have been totally incompatible with the rural and residential amenity within Upper Swan.

“Over the past four years residents have voiced their disapproval of the activities already being carried out at the site. The odours produced adversely impact the health of residents and limit outdoor activities.

“We are also concerned about the traffic flow and safety on the highway, the potential for fires, and the potential for environmental pollution of the nearby wetlands. It blocks the beauty of the Darling Range foothills which are the backdrop to the Swan River valley.

“We were fearful that approval would encourage other similar industries at the very edge of within our rural/residential townsite.”

Media contact:

Jessica Shaw MLA, Member for Swan Hills: 9296 7688