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Kaufland – Return Planning Power to Mornington Peninsula Shire

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (19:40): (16) Thank you, Speaker, and can I also add my congratulations on your return to the chair.

I raise a matter for the Minister for Planning. By way of background, the minister has appointed an advisory committee under section 151 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to provide advice on the proposed initial establishment of a number of stores for the German Kaufland company. One of the sites being investigated by the committee is at 1158 Nepean Highway, Mornington.

The committee has been asked to provide a written report to the minister on a number of matters, particularly on whether the site proposed is an appropriate location. That action has the effect of sidelining local councils at each of the locations, but particularly the Mornington Peninsula shire.

So, the action I am seeking from the minister is that he abandon this committee process and return the responsibility for handling the necessary site-specific rezoning at Mornington to the Mornington Peninsula shire.

The site is on the northern boundary of the Mornington urban area, so it is directly opposite the green wedge. It is the main gateway to Mornington. The site is located in an established parkland industrial area, and since the 1970s all buildings have been required to be set back 90 metres from Nepean Highway.

That has had the effect of creating a very pleasant treed landscape, albeit in an industrial area. The land is not zoned for retail use, and indeed it is quite a distance from established retail areas. The current zoning does permit the land to be used for shops but only to a maximum of 1800 square metres.

Interestingly, the proposed main tenant has claimed in an advertisement that has been published in local newspapers this month that the total store area will be 4000 square metres. However, when I add up the various areas on the plans that are currently on the committee’s website, I reach a total of 6700 square metres, so significantly larger. Then there is basement and rooftop parking as well.

Speaker, as you would know, ministerial rezonings are not that common. The last one that occurred in my electorate was when Justin Madden rezoned the industrial land for the Masters development. We all know how badly that ended. Perhaps if the shire had been allowed to actually deal with that application, Masters may still be trading.

This application is a gross overdevelopment, it is on the wrong site and it simply does not stack up. The minister has sidelined the council and he has effectively blocked any serious local input because he knows our councillors will stand up for our community.

So, I call on the minister to abandon his hand-picked committee and to allow the Mornington Peninsula shire and the Mornington community to consider this application on its merits.