MINISTER for Urban Development, Planning and the City of Adelaide John Rau says a new planning strategy for the Limestone Coast aims to foster a more diverse regional economy.
Visiting the Limestone Coast last week, Mr Rau said the Limestone Coast Region Plan contains policies and principles to protect and manage the region's natural assets and existing industries, while allowing communities to grow and new industries to expand.
The Limestone Coast Region Plan guides future land use and development in the region and is one of seven regional volumes that, together with The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, make up the South Australian Planning Strategy.
The plan was produced by the South Australian Government, through the Department of Planning and Local Government, in collaboration with the Limestone Coast Regional Development Board, the South East Local Government Association, the South East Natural Resources Management Board and the seven councils of the region.
The government's formal adoption of the plan means it has statutory effect and will provide direction to local councils and the private sector.
"The Limestone Coast is a fast-growing area, and the plan lays the groundwork to realise the region's enormous economic potential," Mr Rau said.
The Limestone Coast region covers an area of around 21,400 square kilometers and has a population of around 65,4004 (2008 estimate). Mr Rau said the region's largest city, Mount Gambier, with a current population of approximately 23,500, is well positioned to become one of the state's principal growth centres.
The Minister said the land use arrangements within the plan aimed to encourage initiatives that would help retain the special qualities of the region while fostering vibrant and distinctive towns.
"To achieve that, it identifies where housing, population and industry growth is best located – and not located," he said.
According to the government, the Limestone Coast Region Plan aims to:
- Promote industrial growth, particularly in Mount Gambier, Naracoorte, the Katnook industrial area near Penola, Snuggery, Bordertown, Keith, Kingston and Millicent;
- Manage growth to protect and enhance natural assets and existing industry;
- Foster small, micro and home-based businesses;
- Assist primary production industries to adapt to increasing variations in climate and water availability and to become more sustainable;
- Strengthen the roles of Mount Gambier as the major regional centre; Naracoorte and Millicent as major commercial and service centres; Bordertown, Kingston and Penola as supporting commercial and service centres; and Keith, Robe, Beachport and Port MacDonnell as local and visitor commercial/service centres;
- Strengthen the tourism industry by building on the region's natural and cultural assets;
- Protect areas of environmental and conservation significance;
- Retain built heritage and link it with tourism, especially in Robe, Kingston, Beachport, Port MacDonnell, Penola and Mundulla; and
- Support and strengthen emerging industries, including the renewable energy (particularly wind) sector.
The Department of Planning and Local Government will work with councils and Regional Development Australia, Natural Resource Management Boards and regional Local Government Association representatives to prepare an action plan for implementing short, medium and long-term priorities.
These action plans will be developed as part of regional forums to be held in South Australian Government regions during 2011 and 2012.
A copy of the Limestone Coast Region Plan is available online <http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Housing,+property+and+land/Building+and+development/South+Australia's+land+supply+and+planning+system/South+Australia's+land+and+development+planning+strategy/Plans+for+regional+South+Australia>.