New plan to protect port land

New South Wales ports minister announces new plan for the State's ports

New South Wales Minister for Ports Joe Tripodi has announced a new State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to define port activities and boundaries and streamline investment.

Ports Botany, Newcastle and Kembla will all now be protected under an amendment to the SEPP, which outline land use controls for the three ports, given their significant importance the NSW economy.

Tripodi says the amendment will introduce a consistent planning system across all three ports, protect the ports from new "incompatible" land uses which have the potential to limit operations and zone the ports land and surrounding waterways to accommodate their activities.

"This planning policy consolidates the existing zones and protects industrial land and key transport corridors essential to the operation of the ports," Tripodi says.

"It will provide clearly defined boundaries to allow local government, industry and residents to plan a future in harmony with each of the State’s three major ports.

The Chief Executive of Ports Australia David Anderson called it a "very substantial" move and a "positive step" in ensuring greater certainty in port planning.

"This [the amendment] will have the effect of protecting ports from incompatible land-uses which may restrict the port’s development," Anderson says.

"It further means that port efficiency and increasing throughput can be maintained because the protection of road and rail corridors is also included within the new policy."

Annually, the three ports facilitate close to $75 billion worth of trade, something Anderson says cannot be put in jeopardy.

"The future viability of our ports is becoming increasingly threatened by land use conflicts, not least by residential developments, whose owners then often decide that in retrospect they did not like living in the vicinity of a port," he says.

Tripodi says several amendments were made to the planning policy following public exhibition last year, and he says most submissions from councils and other stakeholders were able to be accommodated in the final version of the policy during this time.

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