Greed wins over need to protect environment in disappointing outcome for Lemnos Street bushland

Greens Member for North Metropolitan Hon Alison Xamon MLC has renewed her call for urgent reform to the planning system, following the “extraordinarily disappointing saga” of the Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital site development approvals process.

Speaking in Parliament this week, Ms Xamon said the community had fought a committed campaign to save the ecological linkage between Underwood Avenue and Shenton Park Bush Forever sites, only to lose out at the final stage of the process.

Ms Xamon said greed had ultimately won over bushland and approved planning schemes since the West Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) allowed an amended plan from developer LandCorp which includes two buildings on the disputed patch of bushland at Lemnos Street.

She said the outcome again highlighted the flaws in the planning system.

“After investigating the matter thoroughly, as the community and City of Nedlands had already done, the statutory planning committee removed the building envelopes from the linkage bushland and required the fireplan to be re-done,” Ms Xamon said.

“It was the right decision – it was what the community wanted and needed, what the City of Nedlands had repeatedly asked for and what the Department of Planning’s own research had shown was needed.

“It was a no-brainer.

“However, LandCorp requested that the decision be reviewed by the WAPC and the two buildings were ultimately accepted as part of the amended plan.”  

Ms Xamon said the Greens had long advocated for a third party rights of appeal in planning decisions and would continue to highlight the lack of options for the community when planning and development decisions had a negative impact.

She said building a sustainable and future-proof Perth would not be possible if the rules around protecting functioning bushland and ecological linkages, were not able to be enforced.

“The whole saga has been extraordinarily disappointing and has absolutely highlighted how problematic our planning processes are,” Ms Xamon said.

“It is beyond time that we put into practice our words about protecting the unique environmental heritage of place in which we live.”