countrylandA CONFUSING resolution, passed by South Gippsland Shire Council last month, seeks to ensure landholders can build on small blocks. A new guideline implemented by the Department of Sustainability and Environment in 2012 recommends prohibiting landholders to build in lots that are in Open Potable Water Catchment Areas. The area covering South Gippsland is approximately 1053 square kilometres – the Tarwin River catchment area, which affects Dumbalk, Meeniyan, Koonwarra, Leongatha, Korumburra and Mirboo North. As a result of the guidelines, homes will not be permitted to be built on lots less than 40ha or within one kilometre of other homes. The guidelines could effectively nullify the rural land use strategy, which was negotiated with the State Government for years. The new guidelines have a priority over other planning objectives and restrict subdivisions, building homes, and building on land that is covered by an environmental overlay. There are currently four exemption categories, but they are not available in South Gippsland Shire. Cr Don Hill successfully convinced councillors to support his confusing motion, which sought to extend the exemption clauses by: investigating a connecting pipeline from Dumbalk and Meeniyan to the Wonthaggi desalination plant, thereby removing the need for these towns to be considered in the potable water catchment area, and negotiate with South Gippsland Water on the necessary requirements for a Catchment Strategy and Municipal Domestic Waste Water Management Plan to satisfy exemptions. After much to-ing and fro-ing over the wording and what was actually required of officers, officers will lobby the Minister for Water Peter Walsh, Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan, Minister for Planning Matthew Guy and Melbourne Water “for a workable solution that will allow use and development in accordance with the shire’s planning scheme and that any future restriction caused by potable water supply be based upon scientific and evidence based research”. See links below:

Council agenda, May 2013:


Department of Sustainability and Environment, planning permit requirements, November 2012:


Open Potable Water Catchment Area guidelines from South Gippsland Shire Council: