Health Risks Too Great for Keralup

Perth’s growing population should avoid Keralup due to public health risks and contamination to groundwater, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said in Parliament today in a move to stop an urban rezoning proposal.

Greens spokesperson on planning Lynn MacLaren said the Parliament should disallow the metropolitan region scheme amendment that proposes a major clearing at Keralup, a site formerly known as Amarillo between Rockingham and Mandurah, in a loop of the Serpentine River. 

“We can’t keep bulldozing wetlands and filling them in with houses,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“We’ve got to have better planning and permit public scrutiny of changes to the urban environment. 

“Planning projections are way out. I have to question how well the Government understands what’s at stake. Keralup State 1 is not in line with the Government’s own plan – Directions 2031 – on the future face of Perth. The plan for Keralup is not consistent with the plan’s principles for a sustainable city. 

“I have submitted to the government that the only strategic way to use this land is to preserve its integrity as a conservation area. Any development on this site will significantly affect the wetlands chain running the entire length of the Keralup area and beyond. 

“The proposal to develop Keralup is deficient. It’s irresponsible to rezone land before the impacts on surface and groundwater are investigated adequately. 

“The plan also disregards risks to public health by high concentrations of mosquitos. 

“Transport planning decisions need to be made first, such as on the location of a rail station at Karnup.

“There has also been a failure to properly consult with the Keralup Aboriginal Corporation. 

“Although the government claims that proper investigations have been carried out, critical reports are not publicly available including the District Water Management Strategy. If there’s nothing to hide, surely the government can’t be afraid of public scrutiny. 

“The EPA identified significant environmental concerns that should constrain what it possible at Keralup, but it certainly doesn’t provide advice on how to address them. There is a mismatch between the serious concerns raised in the masterplan and the low level of assessment for rezoning Keralup from rural to urban. 

“Indeed, the EPA advised that it all surface and groundwater studies on drainage and nutrient management should be completed before any further planning. 

“You can’t get clearer than that. The EPA went on to say that the data collection is essential to determine the feasibility of any urban development at Keralup. 

“The Peel Preservation Group has detailed major concerns, including that the area is too low-lying to be developed well, the soil is acidic and infertile, and flooding is expected in the area as climate change impacts increase. 

“The Department of Health has advised that mosquito management strategies would only be partially effective at best, and has opposed the Keralup amendment because the risk to public health from mosquito-borne diseases would be unacceptably high. 

“The increase in Perth’s population calls for better use of currently developed land and transport corridors, not flattening nature in places such as Keralup,” concluded Ms MacLaren.