Planning Minister Desley Boyle yesterday announced her endorsement of the Bowen Shire scheme. She said the plan outlined ways to accommodate projected growth in the shire while protecting local farming land, areas of environmental value and cultural heritage sites.
Bowen Shire's population currently sits at about 12,500 people but could rise to more than 14,000 over the next 10 years depending on the potential for approval of the massive CHALCO alumina project at Abbot Point and expansion of the local mining and farming industries.
“The new planning scheme focuses new residential development around the existing towns of Bowen and Collinsville rather than spreading it across the shire,” Boyle said.
“This will allow new residents to take advantage of existing services and infrastructure, saving Bowen Shire Council money in the process.”
Boyle also announced the State Government's endorsement of Mackay City Council's new planning scheme.
She said the key focus of the planning scheme was to safeguard the economic, cultural and environmental future of the city.
The plan identifies new urban areas to accommodate Mackay's growing population, which is expected to increase from 79,824 in 2004 to 86,500-89,700 people in 2011.
“Rural-residential living is a lifestyle choice for many people, but left unchecked can cause major problems in terms of providing community services. The new planning scheme will only allow rural-residential subdivisions in specific areas: Eton, Walkerston, Farleigh, Nindaroo, Habana, The Leap, Seaforth, Bloomsbury and Midge Point,” Boyle said.