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Minister’s red flags on housing expansion in Adelaide’s south

Health Minister and southern suburbs MP Chris Picton raised resident concerns about his government’s push to rezone greenfield land in Hackham for new housing, saying medical services “are already stretched and difficult to access” and public transport would need to be improved.

Feb 17, 2023, updated Feb 17, 2023
Image: Tom Aldahn/InDaily

Image: Tom Aldahn/InDaily

Planning Minister Nick Champion last month approved a state government-initiated code amendment to rezone 235 hectares of rural land in Hackham and Old Noarlunga to allow construction of 2000 new homes.

The rezoning formed part of a major government housing announcement on Sunday aimed at creating 23,700 new suburban dwellings via land rezonings in Hackham, Sellicks Beach, Dry Creek and Concordia.

The Hackham code amendment is the only rezoning approved so far. The proposal was open to public consultation from May 31 to July 26 last year.

Picton, who represents the southern suburbs seat of Kaurna which takes in adjacent Old Noarlunga and Noarlunga Downs, wrote to Planning and Land Use Services on July 25 last year to outline concerns about the rezoning from the Old Noarlunga Community Residents Association (ONCRA).

According to PlanSA’s summary of consultation, there were 312 submissions about the code amendment, with ONCRA submitting “a response outlining several existing concerns and how the proposal may exacerbate these issues to the detriment of the locality”.

“It should be noted that the Hon Chris Picton MP, Member for Kaurna also made a submission supporting ONCRA’s submission,” it said.

In his letter, Picton states that he is “writing on behalf of the Old Noarlunga Community Resident(s) Association, to address their concerns regarding the Hackham Zone Amendment”.

The concerns are broken down into three categories: transport, environmental and services.

Under the transport section, Picton wrote: “The existing road infrastructure has not been upgraded to keep up with the demand of the new housing developments in the surrounding suburbs, resulting in bottlenecks on South Road, through Port Noarlunga and Seaford.”

“With the significant increase of traffic through the township and surrounding roads that the new development will bring, the residents raise concern around Emergency Vehicle access being impeded, including during natural disasters.”

Picton said the residents of Old Noarlunga seek that “construction of the new road infrastructure is carried out prior to the construction of the… houses, to ensure that the existing issues are not further compounded”.

Under the list of environmental concerns, Picton wrote: “The construction of such a large number of houses will create a significant amount of storm water runoff, which, without retention ponds, will likely be diverted into the Onkaparinga River.”

“With the land being the last section of open greenspace and pioneer faming land in the area, the residents are concerned that it will become a city of retaining walls with limited greenspace left.”

Under the list of services concerns, Picton wrote: “Services in Old Noarlunga are limited and not designed to cater to the large volume of visitors that the development will create.”

“The existing services, such as Market Square Reserve, are already overwhelmed by a large number of visitors, resulting in limited parking being available to residents and their guests during peak periods.

“Medical services in the Southern Suburbs are already stretched and difficult to access.

“Public transport routes would need to be improved, with additional parking at the surrounding train stations required.”

He wrote that Old Noarlunga residents seek “forward planning for public transport to increase access and services to match the increase in population”.

Picton concluded: “As such, I seek that the concerns and suggestions raised by the residents of Old Noarlunga be included as part of the submissions for the Hackham Code Amendment.”

A map of the Hackham code amendment areas. Image: PlanSA

InDaily asked Picton’s office whether the concerns outlined in his letter had been addressed during the code amendment process.

In a statement, Picton responded: “As a local MP it is my role to represent my constituents, and when residents from my electorate raise concerns with me I raise them with the relevant minister and department.”

“I am pleased a number of amendments were made to the proposal as a result, including improved provisions around sloping land and open space, identifying future traffic requirements and providing more flexibility on where the activity centre will be located to best suit residents’ needs.  

“The Malinauskas Labor Government is doubling the number of beds at Noarlunga Hospital to meet the increasing health care demands in the area.

“However, it is clear that access to GPs is an ongoing issue, as it is across the country, and we raising our concerns with the Federal Government through National Cabinet.”

According to a social infrastructure investigation compiled last year by planning consultancy Holmes Dyer, the Hackham code amendment could add 4720 new residents to the local population, requiring the provision of an additional 13 to 18 hospital beds and 90 aged care beds.

It also found that upon completion of residential development, there could be demand for 5.2 extra doctors.

However, the report concluded that the “requirement for higher order health and medical services (hospital) are not triggered by the proposed Code Amendment”.

“A new population at Hackham is expected to provide opportunity for additional medical centre-GP clinic and aged care accommodation,” it said.

“The proposed Master Planned Neighbourhood Zone can accommodate such uses.”

The Holmes Dyer report also found building 2000 new homes would add 392 primary school students and 330 secondary school students, but “the requirement for a new Government school is not triggered by the proposed rezoning” as there is sufficient capacity in existing schools.

Of the 312 submissions to Planning and Land Use Services about the Hackham code amendment, more than 40 per cent were concerned about inadequate provision of physical and social infrastructure.

Planning Minister Nick Champion has said that interim infrastructure deeds between developers, landholders and the government will be signed off before any development takes place on the newly rezoned land in Hackham.

Asked to comment on Picton’s July 25 letter, Champion said in a statement: “The Malinauskas Government is determined to deliver the single largest release of residential land in the state’s history, and Hackham is an important first step.”

“The new Infrastructure Planning and Development Unit – announced as part of the Government’s A Better Housing Future plan – will be tasked with coordinating the provision of utilities and infrastructure at rezoned sites like Hackham to help ensure residents have appropriate infrastructure and services when they move in.

“Accordingly, construction of any development will start after detailed planning takes place with landowners, council and utility providers.

“Policy has also been put in place to address design requirements for sloping land and minimise environmental impact and stormwater run-off on surrounding areas such as the Onkaparinga River National Park, as part of the code amendment process.

“This follows extensive public and stakeholder consultation to address concerns raised and help shape the housing reforms.”

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