Sledge hammer

To those residents left feeling bitter by the Mt Barker Ministerial Development Plan Amendment process, the State Government’s new McLaren Vale and Barossa Protection District planning laws must appear as a mechanism to placate  disgruntled voters. However, they appear to be draconian and clumsy.
For the people around Kersbrook caught up in the Barossa Protection District, the new laws introduced in September last year have added another layer of restrictions, bureaucracy and cost to living and working in a rural region that already has some of the strictest planning laws in SA thanks to watershed concerns.
Many would have been stunned to find out their properties were even considered by the Government to be part of the Barossa.
As the Adelaide Hills Council points out, the area might be part of the Gawler River catchment but its character, history and farming is very different to the Barossa.
It is part of the Torrens Valley and its residents have played sport, gone to school, voted, socialised, worshipped and farmed as part of that district.
As a tool to stop urban encroachment, the Barossa Protection District takes a sledge hammer to a tack.
The irony is that the district doesn’t protect the wider region with residential expansion mooted for Mt Torrens, Birdwood and Mt Pleasant – and the latter has arguably more character in common with the Barossa than Kersbrook.

Poor standard

The Australian public has every right to feel let down by our Federal politicians.
For far too long the standard of debate on both sides of the chamber has been well below what the electorate deserve.
The issues of national importance have largely been sidelined in recent times by the circus surrounding Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson.
Largely of its own making the Gillard Government appears headed for electoral oblivion. This is despite returning the budget to surplus and governing at a time of both low interest rates and levels of unemployment.
The albatross around its neck is the carbon tax and the way in which it has been introduced.
It would appear the Opposition has to do little between now and the next election.
To be fair the Opposition is there to oppose but it is also there to establish itself as a credible alternative. In this aspect it has also been lacking – Tony Abbott’s budget reply speech is a case in point.
Does anyone remember the heartfelt way both leaders agreed to lift the standards after the last election?