John Barilaro, MP. Photo: Jay Cronan
They are prime rural retreats for Canberra tree-changers and superannuation nest eggs for farmers who fear new planning rules will devalue them.
Member for Monaro John Barilaro will not intervene in Palerang Council's new Local Environment Plan, but will help people who feel they have lost entitlements under the changes.
The new LEP, which will replace six older ones, will be submitted to the NSW Planning Minister next month for adoption following months of consultation, heated debate and redrafting.
Mr Barilaro said the council had appeased some people in the rural shire, but pockets of concern remained, mainly around Bywong, where landholders worried environmental clauses would restrict their farming and de-value their land. ''As soon as you stick an E in front of a zoning, people get concerned. Many of those residents would rather be classified in the R5 zoning,'' Mr Barilaro said.
Bungendore real estate agent John Brady said environmental rules had already had an impact on the owner of a subdivision, who could not agist animals or erect certain types of fencing.
''It's taken three agents two years to sell one block and the gentleman has had to reduce his price by 20 per cent,'' Mr Brady said.
''We sold the block. We are getting people coming out of Canberra [that] want 10 or 20 acres, and you start telling them about encumbrances and covenants over the land, or what will be over the land, and how that varies from land not far away.
''They say, 'Well, why would you want to touch this land? It is tarnished, it is too restrictive.' ''
Mr Barilaro said Palerang mayor Pete Harrison had been upfront with landholders and had worked through individual cases, and the council had been through extensive consultations.
''The Minister will only make changes to an LEP if it is fundamentally flawed. That is going to be very hard to argue at any case,'' Mr Barilaro said.
From the outset Mr Barilaro said he had watched for loss of entitlement or rights under a previous zoning.
''That has to be a foundation of where we start and we work from there. There is going to be compromise and there has been compromise along the way, but I think overall there are still pockets of concern.''
Land uses were crucial for many farmers whose superannuation depended on subdividing and selling land.
Mr Barilaro said zonings may change, but the usage may not, or the land's value.
''In a market where land is still at a premium, it is one of those things that has to be tested,'' Mr Barilaro said.
Mr Harrison has said previously that everything that can be done today on land would be allowed on after the new LEP, but opponents say the new LEP is part of the council's green agenda.