EPICENTRE: Shelley St at Burnett Heads has been the centre of controversy.
EPICENTRE: Shelley St at Burnett Heads has been the centre of controversy. Craig Warhurst

MP rejects claim direction was to protect her ocean views

MEMBER for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson has rejected suggestions she should declare a conflict of interest in relation to the Labor Government's direction for Bundaberg Regional Council to amend its planning scheme to limit development at Burnett Heads.

The comments came in response to Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett's suggestion that Ms Donaldson's ocean views from her Burnett Heads house would be impacted by any development on land mentioned in the direction.

"It's no wonder the Member for Bundaberg stepped in to interfere with this particular development, given that her own ocean views are likely to be affected. Shouldn't she declare her conflict of interest?" he said in a letter in today's NewsMail.

On Friday, Planning Minister Jackie Trad advised the council of her concerns about the zoning of beach-side land from 70-174 Shelley St, Burnett Heads, and demanded changes be made to do more to protect turtles.

In June the council approved the subdivision of 70-80 Shelley St from one lot into 12 and Ms Donaldson confirmed she raised concerns with Ms Trad's office on behalf of residents.

But Ms Donaldson said her home was on Sea Park Rd, not Shelley St, and there was no conflict of interest.

"My property does not overlook the development which is a few blocks north and my property is half way down a side street," she said.

"My views will already be impacted by two properties which have been sold and are to be built on closer to Shelley St with or without the rezoning. It will make no difference to me as I will be built out."

Ms Donaldson she only raised concerns about the development application for 70-80 Shelley St when residents asked her to look into the issue.

"A number of people spoke to me informally and I purposely did not attend any meetings," she said.

"I only became involved when someone officially came to my office and that's when I was obliged to look into the issue.

"This is about the turtles not views.

"Any representations I made were about the development, not the planning scheme. This is a blatant misrepresentation of my involvement and a deliberate attempt by Stephen Bennett to take the spotlight off himself."

It was also revealed in yesterday's NewsMail that Mr Bennett had written to Ms Trad in March, also raising concerns about the Shelley St development.

But, he says, he does not agree with Ms Trad's course of action to protect turtles.

The council has until December 16 to provide a submission of response in relation to the Sate Government's direction.

A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning said the decision to request the council change its scheme was based on planning merit following new technical information received from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Department of National Parks.

"Views from adjacent land owners were irrelevant in planning considerations and the decision making process and had no influence on the advice provided to the Deputy Premier," he said.