Legislation introduced to save Glenelg River structures

Wednesday October 30, 2019

The Border Watch - Sandra Morello

ICONIC STRUCTURES: Legislation has been introduced to save riverside shacks along the Glenelg River.

 

GLENELG River shack owners say they are buoyed the State Government has introduced legislation to secure the future of the riverside structures.

The move follows decades of uncertainty for dozens of shack owners who own leases along the picturesque river.

With many shacks disappearing due to forced demolition or deterioration, shack owners say it appears the river icons will now be saved.

While the process continues to linger, Glenelg River Shacks Association spokesperson Brett Orr said there was now hope on the horizon.

“The introduction of this legislation is the final hurdle for the shacks to be issued with renewable leases, the government is honouring its election commitment to keep these icons of the river,” Mr Orr said.

“This government has never wavered from its commitment to retain shacks and understands the groundswell of support to retain shacks for families and the community.”

He said this meant lessees would have the certainty they have not had for decades.

“It will allow for upgrading shacks to contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards,” Mr Orr said.

“The minister toured the area last year and met with the lessees to assure them this election commitment will be progressed and now we can see all of the work taking shape.”

Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said the government introduced amendments to crown land legislation to help families with life tenure leases to retain their shacks on Crown land and in national parks.

“Many shacks have been held by the same family for generations and these people have a strong connection to the local area, as well as a desire to be good environmental stewards,” Mr Speirs said.

“The government has a commitment to give families greater certainty of tenure, by creating opportunities for shack lessees to convert their existing life tenure lease to another lease or to freehold in exchange for upgrading shacks to meet contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards.

“I will also seek amendments to the relevant park management plans to allow the retention of shacks in parks,” Mr Speirs said.

“This is a vital milestone in the delivery of our government’s promise to shack lessees in South Australia.”

The State Government stopped the previous practice of terminating shack leases upon the death of the last person named on the lease in April last year.

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell also welcomed the introduction of legislation.

“Allowing renewable and transferable tenure under the proposed legislation gives shack owners a greater degree of autonomy and surety and also ends a long period of uncertainty,” Mr Bell said.

“This legislation gives incentives for shack owners to invest in their structures to bring them up to current safety and environmental standards.

“This Bill has my strong support and I welcome any feedback from local shack owners as the legislation progresses.”

There are about 250 shack leases on Crown land and 90 in national parks.