Widgee rural land use appeal

Landholder appeals Widgee Engineering steel works approval decision


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Widgee Engineering manufacturing plant at Widgee near Gympie.

Widgee Engineering manufacturing plant at Widgee near Gympie.

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An appeal process to the Planning and Environment Court has the potential to redefine rural land use property rights.

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Livestock producers Bill Pukallus and Anna Hobbs-Pukallus will appeal a decision by Gympie Regional Council allowing a steel manufacturing plant to continue operating on rural land across the road from their property. 

On behalf of the Pukullus family, McCarthy Durie Lawyers have lodged the appeal to the Queensland Planning and Environment Court.

The notice of appeal was filed on August 6 and claimed Widgee Engineering’s application, approved by the council on July 9, should be reviewed for its “Material Change of Use” impacts on the neighbouring rural landholder’s property. 

The Gympie Regional Council meeting in April was attended by a large number of Widgee Engineering workers, family and friends.

The Gympie Regional Council meeting in April was attended by a large number of Widgee Engineering workers, family and friends.

The council initially refused an application by Widgee Engineering to operate in its current capacity as a specialised structural steel works development in October 2017 and instead gave the owners, Pete and Di Saal, two years to relocate the business.

A new application was then made to council by Widgee Engineering for a “change application for consent approval under interim development bylaws”, which was approved in April this year by council.

Widgee Engineering owner Pete Saal after the Gympie Regional Council meeting in April.

Widgee Engineering owner Pete Saal after the Gympie Regional Council meeting in April.

The Pukallus family first raised their issues with the neighbouring steel works through a written letter to Gympie Regional Council on September 29, 2015.

The Gympie Regional Council has declined to comment due to the matter potentially being before the Planning and Environment Court. 

Bill Pukallus and Anna Hobbs-Pukallus on their property at Widgee last year.

Bill Pukallus and Anna Hobbs-Pukallus on their property at Widgee last year.

Widgee Engineering’s Di Saal also declined to comment on the matter at this point in time. 

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