AGL under fire for sponsorships

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POWER company AGL’s corporate logo is increasingly being attached to a growing number of community activities on the Mornington Peninsula.

As well as sponsoring the Hastings Gift foot race in November, the company has bought the naming rights to the Peninsula Film Festival (at Rosebud on Saturday, 2 February) and the following day’s Musiqua Festival on Hastings foreshore.

The Mornington Peninsula News Group, publisher of this newspaper, is also a major sponsor of the film festival.

AGL says it is “common” for it to be approached for support by groups “when we start operating in a community”.

AGL spokesperson Mike Duffy said support would be expected “if our project went ahead”.

“At no stage have we asked the festival organisers to support our proposed project or distribute information about the project at the festival.”

Members of Save Westernport say they will be at both events “with a peaceful and informative presence”.

“By associating their brand with summer events, it looks like AGL is attempting to distract attention from their recent negative headlines and growing opposition to their plan to import and process LNG in the internationally protected wetlands of Western Port,” Save Westernport assistant secretary Julia Stockigt said.

“We’ll be handing out water and postcards and chatting with festival goers interested in knowing more about AGL and their inappropriate plans for beautiful Westernport Bay,” one of the group’s founding members Candy Van Rood said.

Save Westernport has also pointed out that the film festival coincides with World Wetlands Day, “a day dedicated to the celebration and awareness of this essential but often under-valued ecosystem that is right on our doorstep”.

Ms Stockigt said Crib Point is “notoriously difficult to evacuate and prone to bushfires”. “AGL is asking the public to disregard the project’s risks and their own poor safety record and have confidence in their ability to safely operate an enormous floating gas plant in the shallow waters and fast-moving tides at Crib Point,” she said.

Ms Stockigt said concerns about the gas import terminal include the volatility of LNG.

“The danger of accidents involving fire, explosion or leak would be a constant threat that could reduce the value of local properties and make them difficult to insure,” Ms Stockigt said.

“Enormous volumes of seawater are needed to heat the frozen gas. The seawater would be chlorinated, then dumped back into the bay seven degrees colder.”

First published in the Western Port News – 30 January 2019

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