Lib bid to ban quarry


DRAWINGS by children opposed to the proposed Hillview quarry at Arthurs Seat have been shown in state parliament and included in Hansard.

About 50 children wrote letters and drew pictures last month in a bid to convince Ross Trust board members to abandon their plans to clear 38 hectares of bushland for the proposed quarry which would be 190-metres deep. (“Chorus of young voices add to quarry opposition” The News 18/1/21).

The proposed quarry would be about 800 metres from Red Hill Consolidated School and Monterosso Early Learning Centre in Red Hill, and about 1.9 kilometres from Dromana Secondary School and Peninsula Specialist College.

Liberal resources spokesman Ryan Smith used the drawings to illustrate his speech denouncing the Boundary Road proposal last week, saying later: “It beggars belief that the Andrews government would even be considering a quarry in such a pristine location.

“These pictures tell a poignant story and we owe it to the local kids – the future generation – to preserve the environment in this iconic site.”

In parliament, Mr Smith urged the quarry be scrapped: “With this area being a focal point of the Mornington Peninsula, attracting thousands of tourists each year to enjoy the natural bushland, views and beauty, it is hard to believe that the Andrews government would even be considering a 107-acre quarry on Arthurs Seat, resulting in bushland and thousands of trees being bulldozed.

“The proposed quarry would be the largest on the peninsula … it would cause chaos on local roads, dust throughout the area and disruptive noise to both the school and local residents.

“In early 2020 I attended a public meeting with 350 residents strongly voicing their opposition … and the negative effect it would have on their community.

“When I was environment minister I was proud to stand with the Arthurs Seat community in stopping the-then disused quarry from becoming a landfill, and now, devoid of any support from government, I am proud to stand with the community again.”

Mr Smith was backed up by Mornington MP David Morris who said: “In Parliament this week, I called on the Member for Nepean (Chris Brayne) to stand up for his community and oppose the massive new quarry proposed for Arthurs Seat.

“If [it] goes ahead, 70 million tonnes of granite will be extracted, leaving a massive scar on the southern peninsula landscape.

“Some years ago, a major rubbish dump was proposed for the area, but was promptly rejected by the Liberal government after representations from [former Nepean MP) Martin Dixon and myself.

“Exactly the same thing should have happened with this proposal. The Minister for Planning (Richard Wynne) should have recognised the inherent sensitivity of the site and ruled it out immediately. Instead, he sidelined the Mornington Peninsula Shire and ordered an environment effects statement be prepared.

“A packed public meeting at Dromana 11 months ago showed the level of anger at the minister’s decision, and the total opposition of the community to the plans.

“I was present at that meeting, with my colleague Mr Smith … Mr [Chris] Brayne was not, and [he] has had little to say on the subject since.

“As a government member, he can take the fight to the Minister for Planning and have this grotesque plan rejected once and for all.

Mr Brayne told The News he spoke to Mr Wynne last week about the “community’s concerns” with the quarry plans.

“I continue to be puzzled about why the R E Ross Trust, who consider themselves champions of biodiversity and conservation, would want to push forward with a project like this,” Mr Brayne said.

Hillview CEO Paul Nitas has previously said the continuing EES assessment studies would include possible impact assessments, technical reference group evaluations, community information sessions and go on public exhibition.

“When complete, it will be heard by Planning Panels Victoria [and] we anticipate a decision in the first quarter of 2022,” Mr Nitas said.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 9 February 2021


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