SATURDAY 1 May was a day of celebration for those opposed to the now-withdrawn plan by power company AGL to import liquified natural gas through a terminal at Crib Point.
However, the more than 400 people gathered at Balnarring common to revel in their shared victory were also warned to be wary of governments and vested interests eyeing parts of the Mornington Peninsula’s green wedge for development.
“Governments cannot be trusted to protect Western Port and the peninsula’s green wedge,” Cr David Gill said.
He listed “concerning issues still being pushed by the state and federal governments” as including Kawasaki’s hydrogen gas from brown coal export trial at Hastings; proposed rezoning of bayside land in Hastings to unknown port related uses; the gas pipeline still proposed through Hastings; state government discussions to reduce the green wedge around towns; and the federal government’s proposal for a “huge train station at Baxter that will eliminate the green wedge between Baxter and Somerville”.
Cr Gill said Langwarrin was the “logical” terminus for the electric train line from Frankston “before extending it into Hastings”.
“Vested interests and developers have the ear of governments because they continue to allow donations to political parties. Lobbyists and big money should not override community interests,” he said.
“If they want to keep the community onside then [they should] keep us informed and be transparent about what is really going on.”
However, it there were no shortages of congratulations and smiles among the crowd on common over the defeat of AGL’s gas import terminal project.
State Planning Minister Richard Wynne refused the permit on environmental grounds and last week AGL withdrew its request for a gas import licence from the federal government for the Crib Point site.
Cr Gill praised the work of the groups and “the whole community in fighting for the environment and winning against the huge gas industry”.
Special mentions were made of the Save Western Port Group, Environment Victoria, Western Port and Peninsula Protection Council and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, which spent $300,000 on advocacy and giving expert evidence at the environmental effects hearings.