STATE election candidates have been reluctant to back Clean Ocean Foundation’s call for a parliamentary inquiry into ocean pollution and sewerage disposal.
The foundation says the need to upgrade the treatment of waste water has been highlighted by sewage being pumped into the ocean for weeks at Gunnamatta because the South Eastern Treatment plant could not cope during recent heavy rains.
It wants the wastewater treated so it can be used for drinking by humans.
“Once it’s out in the ocean you’ve lost control over it. It’s a dirty conversation, but it’s one we must have,” Clean Ocean CEO John Gemmell said in a letter to candidates.
Gemmell sought backing for the inquiry from “four key candidates” in each of the Mornington Peninsula’s three electorates – Mornington, Hastings and Nepean.
Candidates who said they would back the foundation’s call for an inquiry were Mornington candidates Chris Crewther (Liberal) and Kate Lardner (independent), and Nepean independent Elizabeth Woolcock.
In the Upper House, the Greens said they would be prepared to consider a parliamentary inquiry after the election as they had a policy to promote the drinking of recycled water; the Health Australia Party said it would back a parliamentary inquiry.
Clean Ocean president Peter Smith said the latest discharges at Gunnamatta saw at least 20,000 million litres of effluent enter the ocean “that’s 11 MCGs full of effluent”.