Dear Mr Hunt,
Once again, I must take you to task for “playing politics” with the vital economic and environmental future of Western Port Bay in relation to the Hastings Container terminal proposal.
This is glaringly exemplified on two counts.
Firstly, you were again quoted in Phillip Island Advertiser (September 24), with another dismal attempt to draw comparisons between Hastings and the ALP’s Bay West proposal. This was due to the actions of Karri Giles, President of the Western Port and Peninsula Protection Council, (WPPPC) in taking the Hastings Port proposal to the Ramsar Convention HQ in Switzerland.
Since when is this a relevant factor in the Hastings debate, especially since, to again quote you wearing your ‘Federal Environment Minister’s hat’, you do not “have a proposal before you” on either project?
So Napthine and Co spending $110 million of our taxpayer’s money on Hastings feasibility studies is not a “proposal”?
And as for getting the States to “satisfy you that they will qualify for the One Stop Shop” proposals, (AKA, you washing your hands with anything to do with the Hastings Project), please treat your Flinders electors with some respect.
Especially since you already have a draft agreement on this matter with Napthine and Co and it is common knowledge that the Abbott Government cannot wait to devolve these powers so their development mad mates, (led by the above spinmeisters) , can go for their lives.
Whilst doubtless Ms Giles and her partner also travelled to Europe for other more pleasurable reasons, if you had done the correct thing in the first place and stood up to Napthine and co on behalf of your Flinders electors, instead of meeting with the Ramsar Secretariat, and “having a perfect right to say whatever she wants, to whomever she wants”, perhaps Ms Giles could have done something else more in line with her holiday plans on that day.
If I’m wrong on the “One Stop Shop” issue, then come out and immediately tell us you will exempt the Hastings Port proposal from these provisions and assess it under the Federal law you keep sprouting about. Next edition of any of the local papers would be nice.
Secondly, in responding to the article in the Sentinel Times (September 23), where I illustrated the extreme storm surge damage to the eastern side of Western Port, you trotted out the “no proposal for Hastings” excuse again and intimated that your new Green Army could be the “saviour” of this area.
Tho’ I have severe doubts even this would work under existing conditions, you said not a “penguin peep” how you would expect the said Green Army to cope with the massive task of controlling the much increased coastal erosion caused by faster tidal flows, arising from the massive dredging required to make the Hastings proposal viable.
You’d need every living Green Army soul in Australia and millions of dollars your “Federal Budget Emergency” does not have to even make a skerrick of difference.
You have a perfect example of this via correspondence from me, vividly illustrating what happened to the San Remo Back Beach after the new bridge was built in the late ‘60s.
Large sections of this area simply do not exist anymore and a $700,000, one kilometre rock wall has had to be built to protect the balance.
To add insult to injury, you stated that the Green Army project “would enhance the landscape and environmental values of Phillip Island and Bass Coast, providing greater amenity for local residents whilst boosting wildlife habitats”.
Oh dear. Seems you have caught a bad dose of “Napthine/Hodgett Spin Syndrome”. Nasty little bug that one.
Those infected come out with all sorts of outlandish statements.
The above words are precisely why several groups of your electors are fighting the Hastings port proposal, in order to maintain the very same above values (eg., Preserve Western Port and the WPPC).
So let’s once and for all dispense with the evasion of the dredging issue and “no proposal” word semantics, should the Hastings “non-proposal” ensue, what as our local Federal member are you going to do to protect the 5,000 (and 1/3 of Bass Coast employment) tourism related jobs plus the $600million per annum attributed to this source?
To this we must add the $500million per annum attributed to Western Port recreational fishing and boating – a grand total of $1.1billion per annum.
This is a wonderful opportunity to live up to your 2013 pre-election promises to “protect Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula from inappropriate development” and “we live in a wonderful part of the world and I am passionate about protecting it”. (Core or non core?)
Hint: Supporting Bass Coast Shire Council’s call for an independent economic and environmental analysis of the Hastings proposal would be a good place to start.
Failure to do so will put you firmly in the “Napthine/Hodgett build Hastings and stuff Bass Coast/Phillip Island” camp.
Last but not least, you stated you would again come to the Waterline communities. Your staff have my contact details, name the time and place and at least myself or another one of your electors will be there.
Kevin Chambers, The Gurdies