IF THE community needed further evidence that their Bass Coast Shire Councillors are not up to the job of protecting it, keeping it informed about matters of great importance and helping the area to grow in a sustainable way; it need look no further than the debacle that is the massive Chinese dairy project which has included the tiny town of Kernot in its scope.
Without doubt, in the absence of any direction from its planning department and senior officers, who may have other things on their minds at the moment; our council representatives should definitely have called for the earliest possible public announcement about the plans for Kernot.
Of course, in a vacuum, people get scared and the rumour mill, aided by a new-fangled contraption called the Internet, goes in to meltdown.
If the developers of the project and the shire’s planning department wanted to achieve maximum shock value through an unplanned and disorganised release of scant details about the project – it’s job done!
The community of Kernot is now absolutely petrified and want nothing to do with it.
If however the shire’s planning department, with the complicit, tacit support of our elected representatives, the councillors, simply wanted to slip a secret project through unnoticed by anyone – it’s been a spectacular failure.
Setting aside the issues of foreign ownership, which is nothing new in Australia.
Even setting aside the prospect of imported Chinese labour if you can.
And discounting for a moment the threat such a project might represent to the Australian dairy industry and the amenity of the Kernot community…
This Chinese investment project might actually offer some benefits to this region; bearing in mind that this firm is exploiting problems with the production of milk here and the supply of fresh milk into China that we haven’t previously been able (or allowed) to solve.
And the Chinese investors are going to do it somewhere, allowed by the Abbott Government’s foreign ownership laws, so why not here?
Unfortunately, the council has cruelled the proposal with its own ineptitude and if it does survive this hideous beginning, it will take some doing.
Whatever the outcome, there must be no bottling plant established just outside the tiny town of Kernot – Wonthaggi, Korumburra or Leongatha is the place for that – full stop!
And we should have heard that from the shire’s planners and councillors from the outset.
Bass Coast council not up to it – SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT