A recent article in a Mornington Peninsula newspaper, detailed attacks on the Andrews State Government by State and Federal Liberal MPs, Messrs Burgess and Hunt, over a ‘secret plan’ to ship brown coal from the Latrobe Valley, for gasification at a proposed plant at Hastings for onward shipment to Japan.
The above gentlemen’s concern for Hastings and its international Ramsar environment treaty protected surrounds would be commendable, if it was not a glaring example of the worst case of hypocrisy in Western Port since the Henry Bolte ”Western Port will be the Ruhr of the South” days, back in the 60s.
Given Mr. Burgess and the Liberals continue to advocate for a massive container port at Hastings, perhaps they would care to explain how 6000 x 60,000 tonne container ship movements per year, is a better future for Western Port than the ‘secret coal plant’.
This via a heavily dredged, (24 million cubic metres), expanded port limit, with the resultant devastating impact on the $2 billion per annum total, existing economic input to the Western Port wide economy (Tourism $1 billion, recreational fishing $600 million, agriculture in the Bunyip Food Bowl circa $400 million).
Furthermore, as I am sure Mr. Burgess is aware, parts of his electorate, (e.g. Warneet and Cannons Creek), are already under threat of inundation and erosion, without the impact of much faster running tides that would result via dredging for the container port.
Not that anyone who cares about Western Port would favour the coal plant in the first instance, for as several State Government landmark environment reports since early 2015 have stated, Western Port Bay is far too fragile for any kind of expanded industrial development. And given at least the Bass Coast area of Western Port is already the “second most tourism dependent economy in the country”, (as Liberal MP for Bass Brian Paynter, put it so eloquently to me in a letter back in February, 2016, “no government would jeopardize this important sector of Victoria’s economy”; yes, well, quite so).
Perhaps Messers Burgess and Paynter need to meet at Tooradin for a coffee to sort out who is right here!
Kevin Chambers, The Gurdies.