THE State Government and the South Gippsland Shire Council have teamed up to protect an industry that employs 100 people in the shire and is worth $50 million annually.
New planning controls will be introduced to stop housing development encroaching into areas where sand, gravel and rock extraction take place.
It will also stop quarries from spreading out beyond their limits.
The South Gippsland Shire is ranked the most critical quarry resource location in the state.
It is expected to supply 22 per cent of Victoria’s sand and gravel and 34 per cent of its hard rock to 2050. Eighty per cent of South Gippsland’s quarry supply goes to areas of high demand in Greater Melbourne.
Minister for Resources Tim Pallas headed to the Hanson Quarry between Lang Lang and Nyora on Friday to launch the pilot project.
He said it will help protect communities and ensure ongoing access to the rock, gravel, sand and other resources needed to build the infrastructure of today and tomorrow.
“We’re ensuring quarries around the state are ready to supply raw materials for the new railways, roads, houses, hospitals and schools being built.
“We need a ready supply of resources extracted from quarries now and for the future as Victoria grows.”
Through the project, the State Government will partner with South Gippsland Shire and Wyndham City councils to undertake geoscientific investigations, to identify high quality extractive resources.
An inventory of natural, cultural, community and other land uses – including rail and road transport routes – will also be compiled.
The information gathered over the next 12 to 18 months will be assessed to determine the best way to secure extractive resources and quarry operations, while maximising liveability with local neighbourhoods.
“Because rock, gravel and sand weigh tonnes, it’s critical these extracted raw materials come from places near transport routes to building sites, to keep the construction costs down,” Mr Pallas said.
The former rail line to Leongatha runs close to the sand quarries in the area, but Mr Pallas said reinstating the line to move the materials was not under consideration.
A landmark report published last year projected that Victoria’s population growth and urban development will nearly double the demand for rock, gravel and sand by 2050 above recent levels of production.
“The pilot project will help ensure quarries can supply these raw materials well into the future, unimpeded by conflicts with urban encroachment.
“Our record investment in infrastructure is creating jobs, opportunity and demand for raw materials.
“We want to secure quarry resources of strategic importance from urban encroachment and keep transport and building costs down, while ensuring harmony with existing and future land uses.
“The best way to achieve this is to partner with local governments to identify crucial natural resources, examine the planning provisions and get the balance right between the resources industry and local liveability.”
South Gippsland Shire CEO Tim Tamlin said the planning controls would include buffer zones, and he was already thinking about ways in which these zones could be put to use.
He said he’d spoken with members of a nearby gun club who were concerned their club would be forced to move due to quarry expansions.
“A gun club could be a suitable use in the buffer zone, and so too, for example, could be a mountain bike club.”
There are numerous quarries in the area on the border of the South Gippsland, Bass Coast and Cardinia shires.
Around half are independent operators, and the others are majors.
All sectors of the quarrying industry will be represented on the taskforce that develops the inventory.
Hanson Construction and Building Supplies has one of the smaller quarries in the area. It’s on 50 hectares, and creates up to 40 truck movements a day. It employs 10 people at the site, but 1000 people state wide
Controls protect our $50m boom industry