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Residents refuse to give social licence for new quarry

Daniel Fyfe

Last night more than 80 residents from Bunyip and Garfield gathered at the Bunyip Hall to hear a community update on the status of Hanson’s quarry proposal for Bunyip North.

They heard that Hanson now holds a 691 acre site in the middle of agricultural and residential properties, in an area set amidst native bush land containing significant native animal and plant species.

Invasive plans by Hanson to turn this clean & green area into a granite quarry would have a huge impact on local surrounding communities. The proposal would see the quarry extract 2 million tonnes a year of granite which would be run as a 7 day a week operation with regular and continual blasting and crushing taking place. Other concerns include: 550 truck movements a day and significant water usage and impact on the water table and nearby surface water that is relied on by local residents and farmers.

The size of the proposed super quarry means the impact would be felt across many neighbouring areas as the quarry would occupy around the same land space as the 3 pre-existing quarries in the area combined.

“Our communities are expressing many valid concerns about this super quarry proposal which includes the size, the potential for water contamination and impact on water supply, noise and vibration from blasting and air pollution from dust including silica that has been found to have human health impacts” said David Bywater, from Mt Cannibal & District Preservation Group

“Many of us also have grave concerns for the Mount Cannibal Reserve which is right next door to the site, this is an ecologically valuable area and should be preserved and protected”

“The proposed quarry is clearly in the wrong location and the community has not given a social licence for Hanson to come into the district, construct this SUPER QUARRY and permanently damage this important and diverse landscape.”

“At the close of the meeting we asked those in attendance for a showing of hands as to who would like to stop this quarry and nearly every hand in the hall went up. We are committed to continuing this fight to protect our community, environment, water, farmland and health from this invasive and inappropriate mining proposal.”

An EES (Environmental Effects Statement) is being started by Hanson in 2017 so that the Planning Minister can undertake a well-informed assessment of this proposal, and address his concerns about the potential for negative impacts on biodiversity, hydrology, groundwater and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.

The residents welcomed this development and will engage with both the Minister and Hanson during the assessment however they have also resolved that they will undertake actions to actively and continuously oppose the quarry proposal and not allow it to proceed.

“Our views are being communicated to State Government Ministers and we look forward to positive future engagement with our elected politicians on this vital community issue.”

“We will continue to get informed, get noisy and get active to protect this beautiful part of Gippsland” said Mr Bywater.

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