On April 9th Gary Blackwood, Member for Narracan, visited the Bunyip North area for an update on the Hanson super-quarry proposal. He agreed with members of the local community that Hanson's quarry is being proposed in the wrong location and was very interested to find out how the EES process was going from the Community's standpoint.
PIC - Gary Blackwood MP standing between local residents Milan Velimirovic (L) and Bill Pearson (R)
The residents, represented by members of the Mt Cannibal and District Preservation Group, brought Gary up to date on the Environmental Effects Study that Hanson is producing for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
This conversation did not take very long as Hanson, the proponent of this super-quarry, has not kept the residents suitably informed as they are required to as part of their Community Consultation Plan.
The residents have no real information to go on and all requests of Hanson for details of their studies have been refused with the response 'this will be available when the EES is completed and provided for public comment sometime in 2019. Some Fact Sheets have been provided but this is totally inadequate.
The residents have been held to ransom for 12 years already and it is blatantly unfair that they will have to wait a further year or more to examine what Hanson has found in the residents' own backyard!
Furthermore it is totally unreasonable that when the EES is completed and provided for public comment there will be only 20 days available to review what will be a huge and technically detailed document.
The residents' group explained to Gary that they want to be represented on the Technical Reference Group, a committee of all government departments involved in the EES, as either a contributor or just an observer, to ensure the community is kept up to date. This request has been constantly refused.
Mr Blackwood was concerned about the lack of Community Consultation and following his unanswered request for clarification from the Minister responsible, Mr Richard Wynne, has undertaken to ask the Minister again for further information.
In addition Mr Blackwood will arrange for a meeting between the residents' group and a number of key opposition members in the Victorian Parliament in May to ensure they are fully briefed on this horrific project proposal.
This was Mr Blackwood's second visit to the area to review this project and we appreciate his engagement and support.