Western Port News 9 September 2020

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NEWS DESK Gamblers ‘save’ $34m OBJECTORS to the floating import gas terminal proposed by AGL say that its nearly 3000 metre length and 40m height would dwarf anything In Western Port and have created this image to compare it to central Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station.

‘Emphatic no’ to gas plan Keith Platt keith@mpnews.com.au MOST of the more than 2000 Mornington Peninsula residents who voted in an online poll are opposed to power company AGL’s plans for a floating gas import terminal at Crib Point. The one-week poll held by Mornington Peninsula Shire showed 1932 (93 per cent) residents were against the plan compared to 131 being favour. The poll results follow the shire’s own opposition to the plan and the long running anti-gas terminal campaign by community group Save Westernport. “This emphatic response [through the online poll] from our community aligns with council’s position that the project poses an unacceptable risk to the environment for unproven economic and resource gains,” the mayor Cr Sam Hearn said. “The result also supports the feedback we’ve received expressing significant concern about environmental impacts and the over indus-

trialisation of Crib Point. “The community and council are in lock-step on this issue – we don’t want the AGL project to proceed.” Submissions regarding AGL’s environmental effects statement have now closed and the final decision on the gas terminal will be made by the state and federal governments. Councillor Kate Roper said: “The combination of Ramsar wetlands, migratory bird habitat, the UNESCO Western Port Biosphere Reserve and our special marine and coastal environment all add up to a unique mix of elements far too valuable to risk.” Cr David Gill said the state government should “finally listen to their community and scrapped this project before serious damage is done to Western Port, tourism, the fishing industry and people living and working at Crib Point”. He said the proposed pipeline from Crib Point to Pakenham would jeopardise the viability of farms “and essential food bowl products”. Save Westernport says “record numbers” of Victorians lodging submissions against the EES

include Australian Doctors for the Environment and Westernport Peninsula Protection Council. “Exact numbers have not been made available by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, but Environment Victoria estimates that well over 10,000 people made use of their online resources, and we’re aware of many thousands more who made a submission against AGL’s plans,” the group’s president Candy Van Rood said. In October, a panel selected by the Planning Minister Richard Wynne will hear expert witnesses from the community and AGL via video link due to COVID-19 restrictions. Ms Van Rood said Mr Wynne had decided to go ahead with the hearings “without explaining the need, or urgency of proceeding with this untested format” (“Calls to postpone debate over gas plan” The News 21/7/20). “People who wrote a submission will have to remotely address the Panel with their concerns about the proposal and the environment effects statement that AGL took two years to prepare,” she said.

MORE than $34 million has stayed in the pockets of Mornington Peninsula pokies players prevented from getting their gambling fix during COVID-19 restrictions. Poker machine players across Victoria have saved themselves $1 billion. “COVID-19 is presenting us with a unique opportunity to rethink the dire situation Australia has gotten itself into with the prevalence of gambling,” Alliance for Gambling Reform chief advocate the Reverend Tim Costello said. “Australians lost $25 billion gambling last year – the highest rate of losses per head in the entire world.” The mayor Cr Sam Hearn said gambling-related harm could affect health and community services, education institutions, workplaces and local businesses. “It can take a toll on our personal lives, too, damaging families and straining friendships, especially during these unprecedented times,” Cr Hearn said. “It’s important we support those who may be struggling and are more vulnerable to gambling harm. “Even though people can’t access poker machines during the lockdown, gambling is still accessible online, and we need to support others who may have stopped and are struggling with this change in behaviour.” The Rev Costello said: “Gambling harm impacts more people than most of us realise. The stigma associated with it often prevents people from speaking up or seeking help, and we must overcome this. “As an addictive product, gambling can be sought out by people to self-soothe during times of stress. Gambling is also known to increase during economic crises. This is a major concern right now.” If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with gambling, call Gambler’s Help 1800 858 858 or gamblershelp.com.au Stephen Taylor

Nominate a local hero

2021 Australia Day Local Awards The search is on to find Mornington Peninsula’s most dedicated, generous and community minded people. Do you know someone whose contribution to our community deserves to be recognised? Acknowledge their contribution by nominating them for the 2021 Australia Day Local Awards.

Nominate for: • Citizen of the Year • Young Citizen of the Year • Community Event of the Year Nominations are currently open and close Friday 6 November 2020.

Nominate them now!

mornpen.vic.gov.au/ausdayawards 5950 1137

Western Port News 9 September 2020

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