Desal snub for mayor

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Desal snub for mayor

Manners lacking: Water Minister Tim Holding was at the desalination site spruiking the start of the $4.8 billion desalination plant.

By Jane Ross

STATE Water Minister Tim Holding, has once again snubbed Bass Coast Council and the people of the shire.
Almost a week after construction of the Wonthaggi desalination plant started, Mr Holding turned up to turn the first sod.
His office told mayor Cr John Duscher and CEO Allan Bawden, not to come because they weren’t invited.
The snub has deeply offended councillors, who have spent the past two years treading a fine line between anger at the way the Brumby Government has treated them and trying to ensure that the people of Bass Coast get the best out of the project.
“It’s bad manners and treats us with contempt,” said Cr Duscher.
“It smacks us in the face again. I’m less than impressed.
“It doesn’t say much for proper protocol.”
The mayor has asked Mr Bawden to follow the matter up with the minister’s office and find out why they were excluded.
Cr Duscher said the government and Mr Holding’s office had spouted the importance of community consultation and engagement, but their actions were completely contradictory.
“I would have thought council played a lead role in the
community.”
Cr Duscher said council had been part of the whole process leading up to the construction of the plant and belonged to a council liaison group meeting with the Department of Sustainability and Environment, the project’s
proponent.
“Out of courtesy at least, you’d think we’d be invited,” declared the mayor.
“I know councillors were deeply upset by the snub and the matter will be discussed at the next council meeting.”
Cr Duscher said AquaSure, which is building the plant, told council late the day before Mr Holding’s visit, that he was
coming.
“We were waiting for further details when we were told we were not invited.”
Five heavy excavators, 13 dump trucks, dozers, graders and rollers are moving about 1.1 million cubic metres of earth to excavate the site and create dunes to act as sound and visual barriers.
The $10 million contract for the work has gone to RTL, a mining, civil construction and heavy earthmoving company with its head office in Yallourn. RTL was created in the early 1990s by Roche Mining Pty Ltd, Thiess Pty Ltd and Linfox Resources Pty Ltd.
Thiess is part of AquaSure.
Protestors greeted Mr Holding’s recent visit to Wonthaggi.
Neil Rankine, vice president of Watershed Victoria, said economists had worked out that desalinated water will cost consumers five times the amount they are currently paying.
Better alternatives, such as recycling, have been “locked out for decades”.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=92

Posted by Chris Brown on Oct 13 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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