Controversial quarry plans ditched in massive win for people power
The Save Arthurs Seat campaign has welcomed the decision by philanthropic charity The Ross Trust to ditch plans for a controversial quarry on Arthurs Seat.
“This is a win for people power, it’s a win for the environment, it’s a win for the Victorian community as a whole,”
says Dr Mark Fancett, President of the Peninsula Preservation Group.
“This was a crazy idea from the start. It was hypocritical for the Trust to be the developer of a massive quarry on bushland on Arthurs Seat at the same time as being a charity with a mission of protecting biodiversity. There will be rejoicing on the Mornington Peninsula today and all across Victoria.”
Today’s decision ends a hard-fought eight-year battle to protect Arthurs Seat for the benefit of all Victorians. In 2013, the EPA rejected plans by the trust to establish a rubbish tip on the land, which sits between two sections of State Park on the north-facing slope of Arthurs Seat. In 2018 the Trust lodged an application to extract stone from 43.4 hectares (107 acres) of the 83.5 hectare site. The 43.4 hectares is the equivalent of 21 MCGs.
Dr Fancett said the Trust now needed to start genuine consultation with the State Government and the community about returning the land for public use. Dr Fancett rejected claims by Trust chairman Jeremy Kirkwood that the campaign had overstepped the mark.
“This was a grassroots campaign that simply pointed out the hypocrisy of an environmental charity becoming a mining developer. We acted ethically and responsibly at all times – the Trust just didn’t like us pointing out uncomfortable truths.”
Dr Fancett also rejected claims the decision would impact the State’s “Big Build” infrastructure program. He said a report for the Victorian Government demonstrated that there are ample alternative resources available, closer to where they will be needed. The new Hillview quarry did not rank in the top 15 most strategic quarry sites.