It is not my intention to speak at length on this issue this afternoon as I made
a fairly lengthy contribution when this matter was before the house on 11 March
2009. What I would like to do is provide a report to the house on a number of
things that have happened since 11 March. The first was on Monday, 17 March,
when I received a phone call from a representative of One Voice One Bridge, who
requested a meeting in my office. I facilitated that meeting to occur early the
following morning. It was a good and quite refreshing meeting, to say the very
least. A number of requests were made of me, which I have fulfilled in full. One
request was to facilitate a meeting with the Minister for Roads and Ports, Tim
I was able to do that, and that meeting took place last Friday.
It has been reported to me by the minister’s staff as well as the community
members that were present at that meeting that it was a cordial and respectful
meeting, and there was an opportunity to go through the issues. A new proposal
was put to the minister.
I would like to state for the record that I was also provided
with a copy of that new proposal. I took the opportunity to go down to Barwon
Heads on Sunday to visually match in my mind those drawings and that proposal.
It is quite helpful in terms of having a greater understanding of that later
The president of the Barwon Heads Association and the
chairperson of the Ocean Grove Community Association were in attendance at the
meeting that was held on Friday. As I understand it, they were also at the
meeting that was held yesterday with VicRoads and Heritage Victoria.
I am advised that that meeting also was cordial and respectful.
A number of options were put, and there were fulsome responses to a whole range
of ideas. I am also informed that that meeting was a fairly lengthy meeting and
that, whilst no agreement was reached, people were satisfied that they actually
had their views and their opinions heard in every sense.
Members of Western Victoria Region also received an email
yesterday from the chairperson of the Ocean Grove Community Association and the
president of the Barwon Heads Association. I believe Colleen Hartland also
received a copy of that email. The major point in that email was the need for
members of this house to try to come up with a solution to progress this issue.
It essentially asked us not to enter into political point scoring and to resolve
the issue in an apolitical atmosphere. Unfortunately the motion before
us today is anything but apolitical. I certainly do not think it is what the
authors of the email had in mind, because the motion we have in front of us this
afternoon is clearly party-political. It clearly attacks the minister and does
not add anything whatsoever to the debate, and it certainly does not offer any
positive avenues for us. As I said, it certainly does not express the sentiments
in yesterday’s email.
The reality is that the action taken by the minister last week
was not taken lightly. He has addressed the background of the lead-up to that
decision in the house today in relation to exercising section 16 of the Planning
and Environment Act. He did that because this has been a very lengthy process to
say the least, and there has been no real sense of getting resolution at any
There are a lot of people in the community who hold a range of
positions in relation to this matter, and I went through those when I spoke in
the house when this issue was before us on 11 March. The reality is that people
want an outcome, they want certainty and they want to move on. They want the
government to get on with it, and they are particularly concerned about the
safety aspects in relation to this issue.
Without any further delay I call on members of this house to
reject this motion and to see it for what it essentially is — that is, blatant