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Russel Northe MLA:
Pondage Plight Still Ignored

Frustration rises with lack of response and interest with Hazelwood Pondage closure.

By Portal Admin - 13th October 2019 - Back to News

Member for Morwell Russell Northe has again vented his frustration at the State Government over its lack of response and interest to the Latrobe Valley community in the wake of the closure of Hazelwood Pondage.

Following the presentation of thousands of signatures in State Parliament in June of this year, Mr Northe had at the same time posed a question to the Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes in seeking the Government’s support for a feasibility study to be conducted on the future of the Pondage.

Such questions are required to be answered within 30 days; however nearly 4 months on the Minister has not even bothered to respond. "I must express my extreme disappointment that the Minister has failed to answer or even acknowledge my question that was asked on behalf of thousands of community members in June of this year" said Mr Northe.

Recently in Parliament Mr Northe again raised the issue of a non-response and noncompliance to the Speaker of the Parliament yet Mr Northe has still not received an answer to the question asked.

"As was mentioned by a local resident recently, the State Government seem to have nothing but contempt for local people who have an interest in the Pondage," Mr Northe said.

In addition, Latrobe City Council recently approved a motion to write to the Premier asking the State Government to fund a detailed feasibility study on all available options to retain Hazelwood Pondage as a recreationally accessible body of water.

"Furthermore Council requested the Premier intervene by writing to ENGIE and asking that all planned and unplanned works on the Pondage be ceased, but as I understand again no response has been received." Mr Northe said.

"When local stakeholders met with the Minister months ago in Parliament, she was encouraged to visit the Pondage precinct and meet with local stakeholders and user groups on site. Obviously that has not occurred leaving many local community members very disappointed," Mr Northe said.

A number of user groups and clubs including residents, campers, LV Yacht Club, LV Game Fishing Club and the LV Fly Fishing Club have all been kicked off site and with no alternative or new home found for them. It simply defies belief that this has been allowed to happen.

"Years of sporting history and honour boards is being stored away off site and out of site gathering dust, without these clubs and their history the culture and memberships will slowly fade away," said Mr Northe.

The State Government should finally come to its senses and do what Council and the community is asking it to do – urgently undertake a comprehensive feasibility study on the future of Hazelwood Pondage.


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