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Council opposes Basslink – Government Inquiry called for

State Government to conduct an independent Inquiry into all aspects of the Basslink proposal

By Latrobe City Council - 7th March 2001 - Back to News

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Latrobe City Council will call on the State Government to conduct an independent Inquiry into all aspects of the Basslink proposal, after forming an opinion that the project would be harmful to the region’s economic, social and environmental future.

Council’s position, unanimously adopted at Monday night’s Council meeting, was further clarified with an adopted motion from Cr Graeme Middlemiss that Council will oppose the Construction of Basslink in any location and using any technology.

Latrobe City Council is the first municipality to declare its total opposition to the Basslink project, though Wellington Council adopted a ‘no pylons’ position in October 2000.

Councillor Middlemiss said that Council’s opinion had been formed after identifying that the project, far from benefiting the Latrobe Valley, would have detrimental effects.

“We have been discussing what perceived benefits have been identified as flowing to the people of Gippsland. Whether there will be jobs created for the local community and whether any employment opportunities that arise will be sustained. From what we’ve established, Basslink is a jobs disaster for Latrobe and far from creating local employment, jobs will be lost if Basslink were to go ahead,” Cr Middlemiss said.

“A key issue for Latrobe is what economic benefits for the region have been identified as resulting from Basslink. Obviously Basslink is one of several projects which could bring benefits to the region. Basslink fails to be of any real advantage to Gippsland, and in fact, Victoria as a whole. Everything we have looked at so far points to Basslink as being detrimental to the region.

“Much of what has been presented by Basslink to date is flawed because it fails to take into consideration substantial effects and costs, and neglects other developments that can provide better benefits for Victoria and Latrobe,” Cr Middlemiss said.

Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Tony Hanning said there were a number of disturbing factors about the proposal which would act against the region’s and Victoria’s interests.

“The debate on Basslink to date seems to have revolved around ‘corridors’ and ‘pylons’, and the key issues seem to have been given scant attention. It would be charitable to say the real issues have been forgotten. In effect, the agenda has been manipulated to avoid the big questions,” Cr Hanning explained.

“The big question is how will Basslink impact on the Latrobe, and Victorian economy, and what are the benefits for Victoria and Latrobe of a non-Basslink scenario.

“Basslink is a ‘tailor made’ scheme for Basslink shareholders to take advantage of the huge fluctuations in electricity prices that occur between normal and peak demand and take advantage of the huge profits that can be made. It is little more than gambling though, and it seems as though the people of Latrobe are going to be the gambling chips,” Cr Hanning said.

“We want answers, not just on the economic impacts of a Basslink or non-Basslink scenario, but on the likely social and environmental impacts,” Cr Hanning added.

“We are not just talking about the local effects to biodiversity and habitat on any proposed route, and on pylons versus underground; but the big issues such as higher Greenhouse Gas emissions and electromagnetic fields.

“After all, it would be silly to find out at some later stage that the Basslink project has added to Australia’s Greenhouse problems; particularly if it is merely speculative scheme that isn’t in fact going to deliver tangible benefits to Victoria,” Cr Hanning said.

“A Position Paper is being prepared to amplify Council’s position. However in the meantime, it is essential that the real impacts of Basslink on Latrobe and Victoria are independently evaluated, and this can only be done through an independent State Government Inquiry,” Cr Hanning concluded.

Media Enquiries:

Cr. Tony Hanning, Mayor, Latrobe City tel. 0417 373 577

Cr. Brendan Jenkins, Deputy Mayor, Latrobe City tel. 0417 374 590

Ms. Penny Holloway, Chief Executive Officer, tel. 5173 1401 or 0417 557 103

Jeremy Bein, Public Relations and Communications Officer, tel. 5173 1468

Source: www.gippsland.com

Published by: latrobecity@gippslander.com



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