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Basslink living in make-believe world

Promoters of Basslink have retreated to a make-believe world, Latrobe City Councillor, Graeme Middlemiss has stated.

By Latrobe City Council - 3rd April 2001 - Back to News

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The promoters of Basslink have retreated to a make-believe world, and are becoming increasingly isolated from any prospect of participating in Victoria’s future, Latrobe City Councillor, Graeme Middlemiss has stated.

Cr Middlemiss made his remarks following public outcry at Basslink’s proposals to circumvent local government planning schemes by seeking Victorian Government amendments to the La Trobe and Wellington Planning Schemes, and Basslink’s failure to address the ‘big’ issues.

“Basslink has identified in its Draft Integrated Impact Assessment Statement (IIAS) that rather than apply for a planning permit, it will seek to amend the La Trobe and Wellington Planning Schemes. This is not necessarily a problem provided normal amendment procedures are followed,” Cr Middlemiss explained.

“However, in the IIAS, Basslink suggests that because the draft planning scheme amendments have been incorporated in the Draft IIAS (appendix 006), public exhibition of the amendments under the normal processes of the Planning and Environment Act will not be necessary.

“Once again the citizens of Victoria find important aspects of the Basslink project subject to smoke and mirrors, with the draft amendments swamped by other detail, making it highly unlikely that there would be adequate consideration and debate given to the process,” Cr Middlemiss said.

“Cr Middlemiss said that Basslink was not being transparent in its evaluation of the project, or in fact in the whole process of consultation.

“Even though Basslink has been challenged by business councils; local, state and federal government members; and community groups across Gippsland to identify any benefits for the people of Victoria from their scheme, the people at Basslink remain silent. Consultation and discussion of the big issues are being avoided.

“Discussion on the economic, employment, environmental or social benefits or disadvantages for the citizens of Gippsland and Victoria is being avoided at all cost. Instead, we are being provided with computer simulations of powerlines and pylons being ‘hidden’ behind trees as the critical agenda for the people of Gippsland to digest.

Increasingly they are retreating into a make-believe world. Basslink may want Victorians to believe that ‘hiding pylons behind trees’ is the big issue that needs debating, but I believe Victorians are smarter than that, are seeing through the sham, and want real answers to the real questions,” Cr Middlemiss said.

“The more this Council delves into the whole Basslink scheme, the more we are led to conclude that the Basslink project is simply not in Victoria’s future interest and it needs to be the subject of an independent State Government Inquiry. Basslink is becoming increasingly isolated from any prospect of participating in Victoria’s future, partly through their own lack of transparency. The need for an inquiry is becoming clearer day by day, and the call for an inquiry is now coming from an ever increasing number of government representatives, business and community groups, and concerned citizens,” Cr Middlemiss concluded.


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