AGL and APA remained tight-lipped at a public consultation meeting about the proposed gas import jetty at Crib Point and Pakenham pipeline development, putting on an event akin to a National Gallery of Victoria showcase and giving the community little assurances or answers; Clifford Hayes MLC says.
The Member for Southern Metropolitan Region and representative of the Sustainable Australia party travelled to Hastings on Saturday to participate in AGL’s community drop-in session, rallying protestors and residents.
A crowd of more than 200 turned out to show their disdain for AGL and APA’s proposed development, which will violate one of Victoria’s most pristine ecosystems.
Mr Hayes said AGL and APA’s decision to hold the meeting in an open room with dozens of bureaucrats was a strategic attempt to quell community input.
“Instead of having an open public forum where people could hear each other’s questions and AGL’s responses, it was more like an art gallery where residents had to look at pretty pictures of the proposal and could only engage in individual conversations with AGL representatives – most of whom declined to comment on contentious questions,” he said.
“The community deserves more independent information and the right to be heard on this dangerous proposal.
“The Victorian Government needs to put AGL’s proposed floating storage unit and pipeline project on hold until after the federal election.
“In the meantime, it needs to negotiate with this federal government or the next to create a domestic gas reservation policy which helps Victorian manufacturers and consumers, instead of allowing a facility which will damage the fragile Ramsar-listed Western Port wetlands and native vegetation, while destroying valuable agricultural land in Cardinia, Clyde and other parts of Casey.”
When Mr Hayes pointed out that a large percentage of Victoria’s gas is exported to New South Wales and Gladstone, he did not receive a response from AGL.
“To export all our gas overseas and subsequently buy it back through the planned environmental disaster at Crib Point is nonsense.”
During the event, one man arrived at the Hastings Community Hub and destroyed AGL’s set-up, abusing a number of staff and ripping posters from the walls before he left; resulting in the police being called.
Mr Hayes condemned this behaviour.
“This was appalling behaviour. While it is a contentious, highly emotional issue; we will fight it the right way – with respect and integrity.