What do they care?

The up-coming election is focussing voters’ attention on what sitting members and candidates really do think about the government’s channel deepening proposal, so Blue Wedges thought it might be interesting to review what Labour government MP's have had to say on the matter in the last three years.


Labour Government MP’s hold the bayside seats of Bellarine, Geelong, Lara, Tarneit, Altona, Williamstown, Albert Park, Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston, and many of their constituents are deeply concerned about the government’s channel deepening project and the effect it might have on their local beaches and economies. In addition, the Hon. Bronwyn Pike, Minister for Health holds the seat of Melbourne, and although without coastline per se, includes much of the Port and whose residents would experience considerable upheaval if the first 5 kms of the Yarra as far as the Bolte Bridge were extensively dredged as planned, including digging out up to 3 million tonnes of toxic and contaminated sediments from the river bed and then relocating it by dumping it back in the bay off Rickett’s Point. You’d think the Health Minister might be a teeny bit concerned about toxic waste being excavated in her electorate, and dumped off a nearby one wouldn’t you?

So - Blue Wedges has consulted Hansard to see just how much these MP’s have had to say about the channel deepening issue between 2004 -2006.

Here are the results of Who said What in Parliament between 2004-2006 from Labour held bayside seats:

Bellarine: Lisa Neville – Nothing

Geelong: Neil Tresize – Nothing

Lara: Peter Loney – Nothing

Tarneit: Mary Gillett – One reference on 8th December 2004. Anyway, Ms. Gillett has now been dumped by the ALP, so that Mr. Bracks’ former Chief of Staff Tim Pallas can stand for the plum seat of Tarneit, which currently enjoys a huge margin of 17% for the ALP.

Altona: Lynne Kosky – Nothing

Williamstown: Premier Bracks – Nothing in 2005-2006, and in 2004 it was in April in relation to Victoria Leading the way, well before the Channel Deepening Panel Hearing kicked off.

Albert Park: John Thwaites Environment Minister: On 8th September 2005 and again on 24th August 2006, Mr. Thwaites claimed that the Port supports 80,000 jobs. Even the Port has given up on this fallacious figure and is reluctantly admitting the number is closer to 18,000 direct and indirect jobs. Nothing about the environment from Mr. Thwaites!

Melbourne: Bronwyn Pike - Nothing

Carrum: Jenny Lindell – 8th December 2004. Ms. Lindell spoke passionately about how worthy the project was and the world class EES (which soon after was dismantled piece by piece by the thorough investigations of the Independent Panel). Ms. Lindell is the Chair of the government's Natural Resources & Environment Committee.

Mordialloc: Janice Munt – also on 8th December 2004, Ms. Munt spoke with great passion and conviction on how the rocks at The Heads would be “shaved” carefully and that not a skerrick would fall. Trial dredging last year proved her to be way west of the mark when hundreds of tonnes of rocks tumbled into the canyon stripping ancient corals and sponges as they fell. EPA has since said they are concerned that re-growth may be extremely slow and that the once beautiful area may never return to its former condition!

Frankston: Alistair Harkness – Nothing

Blue Wedges spokesperson Jenny Warfe says: “What a sorry tale from a government which was elected with the assistance of voters who cared about their environment, and who believed the promise that the Bracks government would preserve our environmental assets – there’s hardly a word of concern for our Bay in 3 years of their rhetoric”.

Blue Wedges advises that if you care about the Bay, you should only vote for a candidate who publicly opposes the government’s channel deepening proposal. See www.bluewedges.org for more information





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