THE state government has been invited to Port Fairy for a first-hand inspection of East Beach’s coastal erosion problems.
Addressing Parliament on Tuesday, South-West Coast MP Denis Napthine requested a visit from Lisa Neville, Victoria’s Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water.
Member for Western Victoria James Purcell also raised the issue in Parliament, claiming the problem was too big to be handled by a small rural council without help.
Dr Napthine said the minister needed to meet with the Moyne Shire Council and other key stakeholders to deal with the natural erosion issue through a partnership approach with the local community.
Confronting pictures have this month highlighted the dramatic erosion at East Beach, now exposing piles of rubbish from the nearby former landfill.
Dr Napthine said the previous government had worked with the council to “better understand and tackle this erosion problem”, spending more than $300,000 between 2011 and 2014 to protect the dunes from the landfill site.
“The action I seek from the minister is that she inspect these areas and work with the local council and local community to secure these sites and protect this vital asset for Port Fairy and the broader Victorian community,” he said in Parliament.
“We know Port Fairy is a popular tourist destination, and East Beach is one of its major features.
“It is inappropriate to have the community exposed to an old nightsoil site with discarded nightsoil cans and an old tip site, both just to the north of East Beach.”
Mr Purcell told Parliament the East Beach problem needed help from all levels of government.
“If it does cost $30 million to remove the tip and waste there will have to be government help to fund this — $30 million is obviously an impossible figure for a small rural council,” he said.
“However, I would hope the state government may be able to provide additional support to resolve the issue — not just monetary — and we could reduce this figure.” Mr Purcell said the temporary fixes to date had been a “Band-Aid fix” and it was time for permanent rectification.
“If this situation is not resolved the future of Port Fairy as a tourist destination, its economic security and the happiness of residents and visitors is hugely under threat,” he said.
“This situation needs to be resolved ASAP and needs state government support to allow this to happen.”
Mr Purcell said he would work with the government and Moyne Shire to resolve the issue.
Dr Napthine said while the Moyne Shire had taken great measures to address the issue, extra support was essential to find a solution.
“I also note that the previous government was working in partnership with the department and the shire to deal with this issue, but further work is needed.
“I ask the minister to come down to Port Fairy, to meet with the key stakeholders and to continue the work of protecting these areas, in particular the tip site and the nightsoil site.”
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