RUBBISH at the former East Beach tip site should be removed not covered up, a public rally in Port Fairy was told on Sunday.
About 50 people attended the Victorian Marine Animal Defence Conservation Society’s meeting, which aimed to highlight the issue.
“We can remove this rubbish and we can replace it with clean fill,” society founder James Brown said.
“There is no ifs or buts about that. We have the technology. The fact is it needs to be done, and it needs to be done now.”
He said while it could cost about $30 million, he was confident the money could be found.
He said it was time to do more than just use “Band-Aid remedies” .
“We can no longer bury our heads in the sand over this issue because it’s simply going to get worse.”
Mr Brown commended the Moyne Shire Council for its efforts so far which included an extension of a rock wall in May this year.
He said he had recently raised the issue with government officials and urged the government to put in place a bipartisan contingency plan.
He said he was also concerned rubbish from the site could be carried by currents to Warrnambool.
“I dare say the west side of Middle Island would experience quite a bit of this refuse and those gorgeous little penguins that are now so famous in this local area, they are being put at risk.”
Greens candidate for the South West Coast byelection Thomas Campbell called for short, medium and long-term solutions and urged the Environmental Protection Authority to do an audit.
Independent candidate Roy Reekie said that as a young teenager he worked at a nearby farm and part of his job was to help take empty tins to the tip.
He said he was worried that some of those containers may have contained Deildren, a cousin of DDT.
“I’m really afraid that there is Dieldren in there. There may not be. I’d be happy if there’s not. My question is who has done the appropriate investigations?”
Mr Reekie said he visited the EPA in Melbourne last week and lodged a pollution report. He encouraged others to do the same.
Port Fairy Coastal Group committee member Matt Hayes urged people to join the group, which was formed four years ago because of concerns over the erosion at East Beach.