FORMER Redgum singer John Schumann says it’s time to shift the battle ground and change tactics to protect south-west beaches.
The political activist was one of the speakers at a community symposium held on Sunday and hosted by the Belfast Coastal Reserve Action Group (BCRAG).
Mr Schumann said it was perfectly clear that the diligence and due process of the community had been pointless.
“Community consultation is nothing more than lip service,” he said. “It’s words and phrases to make people feel good. It is time to shift the battle ground and change tactics. We’re not going to play their game.” Mr Schumann said he was not opposed to the racing industry but “horses are for courses and beaches are for people.”
We’re not going to play their game.John Schumann
“The idea that the government and the council hand over a coastal reserve to an industry, any industry, is utterly outrageous,” he said.
“My generation has been the most destructive and selfish generation of mankind. It’s time to stand up and say enough. This is the start. If anyone thinks we’re going away they’re sadly mistaken.”
Former Greens leader Bob Brown said the Belfast Coastal Reserve was one of the oldest coastal reserves in the country and it should be returned to the ordinary people. He said Victorians would be horrified to know the beach was being privatised to protect the horse racing industry.
Former federal MP Kelvin Thompson said the state government had done a lot of work to protect the hooded plover and all that work would be undone if the plan was approved.
He said if a similar proposal was made for Port Phillip Bay or the Mornington Peninsula it would be shouted down.
“There is an element of out of sight and out of mind because it is a long way from Melbourne,” he said.