Member for Morwell Russell Northe has today tabled a petition in State Parliament asking for the State Government to save the iconic Hazelwood Pondage.
“Nearly 5,000 people have signed online and hard copy petitions, which demonstrates the massive support my community has for the retention of Hazelwood Pondage” Mr Northe said.
Mr Northe also raised in Parliament today by way of a constituency question how critical and important this asset is to the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland region.
“After months of speculation Engie officially announced the permanent closure of Hazelwood Pondage in April this year” said Mr Northe.
Mr Northe has approached the Minister for Regional Development on various occasions to seek the Governments support to explore options via a feasibility study which should include the investigation of not just technical aspects of the pondage, but also to seek the input from our local community, so that we can convey our views, thoughts and ideas on what the future holds for the Hazelwood Pondage site.
“Today I was supported by a delegation of members representing various community groups within the Morwell Electorate, in asking that the Minister meet with local representative groups to hear first-hand from our community why the re-opening of the pondage is vital for our region”, said Mr Northe.
Despite the Minister previously stating that community consultation would occur on the future of Hazelwood Pondage, this simply has not occurred.
“With mounting community pressure, the Minister today finally agreed to meet with a local delegation and whilst the Minister made no firm commitments during the course of the meeting, I was pleased that she was able to hear directly of the issues, concerns and ideas around the use of Hazelwood Pondage” Mr Northe added.
“The reopening and redevelopment of the pondage and the surrounding site is something our community is very passionate about, it is more than just a body of water, it has been a destination and home to Yacht club members, Sailability participants, on-site residents, campers and tourists, local businesses, CFA brigades, Scouts & Guides, local residents and recreational water enthusiasts.” Mr Northe said