Angry reaction over secrecy on port plan

Andrew Mathieson
NORTHERN suburbs residents have reacted angrily to secret plans for State Government to seize control of Geelong’s port.
The Independent revealed last week that the Government had refused to release the report.
The report is a revised draft of the Government’s strategic land use plan for the port, which threatened to seize planning controls, remove third-party appeal rights and limit improvements to nearby homes.
Residents fear the plan would let the Government give companies approval to use the area as a chemical dumping ground.
Opponents claimed last week that the Government was keeping the revised plan under wraps until after the election in a bid to help the campaign of Labor candidate for Lara John Eren.
Margrette Lewis, a long-time member of the Geelong North Labor Party branch, said holding the plan back until after the November 25 election was a “disgrace”.
“Mr Bracks didn’t want anymore chemicals in Williamstown because it was in his electorate but why should the people in Geelong put up with it?” she said.
Ms Lewis, who lives at North Shore, said the port authority had to come clean over its intentions.
“As far as I’m concerned, if Toll wants our houses and we’re not allowed to extend and not allowed to increase the population, they should buy our houses,” she said.
Coralie Jenkins believed the port plan held “too much that was wrong”.
Ms Jenkins believed nearby pollution had impacted on her North Shore home.
“My dogs keep having eye trouble and we have no idea what’s the cause,” she said.
“We also have unexplained, strange growth on my roses and we’re trying to get the EPA to find out what is causing it.”
Corio’s Bill Aitken, a former councillor who played a role with City Hall to set up more bike trails and shared pathways to Lara, believed residents were deliberately kept in the dark.

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