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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2147

Mr HUNT (7:55 PM) —I want to take this opportunity to update the House on the progress, the success, the outcomes and the achievements in preserving Point Nepean as public land and as public park and for public use for all time. First, there are three key outcomes for the land at Point Nepean in my electorate of Flinders. All 294 hectares of Commonwealth land will become national park, and it will do so in two stages. The first 204 hectares of bushland will be transferred to the state for inclusion within the national park and then the 90 hectare precinct known as the heritage precinct, which contains 100 buildings, will be used for community purposes. Those buildings will be preserved and protected and used for community purposes, and after five years, possibly as soon as three years, they will be transferred to the state of Victoria.

The second outcome is that the buildings will primarily be used for marine education. The Commonwealth is funding a national centre for marine and coastal conservation which will include 110 places for tertiary students to study marine education at the Australian Maritime College and opportunities for primary and secondary school students in small numbers, perhaps a class at a time, to visit the Mornington Peninsula, to learn and study and focus on marine education. What better use could you have for these buildings than marine education for our students in addition to some use for heritage, Indigenous and European, and respite care for families with disabled children? No commercial development—simply marine education, respite care and heritage use. In order to fund this there is a total of approximately $25 million. Of that, $14.7 million comes from the Commonwealth, including $9.7 million for marine education and $5 million for the transitional trust, and there is a $10 million philanthropic contribution for the trust.

Last night in this House, in response to that news, the member for Wills sought to denigrate me and, much more troubling, a number of private citizens. He said that I supported commercial development. This is false, it was false and it always has been false. For the last two years I have waged a campaign to make sure that this area would not be commercially developed. I have taken on my own side and I have taken on the state. I have been passionate and proud to do that, and I am pleased with the outcome. In addition to that, he also made other accusations which I previously confirmed were false and included clear fabrications.

That is fine: come into this House, criticise me, criticise another member of the parliament. But please do not use parliamentary privilege to attack individual citizens. Three individual citizens have been attacked by the member for Wills. Mr David Stewart is one of the great community workers on the Mornington Peninsula. He has never been a member of a commercial consortium. The accusation made against him is utterly false. It is an abuse of parliamentary privilege, and an apology is owed. Mr Simon McKeon is head of the national research council for multiple sclerosis and one of the board members of World Vision Australia. He also was attacked under parliamentary privilege. A third person, an environmental activist, was attacked under parliamentary privilege some months ago. Attack me, use me as the target for whatever anger you have, but don't use parliamentary privilege to attack private citizens, please. It is a misuse and an abuse of the trust which is given to us.

Finally, the question I do have is: will the state repudiate its proposal in writing for an 80-bed hotel, a conference centre, a 150-bed backpacker precinct and holiday homes on Police Point? All of these items were set out in writing by the state of Victoria on 3 October last year. I repudiate them and I say thank you for the national park and marine education centre.

The SPEAKER —Order! It being 8 p.m., the debate is interrupted.