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Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Page: 11588

Mr HUNT (9:30 AM) —The HMAS Otama is an Oberon class submarine. It was gifted to the people of Victoria, to the people of Westernport and in particular to the people of Hastings and Crib Point by the previous coalition government. This submarine should be an enormous boost to tourism on the Mornington Peninsula and in particular to the areas of Hastings, Crib Point, Somerville, Shoreham, Somers and Balnarring. Sadly, the project has been blocked for six years by the Victorian government. The submarine is at Crib Point; it is off the shore, it is awaiting the opportunity to be brought ashore and all that stands in the way of this project proceeding is state planning approval.

Firstly, the Victorian government said that the project would be able to go ahead at Hastings if appropriate steps were taken. The magnificent Westernport Oberon Association took all appropriate steps only to find that after more than two years of belief in, cooperation with and adherence to the requests of the state government they were told that a better spot was needed. They then moved in good faith on the advice of the state government to Crib Point. At the Crib Point site they have again put in years of work and now again they are facing a state government which will not give approval to this magnificent project.

So there is a submarine which came with a gift of half a million dollars from the federal government, which has been used, I believe, wisely and judiciously so far. It is a project of enormous importance to tourism on the Mornington Peninsula, to the sense of belief in Hastings and Crib Point in the future and it stands in stark opposition to the concept of re-industrialising the town of Crib Point. It is about Crib Point having a future as a tourism destination, as a gateway to Phillip Island and as the centrepiece of Western Port. Yet, there has been no approval, no alternative and no action from the state. So I respectfully but clearly and categorically say to the Premier of Victoria: your people need to push forward the Hastings and Crib Point submarine project. They need to have a decision. They need to have a solution. It is simply not acceptable to let this project, force this project, to languish and to drift. The Western Port Oberon Association is a group of volunteers led by Max Bryant. They have done a wonderful job. They deserve the support of the state to back the support of the community.