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Democrats reveal way to save Point Nepean from development.

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Senator Lyn Allison Australian Democrats Heritage Spokesperson

15th October 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/738

Democrats Reveal Way To Save Point Nepean From Development

A confidential legal report obtained by the Australian Democrats reveals the Victorian Government has the power to prevent development on former Defence land at Point Nepean.

The report, commissioned by the Department of Defence, states that if the site is leased it will be subject to State planning laws.

Democrats’ Heritage Spokesperson Senator Lyn Allison said, “This report clearly indicates the Victorian Government has the power to fulfil its promise to protect Point Nepean from any development.

“The State Government must now move swiftly to amend the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme, in order to prevent the creation of existing use rights by any lessee.

“My office discussed the issue with Barrister, Mr Tony Southall QC, who has confirmed that if the Victorian Government amends the planning scheme before the land is leased it could ensure the heritage values of site are conserved.

Senator Allison said, “The Victorian Government has tried to cooperate with the Federal Government to protect Point Nepean, but the Federal Government appears to be hell bent on sacrificing this important site to fill up its coffers.

“If the Victorian Government genuinely wants to protect the land it must amend the planning scheme immediately, to ensure the land is subject to appropriate controls as soon as the lease is signed.”

In response to a Question without Notice from Senator Allison today, the Defence Minister, Senator Hill said he was unaware of the existence of the advice from the Department’s solicitors, Phillips Fox.

Senator Allison said, “Senator Hill has admitted he has no idea as to whether this crucial information has been withheld from potential lessees. It’s clear the whole process is a complete shambles.

“The Federal Government should simply hand the land over to the Victorian Government for inclusion in the proposed Point Nepean National Park,” Senator Allison said.

Contact: Vara Szajkowski 0408 056 167