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Butler hears about Torquay’s growing pains

April 7, 2016 BY

ENVIRONMENTAL activists in the Surf Coast Shire have urged Labor to take another look at its policies on growth and sustainability if it wins the coming federal election.
Representatives from groups including the Surfrider Foundation, Surfers Appreciating Association and the Surf Coast Energy Group met last week with shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Mark Butler and Labor candidate for Corangamite Libby Coker at Ashmore Arts in Torquay.
Ashmore Arts is near the planned development for the Spring Creek valley, and SANE chair Graeme Stockton said this precinct and others should be explicitly drawn up to take account of the growth in the region.
“In all the planning, it just keeps going on and on ad nauseam about how we are a growth zone and we need to have 15 years of land supply, so we keep mowing down our assets. Then on top of that we’ve got this huge growth – according to all the planning, there’s going to be 250,000 extra people in Geelong, 60,000 of whom will be in Armstrong Creek, and that’s already showing up in terms of road rage, parking rage, surf rage.”
Mr Butler said he had spent the past two-and environmental and climate policies when it was in power.
“I’d like to think if we’d been better behaved, we would have been able to get through and have this policy settled down and accepted as a matter of consensus, as you see in places like the UK where this wasn’t an issue in the general election.”
However, he said attitudes were changing. “The stuff we’ve had around mining approvals and exploration licence approvals – frankly, in both parties – in New South Wales has brought our whole thinking about environmental protection and biodiversity protection into question. The next Parliament’s got to deal with this. Whoever wins has got to engage the other party to get some sort of durable position to take more renewable energy projects, to start shutting down coal and all those things.”