Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:31): (239) My question is to the Minister for Environment. A $13.66 million expansion to the Inverloch RACV resort and the jobs it will create are in jeopardy because the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and your government’s planning department are refusing to give the green light for the 44-room development. The authority is objecting to the proposed development until such time as the cape-to-cape resilience plan is released and clearly outlines an agreed set of actions to mitigate and manage the risk of inundation to the Cape Paterson-Inverloch Road. Minister, when will you sign off on the cape-to-cape resilience plan, which the community has been waiting for for over three years?
Ingrid STITT (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Early Childhood and Pre-Prep, Minister for Environment) (12:32): I thank Ms Bath for her question. I think the first element of her question is a matter that is more relevantly directed to the planning minister. However, I can indicate that there has been work undertaken through that cape-to-cape project, an important project in terms of addressing some of the critical coastal erosion issues driven by climate change, I might add, and also impacting on a number of our coastal communities throughout the state, including Inverloch. The cape-to-cape work is a fantastic model because it has involved much deep consultation with the communities that are impacted by that coastal erosion. I am very pleased to advise the house that I understand that that report will be released quite soon. I think that it has been really good to see how much engagement there has been with not only the local councils down in that part of the state but also a number of other land committees of management and also of course local residents who have got a big stake in making sure that we tackle coastal erosion in a way that is sustainable into the future.
Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:33): I thank the minister for her response. The Inverloch surf club, the foreshore dunes and residential homes are at serious risk of falling into the sea without significant erosion mitigation through the outlined draft of the cape-to-cape resilience plan. You have mentioned ‘quite soon’. Why do you refuse to give this community certainty about future proofing this beautiful coast, which is at risk due to your government’s inaction? When is soon? What is the date, Minister?
Ingrid STITT (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Early Childhood and Pre-Prep, Minister for Environment) (12:34): I have to say I reject the premise of Ms Bath’s supplementary question. To
suggest that the government has not taken seriously these issues that are impacting the Inverloch community just does not really stack up against the facts. In fact, Ms Bath, you would be aware that we have already invested $1.5 million into the coastal erosion mitigation work down at Inverloch, including an additional $850,000 to ensure that the RASP was able to undertake its important work. So I am confident that when the report is released it will reflect what the aspirations of that community are and it will address the issues that are often very difficult issues to resolve. Climate change is not going away any time soon. Coastal erosion is something that we all need to grapple with around our coastline, and the government is getting on with that work.