Inquiry into the Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Victoria

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (10:21):

I would like to make a few comments on the report tabled today, and in doing so I would like to certainly thank the very astute and diligent secretariat, particularly Michael Baker and Vivienne Bannan, and also Caitlin Connally, Sylvette Bassy and Cat Smith for their always diligent executive work.

The Nationals and the Liberals are pleased that the committee adopted the report in terms of the recommendation from the Latrobe Valley community that there needs to be an independent environment effects statement on the used lead acid battery secondary smelter. Now, this is an important thing that the government has tried to sidestep. The community were in significant opposition to this. The EPA put through the planning permit. The Latrobe Valley council put up their opposition to this and said no, there would not be a planning permit through there, but what did the Andrews government do? The Minister for Planning overrode that decision and called in the planning permit. This recommendation in this report is vital, because the community deserve a full understanding of the aspects of the environmental and social importance of what this will do to the community. There is a school 1.5 kilometres from the proposed factory.

Maggie Jones and members of the ALiVe committee were able to present to the inquiry, and I thank them. And I give a special, special mention to resident Peter Leviston, who through his meticulous research and strong leadership on behalf of his community is an exemplar of dignified activism. We need to see more dignified activism, and this gentleman bestowed that upon the community and this report, and I thank him very much for it.