‘Scrap the desal plant’

Issue 
Photo: Sue Bolton

One hundred activists protested on the steps of the Victorian parliament on October 6 to demand the Victorian desalination plant at Wonthaggi be scrapped.

Stephen Cannon of Watershed Victoria, which organised the protest, said the Brumby government had provided no reliable costing of the project.

Cannon said users could be paying six times the cost of ordinary water if the project went ahead. The project would line the pockets of corporations for generations at the expense of the people of Melbourne.

Greens candidate for the region, Neil Rankin, and Greens MP Greg Barber also spoke. Barber told The Age on October 6 that water from the plant should be used only in the most extreme cases.

State Liberal MPs Bill Sykes and Ken Smith also supported the protesters and urged them to vote against the Brumby government in November.

Trent Hawkins, Socialist Alliance candidate for Brunswick, said the desalination scandal was the result of consecutive governments privatising infrastructure projects.

Hawkins said the Socialist Alliance demanded that the desalination plant be scrapped and the workers re-employed in sustainable energy projects. He said the water needs of Melbourne could be met by public works projects and rainwater tanks in houses.