Kennett rams through Grand Prix plans
By Dave Wright
MELBOURNE — The Kennett government has been exempted from conducting an environment impact study on the Albert Park Grand Prix development. The state governor granted the exemption under the Environment Effects Act, 1978, which applies to, "public works which could reasonably be considered to have a significant effect on the environment".
The Kennett government has changed planning laws removing the right of the public to object to, or even be aware of, planning decisions. This is allowing developers, in some cases, to have their plans pushed through with great speed and no community consultation.
There has been considerable ongoing opposition to the $97 million Albert Park development, which will affect over 30,000 residents. It will destroy much of the public park and create noise and air pollution problems.
Groups opposed to the Grand Prix are considering a legal challenge to the environmental impact exemption. The Save Albert Park (SAP) group says an impact study must be done and must consider the effects on the health and economic impact of local residents.
However, the government asserts that it is not unusual to refuse requests for environmental impact studies, citing the previous Labor government's refusal to conduct impact studies in 1988 and 1989 for the Motorcycle Grand Prix and construction of the Great Southern Stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Two demonstrations organised recently by the SAP group have attracted 10,000 and 15,000 people. The group will continue to campaign against the development through public meetings and rallies. SAP can be contacted on 690 3855.