Wonthaggi residents protest desalination plant

November 3, 2007

On October 31, residents of Wonthaggi — the South Gippsland town that is near the proposed site of the Victorian Labor government's proposed $3 billion desalination plant — joined environmentalists from Melbourne in a 100-strong protest on the steps of state parliament.

The protesters called on the government to commit to an environmental effects statement (EES) on the plant. Speakers from the National Party, the Liberal Party, the Democrats and the Greens addressed the protest.

Greens Senate candidate Richard Di Natale said that the desalination plant would increase Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions. "I don't want an EES, I want it stopped tomorrow", he said, condemning the project as "every bit as environmentally destructive as the pulp mill" Gunns' Ltd plans to build in northern Tasmania.

Roger Thoroughgood, from the Your Water, Your Say Action Group, which organised the protest, said: "For the planning minister to ignore the need for an EES is to ignore the voices of the past... and to condemn us to listen to the voice of the future saying: you got it wrong."

On October 27, the Fairfax newspapers reported that the Department of Sustainability and the Environment is finalising five compulsory acquisitions of properties at the proposed site without having committed to an EES.

For more information on the campaign against the project, visit .

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