Environment and Water Agriculture | September 23, 2016

Iluka – Minister refuses to accept responsibility

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is extremely disappointed Labor Planning Minister Richard Wynne has refused to accept responsibility to act as the Planning Authority for Iluka Resources mining application.

“Richard Wynne has completely shirked his responsibility to take on the role of Planning Authority, in a decision that sets a precedent for the mineral sands processing industry in Victoria,” Ms Kealy said.

“The Iluka proposal involves three different Councils and sets a precedent for the processing of imported mineral sands in Victoria.

“Given the ramifications of the decision and the difficulty a local Council would have in managing and monitoring the site, it just makes sense that the State Government would take responsibility for the decision,” she said.

In June, the Horsham Rural City Council rejected a planning permission application from mineral sands mining company Iluka Resources.

“With Iluka Resources now challenging Council’s decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Labor has set up Horsham Rural City Council ratepayers to bear costs of this legal process,” Ms Kealy said.

Iluka Resources is a global mining company that has invested over $1 billion into Victoria, engaged up to 200 contractors and directly employs more than 100 people.

“Mining activity creates employment and has made positive economic impact in the Lowan electorate,” Ms Kealy said.

“I have been contacted by a number of constituents who have deep concerns and reservations about the potential environmental risks associated with the disposal of mining by-products.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our local economy, and it is crucial that strong controls are put in place to regulate mining activities to provide essential protection for our local environment including our waterways.

“Labor’s failure to accept what I believe to be a State Government responsibility, has let down ratepayers and could devastate the electorates economy through the loss of important local employment opportunities,” she said.

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