Pure Serendipity - Save Williamstown has impromptu meeting with Minister Madden

Thursday, 23 September 2010
Save Williamstown appeared and presented at the Public Hearing today of the Ports and Environs Advisory Committee. We presented a compulsive case for appropriate port buffer zones around the Shipyards and the Mobil Facility at Point Gellibrand, including safety around transferring Mobil's feedstock from tanker vessels to the pipelines for the refinery. We explained how Nelson Place Village's high-rise high-density residential proposal which would house 1000+ new residents was totally inappropriate and would compromise the buffer zone protections provided for existing residents. 

In exiting the Planning Panels Victoria building, 8 Nicholson St, Save Williamstown representatives, including our expert witness on safety issues relating to vessels carrying petro-chemicals and our legal representative, were able to speak personally with the Minister for Planning who, by serendipity, was just arriving.

It wasn't quite as we expected.  We had requested a meeting to discuss alternative concepts for the Former Port Phillip Woollen Mill Site back in 11 November 2009.  Greens MLC Colleen Hartland had put the request as an adjournment matter in the Legislative Council and we have been waiting for 10 months for that meeting to no avail. 

However, after introductions and handshaking, and with his adviser looking on, we asked that the Minister meet and discuss the safety issues with Save Williamstown.  Citing it as inappropriate to meet with Save Williamstown and the community, the Minister, Justin Madden, assured us that the advisory committees' process he had set up, will provide him with all the appropriate advice before he makes his decision.  We told him that Save Williamstown considers port buffers very important and that was what we had presented to the Ports and Environs Advisory Committee this morning. Our legal representative warned the minister about the credible dangers of allowing new high-rise high-density residential dwellings too close to a major hazard facility and how Save Williamstown had emphasised our community's concerns at the hearing. The government really needed to heed that warning or there could be class actions in the event of a catastrophe.  Finally, before the Minister disappeared into the building, we were also able to add one more thing, that he will need to consider buffers for ships arriving at the Mobil facility of Port Gellibrand as well as land based tank storage facilities.



Save Williamstown Working Group

Email (General): info@savewilliamstown.net
Planning and Design Issues:  design@savewilliamstown.net
Communications and Media Issues: communications@savewilliamstown.net