Mine motion rescinded

Mine motion rescinded

While not a direct backflip, East Gippsland Shire councillors on Tuesday night voted to rescind a motion that would represent the “community’ s opposition” to the proposed mineral sands mine at Glenaladale.

Less than two months after Cr Jackson Roberts put forward a motion indicating support for “the wishes of its community”, which was passed at the December 11 meeting with a 4-3 vote (Crs Mark Reeves and Colin Toohey not being present, thus unable to vote), in what was effectively a re-vote on Tuesday night the previously absent councillors’ votes tipped the scales.

Crs Roberts, John White, Dick Ellis and Ben Buckley voted against the rescission, Crs Reeves, Toohey, Joe Rettino, Marianne Pelz and mayor, Cr Natalie O’ Connell voting for.

In supporting the notice of rescission, Crs Pelz, Toohey, Rettino, Reeves and O’Connell said by taking this direction they were not supporting the go-ahead of the mine, but taking the necessary steps to ensure the right process is followed and all relevant information is considered.

“We all want the same thing,” Cr Reeves said.

“We have to follow the legislative and legal process, which is the EES (Environmental Effects Statement).”

“Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea (the mine),” Cr Toohey said.

“Having said that, we cannot allow our entire community to be put in jeopardy by making a statement that could potentially show either a perceived or otherwise bias. I do believe this would compromise our ability, as council, to make decisions on behalf of our community moving forward.”

“It is no lie that not one of us around this table would be supportive of any activities that would destroy the agricultural industry of the Lindenow Valley, however we must consider all the relevant information and we don’t have that yet,” Cr O’Connell said.

A decision on the mine will follow the completion of the Environment Effects Statement (EES), due for completion in the near future, and remains in the State Government and the Minister for Planning’s hands, in accordance with the EES.

A sea of around 200 anti-mine representatives, dressed in bright orange, 18 of which spoke against the notice of rescission, left the almost two-hour long debate and vote fuming.

Only chief operating officer of mine proponent, Kalbar, Dr Victor Hugo, spoke for the rescission.

Voting against the original motion presented at the December 11, 2018, meeting, Cr Pelz exercised her right to put in a notice of rescission within the 48-hour period following that meeting.

Her notice of rescission was signed by Crs Rettino and Toohey, based on the rationale the motion that was passed “lacked clarity and direction for officers to be able to implement any specific resolution or outcome”.