The Liberal candidate for Bass, Aaron Brown, says a Coalition State Government would update a regional sand mining strategy to protect the Western Port Woodlands.
Announcing the commitment today, he said it would address ongoing uncertainty around the extractive industry in the Bass electorate.
“I believe that future extraction licences should preference land already cleared of remnant native vegetation so that the existing uncertainty around this issue is addressed once and for all."
“It is vital that Shadow Ministers hear first hand the concerns of those involved with the issue of sand extraction in the Bass electorate and particularly Bass Coast,” he said.
“Despite being in power for 18 out of the last 23 years, Labor has failed to forward plan land use appropriately and ensure best possible environmental outcomes.
“Following the visit, I am pleased to announce that a Liberals and Nationals Government will update the 1996 Extractive Industries document for Lang Lang to Grantville including the Gurdies, ensuring it balances the needs of the resources sector with the need to protect the unique environment in the Bass Coast and Cardinia Shires.”
The Regional Sand Extraction Strategy was a landmark document when it was signed in 1996 after years of conflict between the sand mining industry and the Bass Coast community.
The only contract ever signed by the Government, the community and the sand mining industry, it permitted sand mining in less environmentally sensitive areas but ensured a network of conservation reserves in the Western Port woodlands to provide habitat and biolinks for threatened species.
Mr Brown said the 1996 document, drafted by a Coalition Government, had been overridden by successive Labor Ministers.
“A Liberals and Nationals Government will ensure this document is updated and used to protect high value vegetation in the area, while giving the extractive industries clarity around best practice to preserve and maintain existing bush.
“Adherence to the document will also ensure that offsets are created for any projects where a small amount of vegetation may need to be removed under legacy permits.
“It is vital this be done, and a Matt Guy led Liberals and Nationals Government will ensure the extractive industry obtains this important data.
“Importantly, Shadow Ministers Smith and Riordan have committed to a quicker process for determining land use, with increased resourcing to the relevant Government departments, and will ensure a Guy Liberals and Nationals government also commits to the highest protection levels for the Adams Creek Nature Conservation Reserve near Lang Lang.