Labor must come clean on koala crisis

Reports of dozens of dead, injured and dying koalas at a harvested blue gum plantation at Cape Bridgewater are extremely distressing.

Animal cruelty is never acceptable, and whoever is responsible for this atrocity must be held to account.

This is a tragedy that should not have happened in the first place. The Environment Minister says the Andrews Government has now seized the land and taken control of the former plantation, but the damage is done.

The Government must come clean: why wasn’t this site monitored? Had a koala management plan been prepared, and if there was, why didn’t the Andrews Labor Government make sure it was followed? Why did the Government allow a game fence to be constructed, trapping more than 100 koalas inside the cleared plantation?

It’s all very well for Labor’s Minister to say that her department will investigate, but that won’t bring back the koalas that have already died, and it won’t undo the suffering of those that have survived.

Only weeks ago Daniel Andrews dithered on providing aerial food drops for animals suffering starvation in the wake of the bushfires, and now many more have suffered because the Government has failed to enforce its own rules.

It’s clear that far from protecting our native wildlife the negligent actions of the Andrews Government are placing it at risk.

Morris calls for bi-partisan approach to public transport

Mornington MP David Morris has called for a bi-partisan approach to public transport on the Mornington Peninsula.

In Parliament this week Mr Morris called on the Minister for Public Transport to convene an urgent meeting with all Peninsula MP’s and Mornington Peninsula Shire Councillors to address our public transport problems.

Mr Morris pointed to the campaign launched by the Shire after years of frustration, saying the Shire “…rightly make the point that at present 82 per cent of the peninsula is not serviced by public transport. Mornington Peninsula shire residents are almost five times less likely to travel to work by public transport than those in greater Melbourne. A mere 3 per cent take public transport to work compared with 15 per cent across Melbourne.”

Mr Morris told the Parliament “Labor has been in power for 16 of the last 20 years and the population has increased significantly but nothing has been done on their watch. “Most recently—one of many times I have raised public transport matters on the peninsula in this house—I raised the issue of the route 788 bus. Ventura,the operator, agreed there was a problem. They had a solution. The minister would not agree… the final response I got was: The member’s interest in these services has been noted, and will be included in considerations for planning in the future.”

“Well, the kids who cannot get on the route 788 bus are not interested in planning for the future. They want the problem fixed now.”

“I am suggesting we need to all sit down around the table—the three local members, the shire councillors and the minister—and try and get some resolution, because the government cannot keep ignoring the Mornington Peninsula when it comes to public transport.”

Kaufland refusal a win for the community

Mornington MP David Morris has welcomed news that the Kaufland store planned for Mornington will not proceed. On Thursday the report of the committee appointed to consider the development was released and the Planning Minister indicated he had accepted their recommendation that planning approval should not be granted.

Regardless of the merits of the particular business, the sheer scale of the proposal would have had an enormous impact on the town of Mornington, and it would never have been the same again.

While I welcome the eventual decision, the process has caused unnecessary stress, and considerable expense both to the community and to the shire council. It was completely unnecessary for the Minister to set aside the Council’s planning powers and force consideration of this application.

The Committee confirmed in its report (page 64) that not only is a supermarket of this size prohibited on the site, but the proposal is, and was right from the start, inconsistent with both State and local planning policy. Despite the Minister’s claims to the contrary the committee has also confirmed that the proposal was a de-facto rezoning that would create “…a new, but unplanned activity centre for Mornington”.

The decision is a victory for every member of our community who stood up to be counted, and I extend my sincere congratulations to everyone involved. I am pleased to have been able to contribute in a small way to this fantastic outcome for our town.

Victoria’s recycling sector wasting away under Labor


For more than two years Daniel Andrews and his Labor Government have known that Victoria’s recycling services were in trouble.

The crisis continues to worsen, with reports today that more than 30 councils will be forced to send thousands of tonnes of recycling to landfill if the Andrews Government fails to resolve ongoing problems in the sector.

It was two years ago when China confirmed its intention to ban the import of mixed paper and to impose stricter contamination rules for other recyclables from 1 January 2018. But despite six months’ notice, nothing was done to prepare Victoria for the impact of these changes. In January this year, China banned paper and plastic waste imports completely.

The Andrews Labor Government has been forced to admit councils have had to send more than 22,000 tonnes of recyclables to landfill because the Government had done nothing to shift the industry to a sustainable footing.

Victoria has not had a statewide waste policy since Labor scrapped it in 2014.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment David Morris

Victoria’s recycling crisis is lurching from one problem to the next.

For too long the Andrews Government ignored the worsening crisis and continued to rely on overseas businesses to deal with Victoria’s recyclables.

Victorians recycling their household waste do so in good faith but have been let down by a Labor Government that claims to be for the environment, but really just doesn’t care.

Despite having had more than two years notice and access to more than half a billion dollars now sitting idle in the Sustainability Fund, Labor has done nothing to develop a modern, sustainable recycling industry.

Media contact: Emma Manser    0437 225 386

Daniel Andrews plots the demise of Victoria’s iconic bathing boxes

Victoria’s bathing boxes decorating our beaches are much loved by locals and tourists alike, but under a new Labor plan they’ll be ripped off our beaches.

The Draft Marine and Coast Policy report released earlier this month by Daniel Andrews’ Environment Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, states that bathing boxes are “to be removed/relocated as the opportunity arises.”

This is a dramatic departure from the former Liberal Nationals Government’s plans to retain bathing boxes.

Not only are these bathing boxes much loved, many are also heritage listed after being added to the Victorian Heritage Register by the Heritage Council of Victoria in July 2018.

This plan to remove Victoria’s iconic beach boxes would destroy not just an important part of Victoria’s built heritage, but also an important part of Victoria’s cultural heritage.

The Liberal Nationals call on Daniel Andrews to immediately abandon this absurd plan to remove bathing boxes from Victoria’s beaches, and apologise for even contemplating such a ridiculous and out of touch move.

Daniel Andrews’ recycling crisis set to get worse

Victoria’s recycling crisis is set to get worse as it has now been revealed more than 22,000 tonnes of household recycling was dumped into landfill earlier this year.

Under questioning from the Liberal Nationals during the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, the Andrews Labor Government was forced to reveal on Tuesday the extraordinary waste from our first recycling crisis.

The 22,000 tonnes of recycling sent to landfill is the equivalent of all the garbage collected in a single year at 11 Melbourne Cricket Grounds.

That includes all the paper, cardboard, glass, plastic beer and wine cups, soft drink bottles and coffee cups collected after every football and cricket match at the ground.

The Liberal Nationals developed the Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan in 2014 which had proactive solutions to tackling recycling in Victoria, but the Andrews Labor Government has failed to implement those key solutions.

Victoria’s recycling crisis is the fault of Daniel Andrews and his government and now is the time they must take immediate action to fix it.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment, David Morris:
“Victoria has a recycling crisis with stockpiling issues, suspension of licences, industrial
waste collectors going into administration and a government missing in action.
Victorians recycling their household waste do so in good faith but have been let down by a
Labor Government that claims to be for the environment, but really just doesn’t care.
Labor must stop hiding away from this crisis. With half a billion dollars sitting in the
sustainability fund, the time for talk is over and the Andrews Labor Government must act
now to fix this mess.”

Community views ignored in Labor’s ‘lock and leave’ VEAC report

The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) has released its final Central West Investigation report into public land use at Victoria’s Wombat, Wellsford, Mount Cole and Pyrenees Range forests and it raises more questions than answers.

The Liberal Nationals support a broad and diverse system of national, state and regional parks and reserves throughout Victoria and it is critical that all public land is given the resources required to ensure it is not left to become weed infested and inaccessible.

However, the report’s recommendations, if implemented, will significantly limit the activities of long-term bush users such as fire wood gatherers, recreational miners and prospectors, horse riders, four wheel driving enthusiasts, hunters and bush walkers, particularly in Central West Victoria.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment, David Morris:
“It is crucial that we get the balance right about using public land, and that the Andrews Labor Government listens to the community and doesn’t just dictate to them.”
“Public land management must balance accessibility and environmental outcomes; they do not need to be mutually exclusive.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Assistant Minister for Public Land Use, Melina Bath:
“The Andrews Labor Government has lost sight of the concept that public land is exactly that – for the public.”
“The overwhelming majority of submissions were in favour of greater access to public land and Daniel Andrews must listen to these views.”

Morris calls for Kaufland decision to be made by Shire

Mornington MP David Morris has used the very first sitting day of the new Parliament to call on the Minister for Planning to abandon his hand-picked committee set up to deal with the controversial Kaufland supermarket proposal and return planning powers for the site to Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday Mr Morris said “…the committee has been asked to provide a written report to the minister on a number of matters, particularly on whether the site proposed is an appropriate location. That action has the effect of sidelining local councils at each of the locations, but particularly the Mornington Peninsula Shire.”

“The site is located in an established parkland industrial area, and since the 1970s all buildings have been required to be set back 90 metres from Nepean Highway…creating a very pleasant treed landscape, albeit in an industrial area.”

“The land is not zoned for retail use, and indeed it is quite a distance from established retail areas. The current zoning does permit the land to be used for shops but only to a maximum of 1800 square metres.”

“Interestingly, the proposed main tenant has claimed in an advertisement that has been published in local newspapers this month that the total store area will be 4000 square metres. However, when I add up the various areas on the plans that are currently on the committee’s website, I reach a total of 6700 square metres, so significantly larger. Then there is basement and rooftop parking as well. “

“This application is a gross overdevelopment, it is on the wrong site and it simply does not stack up. The minister has sidelined the council and he has effectively blocked any serious local input because he knows our councillors will stand up for our community.”

“So, the action I am seeking from the minister is that he abandon this committee process and return the responsibility for handling the necessary site-specific rezoning at Mornington to the Mornington Peninsula Shire.”