The Pillars - Time to Fix the Problem

23 Feb 2017

This morning I presented a petition from residents of the Mornington electorate seeking action from the Andrews government to resolve a problem I have raised in this house before — management of the out-of-control level of visitation to The Pillars on the Mount Martha coast.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, as the land managers, have long sought support and assistance from the government to resolve the issue. In January, after two years of fruitless discussions, the council resolved to close the area to the public.

I was present in the gallery during the debate, and I am pleased to say that while the council actively considered handing back their management responsibilities to the state, they did not proceed at this point. Given the total lack of cooperation from the Andrews government, it would not have surprised me had they done so, but at this point they have stopped short.

Last September, in the vain hope of getting some action from the government before Christmas, I raised the matter again by way of an adjournment matter directed to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. What was her response? It was: … this matter falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.

In other words, ‘Not my problem’. The only flaw in the minister’s reasoning, if you can call it that, was that just days before she signed that response on 25 October she had issued a press release announcing funding, unfortunately a paltry amount, for risk mitigation at The Pillars.

The response was not just a brushoff; it was also completely wrong. It is her responsibility.

Minister, the council has demonstrated good faith and the community has demonstrated good faith. It is time to get out of your ministerial office, get into your chauffeur-driven car, get down to Mount Martha and fix the problem.