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Community Assembly in defiance of Government desalination plans

Melbourne:9 May 2008

Tomorrow Saturday 10th May, Your Water Your Say will activate its Community Assembly to demonstrate the community’s determination to stop works at the Wonthaggi desalination pilot plant.

Various pieces of equipment have moved onto the site already and it is expected that Korumburra contractor ANCON will try to move horizontal drilling equipment onto the desalination site within days.

YWYS Spokesperson, Nia Emmanouil says “local community members have been forced to voice their opposition to the Government’s flawed water policy through peaceful community protest. Who else will ensure that a legacy of destruction is not inflicted on local terrestrial and marine
environments?”

The desalination project will contribute up to 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere every year; that is incongruous with efforts to reverse the reality that is climate change. There ARE environmentally sustainable and cheaper alternatives.

Ms Emmanouil says “The Brumby Government has forced through this water factory without any consultation with the Bass Coast community. The project has been surrounded by secrecy and requests for information have been ignored. As confirmed by the Auditor General, Government continues to flaunt a blatant disregard for due process and genuine community engagement, and it refuses to release the true cost of the project or the true ramifications of the project.”

Compelling evidence suggests there are more environmentally, socially and economically responsible options for securing Victoria’s water security. A study commissioned by Your Water Your Say clearly demonstrates that a water factory is not needed - see ‘Supply and Demand Analysis – Melbourne’s Water’. The Government has been unable to refute this analysis but it continues to push through this multi-billion dollar project that will drive water costs up to 5 times.

Whilst Bass Coast residents will endeavor to hold construction of the pilot plant at bay, the community assembly site will become a focal point for workshops, events and festivities that aim to maintain resilience within the community.

YWYS demands that the Brumby Government stop construction of all infrastructure to support the desalination pilot plant and revise the scope of the EES to include the pilot plant. For the EES to be effective the four month time line must be extended. This is an unprecedented short time for an EES even though this is the biggest infrastructure in the history of Victoria.

YWYS will keep a 24-hour vigil at the site and continue to demand that the Government be accountable for the decisions it makes.

Community Assembly Launch:
When: 12-12.30pm Saturday 10th May 2008

Where: Lower Powlett Road, Wonthaggi - off the Bass Highway, Wonthaggi.
(road is opposite the Toyota dealership on the Melbourne entry side to
Wonthaggi)

For more information contact:

Nia Emmanouil
Steering Committee
Contact: 0401 204 342

Andrea Bolch
President
Contact: 0400 065 253

Chris Heislers
Steering Committee
Contact: 0419 556 381

John Wright
Vice President
Contact: 5678 7083

Further details on the YWYS website

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