Future quarry sites earmarked to feed state’s huge infrastructure appetite
The report says construction materials such as concrete, bricks, asphalt, paving, road base and aggregates are made with resources extracted from quarries across Victoria.
“We need to secure these extractive resources close to demand areas to ensure more sustainable truck movements,” the report said.
“This will act to maintain cost competitiveness for construction, particularly as demand for these resources is expected to double by 2050.”
Sections of land in Wyndham near Werribee and Nyora in South Gippsland have been identified as “extractive resources areas” in a pilot project released for public consultation.
The proposal includes changes to existing planning provisions that will be applied to pilot project areas for the first time to “safeguard” potential quarry sites.
The changes would limit uses and development that “do not complement or safely coexist with quarrying activities”.
Wyndham is set to supply greater Melbourne with 50 million tonnes of hard rock from 2015 to 2050 but without additional quarries, the report warns, imports will be required given a forecast shortfall of 40 million tonnes over that period.
Both Wyndham and Nyora have existing quarries.
Township of Lara Care Group president Barry White has previously fought plans for a proposed quarry near his property near Geelong, which falls just outside the pilot project area.
Mr White fears the government is now clearing the way for more quarries to be built or existing sites expanded.
‘They’re like moonscapes. They’re terrible.’
Township of Lara Care Group president Barry White
“They’re like moonscapes. They’re terrible. It’s that impact we’re concerned about,” he said.
He raised concerns about exemption provisions in the draft report, fearing the community may not be appropriately notified that sites had been selected for quarries.
Mr White also called for stronger protections to ensure environmental rehabilitation was carried out.
The Victorian government said consultation in Wyndham and South Gippsland about the draft policy was focused on planning for potential future quarries in coming decades.
A government spokeswoman said the draft policy was about securing access to resources to build affordable housing, better roads and public transport and other infrastructure.
“We’ve released the pilot for feedback because we want the community to be part of the process,” she said. “We encourage people to review the plan and provide their feedback so we can address any concerns they may have.”
The draft report said the pilot project would help determine whether special “extraction resource areas” would be progressively rolled out in other locations. Any new quarry would still need a planning permit and approvals.
The draft report says the project was a partnership between the Wyndham and South Gippsland councils.
But Wyndham mayor Josh Gilligan said the draft policy would lead to significantly increased truck movements in his municipality.
“Residents should not have to put up with even more trucks running on a single lane rural road because of chronic underinvestment and a continued push for residential development by the state to manage Victoria’s population growth,” he said.
Feedback on the policy will be examined later this year before a final decision is made.
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Benjamin is a state political reporter