Moorabool Shire Council today thanked the Planning Minister’s Department for providing access to some technical reports relating to Maddingley Brown Coal’s (MBC) application to store and sort soil from the West Gate Tunnel project near Bacchus Marsh.
The State Government has given Council 21 days to respond. Council has been seeking access to the reports since last year.
The Minister for Planning is in the process of deciding if he will use powers under section 20 (4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to take control of the approvals process. Such an intervention would mean the Minister has the power to amend the Moorabool planning scheme without further Council and community consultation. The Minister would also be responsible for the enforcement of that part of the Planning Scheme that has been amended.
While Council is appreciative of the Minister’s Department for supplying some reports, it has asked that others considered key to any decision, including the Human Health and Environmental Risk Assessment, also be provided.
Councillors had made the decision to release them for public comment so Moorabool citizens could be properly informed of the proposal.
However, since this decision, Council has received legal notification from the proponent that in its view all the documents are confidential and cannot be made available to third parties citing commercial sensitivities.
Council is investigating its options and has sought guidance from the Minister’s Department.