To: The Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and Planning Minister Matthew Guy
People Power Against the Mining of Skeleton Hill Chiltern
Dear Ministers (Premier Mr Denis Napthine, Planning Minister Mr Matthew Guy)
Please review and reverse the decision to mine (quarry) Skeleton Hill at Chiltern.
Why is this important?
Contrary to the findings of the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT) this hill should not be mined for a number of reasons.
The VCAT panel was arguably biassed in its make up (no regional representation nor environmental representation and only a two panel make up; apparently consisting of former economist-developer and engineering backgrounds) and the chairperson displayed what looked like strong and close relationships with the QC employed by the proponent Holcim Pty Ltd during a hearing held at the Chiltern Bowling Club.
VCATS ugly decision over turned the Indigo Shire Council's decision not to allow this development to go ahead. Landscape protection, lost amenity, reduced tourism, reduced road safety pertaining to higher risk for school children and the community, noise and dust from loud blasting, loss of real estate values and destruction of vital and precious habitat and so on were issues of insufficient consequence according to VCAT and the Victorian Planning Minister; the mine was quite OK according to them.
Skeleton Hill forms part of a beautiful landscape surrounding the small historical township of Chiltern; it adjoins the Chiltern Ironbark National Park.This landscape was used by Aboriginal people as a burial ground and is highly culturally significant to local Aboriginal communities today. AAV findings were arguably wrong.
The hill is only three kilometres from the town itself and has great non indigenous historical and cultural significance. The hill and neighbouring forest are home to the highly endangered Regent Honey Eater known to be present here but falsely claimed not to be. Other endangered species of flora and fauna also reside on and around the hill.
There are also deep concerns for the hydrology of the area and future water availability for the Chiltern and district community, as the quarry will consume large volumes of water from the water table and reduce precious runoffs into the local creek networks and adjoining farms. Flora in the National Park could be highly impacted as the hydrological systems within the hill are blasted to pieces draining the hillside landscape.
The proposed new quarry is within 200 metres of the old quarry within the National Park left as an environmental disfiguration for all time. Other potential sites are within 50 kilometres and do not pose the same social, cultural and environmental destructions.
Large international mining companies are destroying the lives of local communities and natural environments all around the world. The Ted Baillieu now Denis Napthine Victorian Government appears to have began a campaign of developers take all at the expense of the environment and small regional communities. This is about making big money for the few at the expense of the many.
Please sign this petition and help stop this outrageous decision; please help the people of Chiltern.