Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 in Greening Victoria

Baillieu Government support for open slather development has prompted an impassioned plea from the widow of former Liberal Premier Sir Rupert Hamer and former Labor Premier Steve Bracks, for a return to a bipartisanship approach on protecting Melbourne’s precious “Green Wedge”.

Labor’s shadow planning spokesman, Brian Tee, said the Baillieu Government had ripped away 4000 hectares from the Green Wedge for development on Melbourne’s fringe without regard for environmental heritage or an infrastructure plan to support more residents.

“Melbourne’s Green Wedge is what makes Melbourne’s lifestyle the envy of people across the world but the Baillieu Government has abandoned 30 years of bipartisan support to protect this land from development,” Mr Tee said.

“Thanks to the vision of Sir Rupert Hamer, who put in place laws to protect this land, our Green Wedge is part of our rich environmental heritage.

“Sir Rupert’s legacy is now under threat from the Baillieu Government, which has opened up massive swathes of Green Wedge land for development

“This is despite Mr Baillieu having no infrastructure plan to build new roads, schools and health services for new housing estates on our fringe.

“Melbourne families are attracted to our outer suburbs because they like the wide open spaces. What they don’t want is massive development, eroding their amenity and choking up roads meaning they spend even more time fighting traffic and less time with their families.

“Some things should be above day to day politics. Protecting Melbourne’s Green Wedge for our children’s future is one of those things.”

Today, Lady April Hamer was appointed patron of the Green Wedges Coalition at the group’s annual general meeting held at Parliament House today.

Mr Bracks, who as Premier added 800,000 hectares to the Green Wedge, also attended the AGM.

Mr Tee said the Baillieu Government also planned greater commercial and business development in green wedges as part of a planning zone review – which could have massive impacts on the viability of businesses in nearby communities.

“This demonstrates yet again Mr Baillieu either does nothing, or gets it completely wrong,” Mr Tee said.

“Mr Baillieu obviously doesn’t think protecting Melbourne’s environmental heritage or investing in vital infrastructure like roads and schools to protect our lifestyle is worth it.”

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