Holden Proving Ground – missed opportunity

Holden Proving Ground – missed opportunity

A message from Save Western Port Woodlands (7/5/24)…


Holden Proving Ground – missed opportunity

Dear woodlanders
The bad news first. When expressions of interest for the purchase of the former Holden Proving Ground site closed on Friday, the State Government was nowhere to be seen.
To recap, in December we wrote to Environment/Tourism Minister Steve Dimopoulos asking the government to put up $10 million to secure the eastern half of the site for conservation purposes. This is about 1000 acres of high value coastal forest, the central chunk of the Western Port Woodlands wildlife corridor, recognised as being of national ecological significance, and critical habitat for a range of rare and threatened plants, animals and fungi.

Our letter was co-signed by 21 environmental and local community groups and supported by the Bunurong Land Council.
Purchase by the government would also enable an exciting proposal for the western half, including retention of the automobile testing track, classic car events and festivals.  Conservation? Tick. Jobs? Tick. Tourism? Tick. Regional development? Tick.
In the five months since then, we haven’t even received an acknowledgement, let alone a response.
“There is no money” is the new government mantra. We note, however, that there is still plenty around for some things. How about that $225 million to upgrade Marvel Stadium? Now The Age reports that the Government is considering investing in an arena to stage an ABBA holograph show.
Clearly our endangered critters are no match for the footy or Abba.

The good news

We’re not giving up. This is too important. We’ve worked closely with Trust for Nature throughout the process to secure the proving ground and they are continuing to talk to prospective buyers. We hope the eventual purchaser will put a covenant on the eastern half to protect it in perpetuity.
And Trust for Nature has advised us not to give up on the government. A late injection of cash would give them some bargaining power.
So tell the Environment Minister that you’re disappointed in this missed opportunity but please keep it respectful and positive. Encourage them to see the light.
Email steve.dimopoulos@parliament.vic.gov.au
Please copy in our local Member, Jordan Crugnale, so she can continue to advocate for us.
Email Jordan.Crugnale@parliament.vic.gov.au

Yours in hope.

Save Western Port Woodlands

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