Community Demands Sustainable Development

02 March 2021

Like many people who sit in this House, I spend a lot of time out in my local community talking to people about what matters to them. It's one of the best parts of my job. Time after time, the issue at the forefront of people's minds is inappropriate development.

This is especially true on the Bellarine and in the Surf Coast in towns like Torquay, Ocean Grove, Drysdale, Portarlington and Leopold. On 20 January, a large group gathered in Portarlington Park's hall to discuss this very issue. At the heart of their concern is a proposal to build a five-storey apartment complex on the Portarlington foreshore. The community strongly believe it will negatively impact on their town; however, it remains under consideration by the Geelong council.

I understand that every property owner has the right to make a proposal. I also believe the council must balance economic development with protection of coastal character and community aspirations. That balance is only possible when the local communitythe people who live and love these townsis heard. I urge the Geelong council to not pre-empt the state government's distinctive area and landscapes decision regarding where development is appropriate and to listen to their community. I firmly support the right of communities to influence the way townships are managed, particularly with such significant growth pressures, green spaces, pristine beaches and vistas to the ocean. These places are special. It's why we call Corangamite home.