Hard work capped off with award

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Getting it together: Environment Victoria’s Jane Stabb, Emma Humann and Mark Wakeham, Save Westernport Committee’s Elizabeth Hutchison, Candy Van Rood, Julia Stockigt, Louise Page and Environment Victoria’s Nick Aberle at the presentation.

“RELENTLESS hard work and environmental activism” lay behind the Save Westernport group’s receipt of the annual Community Environment Recognition Award at Environment Victoria’s annual meeting in Melbourne recently.

The aim of the award is to recognise the “achievements of remarkable community groups and individuals who have led innovative and persistent grassroots campaigns to protect places they love, often with very limited resources”.

The Save Westernport group was formed in May by a group describing themselves as “passionate locals [with] grave concerns about AGL’s plans for a gas import terminal in the protected Ramsar wetlands area of Crib Point”.

Many had never been involved in a community campaign before, but cited their “frustration and anger” as the catalyst to them organising quickly and accomplishing what many consider remarkable achievements in just a few short months.

Possibly because of their efforts, planning minister Richard Wynne effectively put the AGL project on hold by requiring it to be part of an extensive environmental investigation under the Environmental Effects Act (1979).

Save Westernport spokesperson Louise Page said: “We were truly honoured to receive this award from Environment Victoria.

“It’s been an extraordinary team effort with enormous support from the community. I feel we have played a critical role in holding back AGL’s plans and we’ll keep going as long as threats to the bay arise.”

Ms Page said her sentiments were shared by many, including AGL, who “attributed the environmental assessment requirements [to be a] direct result of community activism in the region”.

First published in the Western Port News – 13 November 2018

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