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Rail Infrastructure ‘Yes’ but not in the Wrong Location

Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur used a constituency question in parliament to ask the Minister for Transport Infrastructure to prevent the compulsory acquisition of 61 hectares of a Waurn Ponds farm by the State Government.

The Larcombe family’s Waurn Ponds property is one of the oldest farms in Victoria, containing 5000 merino sheep across 455 hectares. Rail Projects Victoria seeks to acquire 61 hectares of the farm, splitting it in two, to construct the Waurn Ponds Stabling Facility.

The City of Greater Geelong councillors this week voted unanimously to request the State government review all available site options to preserve this historic farm. For example, to the owners’ frustration, beside the property sits a 260 hectare property owned by Boral Australia, who are in the process of closing their quarrying and cement operations. This property option would present a suitable alternative.

Bev McArthur said “Key transport infrastructure projects are absolutely necessary in Western Victoria Region, but the State Government and its departments should take as much care as possible to ensure that public acquisitions of land are not an impediment to agricultural businesses or detrimental to local communities.”

Bev McArthur said “The compulsory acquisition of the Larcombe family’s Waurn Ponds property will slice one of Victoria’s oldest farms in two, which may render it unviable as a working agricultural enterprise as paddocks will be separated from the farm’s homestead and sheds.”

Bev McArthur asked, “Will the Minister override her department and request that the Planning Minister denies Rail Projects Victoria’s request for a public acquisition overlay to the farm?”

12 September 2019