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Advocating Bass Coast's Priorities to Government

We have two key documents which guide how we advocate: The Advocacy Strategy 2018-21 and the Advocacy Priority List: Representing our Community: Shaping our Future - January 2020.

Our Advocacy Strategy 2018-21 provides a framework for determining how, when and why we will advocate. This strategy identifies a three-tiered structure to advocacy, where level one priorities are the top 10 most important priorities for the community.

Level one priorities are listed in Representing our Community: Shaping our Future - January 2020. These top priorities are all weighted equally and undergo a pro-active and planned approach.

Priorities adopted December 2019

We are currently advocating on the below top ten priorities to the State and Federal Governments. These priorities are in alphabetical order and are all equally weighted.

  • Bass Coast Aquatics Centre - Wonthaggi
  • Cowes Cultural and Community Centre
  • Erosion Infrastructure and Climate Change Policy
  • Homelessness and Emergency Housing
  • Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
  • Pathways - Visitor Economy Infrastructure
  • Phillip Island Aquatics and Recreation Precinct
  • Roads Upgrades - Kilcunda ans San Remo
  • Tertiary Education Investment - Bass Coast University Centre
  • Transport - Public Transport Infrastructure and Freight

Our Advocacy priority list: Representing our Community, Shaping our Future was originally adopted in October 2017. It was revised at the June 2018 Ordinary council Meeting, again at the December 2018 Ordinary Council Meeting and most recently at the December 2019 Ordinary Council Meeting.

Priorities on the previous lists which have been achieved received collectively over $200 million in funding. This includes: securing funding for the Wonthaggi Secondary College senior campus development, Wonthaggi Hospital, Wonthaggi Community Stadium, Phillip Island/Back Beach Road intersection, transfer of land of the current Wonthaggi Secondary College McBride Campus, 24 hour health care for Phillip Island, maintenance to the Cowes Jetty, Erosion Infrastructure funding, and Planning Policy Changes: recognising Bass Coast as a Distinctive Area Landscape.

Why do we advocate?

Advocacy was a key theme which was constantly reappearing during our extensive community conversations and engagement to Help shape a better Bass Coast in early 2017.

During this time we repeatedly heard that the community wanted Council to focus on advocating on issues and projects which require support from higher levels of government. We understand that the community expect Council to represent them and advocate on their behalf to other levels of government, and drive home the needs of Bass Coast in the major areas of roads, health, education, and a range of other state or federal government controlled areas.

As a direct result of this feedback, Council developed our very first Advocacy Strategy (850KB). This strategy was adopted at the June Council Meeting, 2018.

In September 2017, Council adopted phase one of the Strategy, a priority list document which outlines the key priorities for Council, which require government funding. All of the projects listed at top priorities were identified as priorities during this consultation.

Coal Seam Gas

Council's Position

In March 2012, Bass Coast Shire Council resolved a position on coal seam gas:

Bass Coast Shire Council is totally opposed to exploration and mining of coal and unconventional gas within the shire. In resolving this position, it is advocating the already widely expressed views of the community.

The continuing preservation, protection and promotion of existing agricultural enterprises, environmental values and tourism opportunities within the Bass Coast Shire, is essential to the economic and social well being of the Shire.

Council is committed to further research the impact of Coal Seam Gas on our region. Council will keep the community informed about advocacy of this position and opportunities that are available for community participation.

Port of Hastings

On 20 August 2014 at Council's Ordinary Meeting a Position Paper for the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project was adopted and the following Council decisions were made:

That Council adopt the Position Paper - Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project July 2014 which includes:

  1. A request for a commitment from the State Government to fund an independent economic, environmental and social impact study of the Port of Hastings container expansion project on the Bass Coast municipality – in particular Phillip island.
  2. A request for the State Government to fund an independent peer review of documentation being prepared by the Port of Hastings Development Authority to inform an Environmental Effects Statement.
  3. The following overarching principles to guide the development of the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project feasibility studies:
  • The project must achieve a net gain benefit to the environmental, social and economic prosperity of Bass Coast Shire
  • Clear and transparent evidence based decision making;
  • Recognition of Western Port’s status as a Ramsar Convention Wetlands of International Importance, and a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Biosphere Reserve
  • Protection of significant environmental assets
  • Infrastructure assets must be sustainable and have strategic justification and support service delivery
  • Decisions regarding the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project feasibility studies are inclusive and made in good faith.
  • The following objectives to assist in the development, and delivery, of the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project feasibility studies:
    • A State Government funded economic, environmental and social impact study of the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project be undertaken on the Bass Coast municipality
    • A commitment from the State government to fund an independent peer review of the studies underway and the documentation being prepared by the Port of Hastings Development Authority to inform an Environmental Effects Statement, and be made publically available
    • The scoping directions for the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project document be released for public comment
    • The Comprehensive Impact Statement be publically exhibited for the maximum statutory time allowable providing greater opportunity for comment
    • A new Shapiro style report (The Westernport Bay Environment Study) be commissioned, funded and completed by the State Government to inform the development project and a long-term management plan for Western Port prior to the Assessment Committee recommendation being made to the Minister for Planning
    • That the Minister for Planning meet with Chair of the Western Port Biosphere Foundation Board to discuss the Biosphere Foundation and Western Port’s sustainable development, and an open and transparent process for the development project.


Council Decision

That Council write to relevant Victorian organisations and associations, including, but not limited to, the Victorian Farmers Federation, Institute of Engineers Australia, Municipal Association of Victoria, Victorian Local Governance Association, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Destination Phillip Island and Australian Tourist Society requesting their support for Council’s position paper on the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project, and seek their advice regarding how the project, in their view, may impact on activities and the sustainability of the Bass Coast region.