Claim: Taint of Partiality Clouds Integrity Of Minister’s Quarry Panel

SAVE WESTERN PORT WOODLANDS
  • · Save Western Port Woodlands Group is concerned that Dandy Premix would appear to have ‘gamed’ the Victorian Planning Minister’s Panel Hearing for its Grantville Quarry Planning Permit Application;
  • · The Planning Panel (Planning Panels Victoria) is to hear its application, beginning March 22; to extend its Grantville sand mine operations;
  • · Dandy premix, through its legal representatives, sought an extension to the deadline for submitting ‘expert witness reports’ just one day before the March 5 due date for those submissions;
  • · Despite providing transparently ridiculous reasons for the request, the extension to the deadline was granted;
  • · Save Western Port Woodlands contends that the granting of that request by the Panel Chair to the favour of Dandy Premix puts a taint of partiality over the panel process;
  • · Save Western Port Woodlands calls on Minister Wynne to intervene and shut down this Panel Hearing.
  • “We contend that Dandy Premix has ‘gamed’ Planning Panels Victoria in securing an extension to the deadline to submit its witness reports,” Save Western Port Woodlands spokesperson, Tim O’Brien, said.

    “We also contend that the subsequent actions of the Panel Chair in acceding to this request despite the tissue-thin reasons provided by Dandy Premix, and despite the potential disadvantage to the community in granting these extensions, casts a serious shadow over the integrity of this Panel and this process,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “We’re furious, but more to the point, the Victorian community can have no confidence in the outcome with such a taint of partiality to the favour of Dandy Premix.

    “We are very concerned that Dandy Premix would appear to have ‘gamed’ the process, and equally concerned that the Panel Chair may have shown prejudicial bias in granting the request,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “The dates for lodging witness reports to the panel was well established. All parties involved were advised of the timetable by Planning Panels Victoria on December 23.

    “What concerns us most is that any difficulties associated with complying with the deadline would certainly have been known by Dandy Premix well in advance of its request to extend the deadline.

    “Why wait until the day before the due date to formally request an extension for the lodging of these submissions?

    In an email to Tim O’Brien, spokesperson for Save Western Port Woodlands, Planning Panels Victoria conceded that “The Panel accepts that the Applicant’s late request for leave to file expert reports by Wednesday 10 March 2021 is less than ideal”, yet still it granted the request.

    “The scant reasons provided by Dandy Premix for its request of an extension of the deadline (given through its legal representatives) verged from the risible – “all of the experts have been busy with other commitments” – to the ridiculous – that Dandy Premix will “will suffer prejudice and potentially denied natural justice”.

    “The people of Grantville, and the environment of this state, deserves better than this.

    “We call on Minister Wynne to intervene and shut down this Panel Hearing.

    “The electors of Mr Wynne’s seat of Richmond will certainly be interested in this Minister’s actions, and inaction, over the destruction by sand miners of so much of this fragile coastal forest ecology and the rare and endangered wildlife it supports.

    “Bass Coast and Cardinia locals would be shocked by the scale of destruction occurring in the Lang Lang- Grantville forest corridor, Mr O’Brien said

    “Environmental vandalism on this scale is unworthy of a Labor Government and is to the great discredit of Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and Planning Minister Richard Wynne.

    /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length.