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Question Status:  Answered

Session: 59 Parliament First Session Sitting: 2019 House: LA
QP Reference No: 0 Question Number: 734

Asked By: Northe Russell Party: Independent Addressed To: Regional Development
Asked Date: Jun 5, 2019

Question Preview:

CONSTITUENCY QUESTIONMr Northe to ask the Minister for Transport Infrastructure for the Minister for Regional Development

My question is directed to the Minister for Regional Development in the other place. Minister, what is the latest information regarding the government's stance on the future of Hazelwood Pondage in my electorate? Hazelwood Pondage has been closed to the general public for months, and many members of my local community are in the gallery today to plead with the state government to do all it can to have this iconic and much-loved asset reopened. This morning with the help and assistance of so many people from different local groups and organisations I was able to lodge a petition in Parliament that contained 3228 signatures and which calls for government assistance in reopening Hazelwood Pondage. Nearly 5000 people have signed online and hard-copy petitions, yet the government remains silent whilst the pondage slowly dies. All parts of our community are being negatively impacted by this closure, including yacht club members, Sailability participants, onsite residents, campers and tourists, local businesses, CFA brigades, scouts and guides, local residents and recreational water enthusiasts. Minister, our community has only one request for you and that is: save Hazelwood Pondage.
I thank you for your time meeting with me, along with user groups, to discuss the Hazelwood Pondage, which was originally constructed to support the operations of the now closed Hazelwood Power Station.


I understand that the Hazelwood Pondage has been a much-loved community asset, hosting many recreational and sporting events in the decades that it was open to the local community. As we discussed, the Hazelwood Pondage is a privately-owned asset (and outside of ENGIE's Mining Licence) and investigations by the company highlighted concerns about the stability of its walls.


ENGIE closed the asset to the public in April 2019 after commissioning GHD to undertake an assessment of the structural integrity of the Pondage walls. Based on the publicly available executive summary, I understand that this peer-reviewed assessment found that the Pondage walls did not comply with the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) Guidelines on Risk and that the only way to achieve compliance was by lowering the water level to 2.7m below the spillway level.


ENGIE has since lowered the water level within the Pondage to ensure compliance with these Guidelines.


I am advised that ENGIE considers that it is still not appropriate to allow on-water activities due to the risk posed by shallow pockets within the Pondage. I have recently written to ENGIE asking them to make information contributing to this further assessment available to the community.


I have further asked ENGIE to work with Latrobe City Council - previously the waterway manager - and local user groups in good faith to explore all possible opportunities for the future of the Pondage in an open and transparent manner.



Jaclyn Symes MP

Minister for Regional Development

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