Rock raised in Parliament

The controversial proposal to develop the East Paddock at Hanging Rock was raised in State Parliament last Wednesday night by our Member for Northern Victoria, Amanda Millar.

Speaking to the Legislative Council, Ms Millar said local residents had been in constant contact with her expressing their concerns over the proposed development.

"They love to see investment in their area… however, they are simply concerned about the proximity of the proposed development to this special place at the heart of Victoria," Ms Millar said.

"Hanging Rock is a very special place embedded in the hearts and minds of Macedon Ranges locals."

Ms Millar extended an invitation to Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, and other members of the Victorian State Parliament, to visit Hanging Rock over the summer, which the Minister accepted.

"It is only by standing on top of this iconic place - standing 718 metres above sea level - that you can understand why this site is so precious to so many," she said.

This latest development comes a week after Mr Guy met with local representatives of the Hanging Rock Action Group to hear their concerns.

Group spokesperson, Luke Spielvogel, said they provided the Minister with information and literature he had not previously seen.

"He was clearly concerned about the process but he also recognises that council needs to be free to do its business, but he was very receptive to our concerns," Mr Spielvogel said.

"One of those concerns was that council seems to suggest that $8.5m is coming from the State Government and he is unaware of any applications or where that sort of money would be coming from.

"He said that he was prepared to investigate some of the planning issues further and whether special places like Hanging Rock were in need of further, over-arching protections."

Mr Spielvogel said the Minister was told that their main concern was the lack of community consultation.

"We also touched on some of the process concerns in relation to some of the planning and environmental impacts and overall management of the Rock," he said. 

"We think that the Committee of Management no longer exists in its own right and that its responsibilities aren't being properly addressed. 

"The role of the Committee of Management has been rolled into general council business. We have concerns that the interests of the Rock aren't being properly advocated at council."

* Mr Guy was in Cabinet and unable to be reached as the Express went to print today. He will respond to our questions in due course. Watch this space for more.

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