I am writing as a 30 years resident of the Macedon Ranges and as an ex-councillor who has seen the region grow in its national and international appeal.
As a councillor in the late 1980s, I was proudly part of the move to preserve the natural beauty and appeal of Hanging Rock as one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Australia. While in office, I took an active part in the successful purchase of the surrounding property with the specific aim of maintaining the rural integrity and natural beauty of the Rock.
Since that time, we have had the pleasure of inviting large numbers of national and international patients and professionals to the Macedon Ranges for the purpose of engaging in our treatment program for Parkinson's disease. One of the greatest drawcards for visiting patients and professionals alike is that after business comes the requisite visit to Hanging Rock, in all its natural beauty and splendour as well as the historical and literary intrigue surrounding it.
So close to Melbourne but so unspoiled by excessive development, our collaborations with Japan, Europe and the United States over the past 22 years have introduced hundreds of visitors to this most beautiful place. And with this, our visitors have injected hundreds of thousands of tourist dollars to the local economy which, in turn, should only serve to maintain the natural beauty of the Rock.
What are we getting instead? A proposal by a short-sighted council that intends to sell out for a fist full of dollars and do little more than undermine the very ethos of the natural wonder that makes the Macedon Ranges the amazing place that it is.
The underhanded nature of their approach is revealed by the methods employed to achieve such a short-sighted plan for the Rock, including denial of due process such as the right to appropriate public consultation as well as the reporting of unfavourable tourist numbers visiting the rock ('Rock stats don't add up',
, February 4, 2014).
If the proposed commercialisation of Hanging Rock goes ahead, we can say goodbye to one of the most uniquely Australian areas remaining.