The Mirror News

Second half of SGW petition tabled in Parliament

• Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien receives a further batch of completed petition forms calling for South Gippsland Water to keep its head office and depot in Foster from Foster Chamber of Commerce president Phil Rerden.

THE second half of the petition calling for South Gippsland Water’s head office and depot to stay in Foster will be tabled in the Victorian Parliament this week.

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien will present petition forms containing a further 600 or so signatures to the Legislative Assembly during one of this week’s parliamentary sitting days.

These signatures will be added to the 1000 or more listed on the first half of the petition tabled by Mr O’Brien on Tuesday June 18, 2019, bringing the total number of signatures up to about 1600.

This total represents the same number of local people sufficiently alarmed by the adverse effect SGW’s possible relocation would have on the Corner Inlet district’s community and economy who were prepared to record their names and addresses on the petition.

Mr O’Brien said all of the entries on any petition lodged in Parliament are physically checked against the Victorian Electoral Roll to ensure they are genuine and current and to eliminate any duplications.

“The Parliament is then provided with the exact number of bone fide signatures on a particular petition,” he said.

Mr O’Brien caught up with Foster Chamber of Commerce president Phil Rerden on Wednesday August 21, 2019 to receive the latest batch of signed petition forms, which have been circulating in Foster and the Corner Inlet area during recent months.

Mr Rerden said the chamber members were heartened by how many people had signed the petition against any proposed move of South Gippsland Water from its Foster headquarters.

“The population of Foster is around 1100 including all of the children, and so to get 1600 signatures altogether on the petition shows that people from throughout the wider Corner Inlet district and beyond are concerned about this,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said “I have already tabled petitions containing over a thousand signatures against any move by South Gippsland Water to relocate its headquarters out of Foster.

“Over winter the community has collected a further batch of signatures totalling nearly 600 people who have made their voice very clear.” 

South Gippsland Water is currently considering its future office and depot arrangements which it has indicated to include a move to Leongatha or Wonthaggi. 

Mr O’Brien said that was not acceptable to Foster, which would lose around 50 jobs in the process, a hammer blow to the local economy. 

“This is not something the local community will stand for and I’m pleased that our actions so far have led to South Gippsland Water putting a pause on its plans while it reviews its future further.” Mr O’Brien said the petitions would send a strong signal to the Victorian Government that South Gippsland Water should stay where it is.

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