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Charitable trust mounts case in favour of quarry proposal


A local philanthropic charity has defended a quarry proposal considered by its critics to be in direct conflict with the trust’s core values.

The Ross Trust has owned Hillview Quarries for more than 50 years, by the will of the late Roy Everard Ross, who acquired the Hillview site two years before his death in 1970.

Hillview Quarries owns the Hillview Quarry Drive site in Dromana, in Melbourne’s south-east, which actively quarries and supplies brown and grey granite to the local Mornington Peninsula region and wider Victoria.

The quarry’s approved granite resource is projected to be exhausted which has brought about the need to relocate and recommence operations – 850 metres down the road to the previously operated Pioneer Quarry in Boundary Road, Dromana, which Hillview purchased in 1999.

The Boundary Road operation (WA380) hasn’t been operated for 22 years but its known reserves have the potential to replace the current operating site.

The perceived conflict in the new proposal is that the Ross Trust actively donates all of the Hillview Quarry Drive site’s profits to environmental and social causes across Victoria. Its critics are arguing the expansion at the Boundary Road site will impact the surrounding environment that the Ross Trust pledges to protect.

Meeting growth and demand

Hillview Quarries’ chief executive officer Paul Nitas emphasised the importance of the Ross Trust and Hillview to the region.

“The Ross Trust wouldn’t have been able to support so many social and environmental projects in Victoria if it weren’t for its quarry,” Nitas said.

“Over the past 50 years, the Trust has provided more than $139 million in grants supporting local communities, children at risk, and environmental and biodiversity projects across Victoria.”

Nitas said the proximity of recommencing at the proposed quarry at Boundary Road is more than just a convenience for the 30-plus quarry employees.

“Quarry resources are identified in the Victorian Government’s Extractive Resources Strategy as being crucial to meet the state’s growth and demand for services and infrastructure,” Nitas said.

“It also identifies the need to use those quarry resources – such as rock, sand and gravel, close to where they are needed to keep housing and infrastructure costs down, support local jobs and reduce the environmental impacts of long-distance transport.

“There are no other viable hard rock quarry sites on the Mornington Peninsula, which means that in the future, without a quarry operating on the peninsula, the rock would need to be sourced from other areas of regional Victoria, which leads to increased costs for residents, ratepayers, local businesses, state and federal governments.”

Environmental viability

Nitas sought to quell the nerves of the local community by emphasising the quarry proposal is in the early stages of the Environment Effects Study (EES). He said that Hillview itself is seeking the scientific studies to learn of the potential environmental impacts in the proposal and how these can be managed.

“We understand there are concerns about recommencing operations at the Boundary Road Quarry, which is why Hillview Quarries was required to undertake a rigorous, thorough and independent assessment via an EES,” Nitas said.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation circulating regarding this process, which is why Hillview Quarries will continue to consult with the community and all of the stakeholders as the EES continues.”

The EES can be viewed online at the Planning Victoria website.

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