House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Constituency Statements

Casey Electorate: Environment

10:35 am

Photo of Aaron VioliAaron Violi (Casey, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

It was wonderful to invite shadow minister for the environment Senator the Hon. Jonno Duniam to Casey recently to show him our magnificent part of Australia. We hosted a roundtable in Olinda. Many environmental issues were discussed, from endangered species to weed and pest control, deer control, fire management, the need to support and promote volunteering, and the passion for our environment and community—which was clear to see from all those in attendance. I would like to thank representatives from the Friends of Sherbrooke Forest, Sherbrooke Lyrebird Study Group, Monbulk Landcare, Northern Yarra Landcare Network, Bungalook Creek Wildlife Shelter, Fly By Night Bat Clinic, Friends of Sassafras Creek, Olinda Creek Landcare Group, Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater, Emtrain Fire and Community Safety and Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group, not just for attending but for their passion and dedication, volunteering time to our environment and our community.

After the roundtable, we visited Healesville Sanctuary. The sanctuary isn't just a big contributor to local tourism; it's doing incredible work to fight extinction. It was great to visit the Fighting Extinction Aviary to hear about the sanctuary's work in breeding and releasing the helmeted honeyeater as well as swift and orange-bellied parrots. The helmeted honeyeater is found in only one pocket of the world, and that's right in my community of Casey at Yellingbo. We are so fortunate to have environmental groups and the Healesville Sanctuary fighting for our local wildlife and environment.

This June will be two years since the devastating storms that hit the Dandenong Ranges and surrounding communities in my electorate of Casey. The impacts to the hills communities are still evident, and the recovery is ongoing, particularly in Kalorama, the epicentre of the storm. Many of my constituents, such as Jan and Philip, and Paul from Kalorama, are still trying to rebuild. I had the opportunity to visit their houses, and they're facing many hurdles in rebuilding those houses. They raised with me the need for continued support for residents, including ongoing mental health support, particularly for our youth, as we continue to deal with the traumatic events of that evening.

I also visited Natalie and Lee Guest, other Kalorama residents who are trying to build a new home where their previous home was located after it was destroyed in the storms. However, their planning permit was denied due to bureaucratic planning schemes and policies. Their property was declared uninhabitable because of the potential risk of a one-in-100,000-year land slip. As I said, they are trying to build a new home where their previous home was located—same place, same location. I'm calling on the Victorian state planning minister to intervene and resolve this unacceptable situation.


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