Drain negotiations continuing

Hazelwood mine owner GDF SUEZ has spoken out about its Supreme Court action to have the Morwell Main Drain declared a public drain.

If successful, Hazelwood Power Partnership, which falls under GDF SUEZ, could avoid paying any future costs of the drain – a move Latrobe City Council is fighting.

A GDF SUEZ spokesperson said the business was working closely with council to clarify rights and responsibilities relating to the Morwell Main Drain.

“The Morwell Main Drain carries water from a series of council catchments,” the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Mayor Dale Harriman said he was happy with the support council received from candidates for the seat of Morwell at a meeting on Thursday.

“It went very well. All the candidates (we spoke too)… Tracie Lund, Jadon Mintern and Dan Caffrey… were supportive of council’s request for State Government support and also that this is not an issue of council’s making, nor should council be responsible for it,” Councillor Harriman said.

Independent candidate Tracie Lund said attempting to impose costs onto local ratepayers for issues caused by the Hazelwood mine was “simply unacceptable”.

“This is clearly another example of poor corporate citizenship, and I would strongly encourage Hazelwood Power Partnership to cease this approach and continue negotiations with the State Government and council to achieve an outcome that is fair for local residents,” Ms Lund said.

Sitting member for Morwell Russell Northe said he was hopeful the matter could be resolved outside of the legal process.

“I’ve been in reasonably regular discussions with council over the past few months about the legal challenges that HPP have imposed upon Latrobe City Council and their subsequent concerns.”

“In an ideal world of course we don’t want to be seeing (HPP) and council having this dispute in the courts.”

A spokesperson from the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation said the State Government was supporting moves to resolve the matter.