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Forty trucks and tractors have blocked a central street in Werribee as hundreds of residents gathered to oppose a controversial plan to use a Wyndham Vale rail yard as a dumping ground for the West Gate Tunnel’s contaminated soil.
Residents, farmers and trades workers gathered at Station Place on Tuesday night, holding signs with images of their local MP and Treasurer Tim Pallas and the phrase “toxic Tim Pallas”, while chanting: "Pallas soils Wyndham" and "dump Pallas, not soil".
Trucks block central Werribee in demonstration against a plan to dump contaminated soil near homes.CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
The protest comes weeks after The Age revealed an Andrews government proposal to use a Wyndham Vale rail yard as a temporary “back-up” site for some of the project’s soil, which is laced with asbestos and potential carcinogens, PFAS. The rail yard is just 70 metres away from housing, and abuts four planned schools.
Labor MP Joanne Ryan, whose Lalor electorate takes in Wyndham Vale told the swelling crowd that Transurban was the decision maker in the proposed soil dump and the plan should not go ahead.
“We will not allow short cuts to be taken in what should be a carefully considered plan that has our environment and our health at the centre of that plan,” she said.
Ms Ryan said residents could be confident they would win this fight, after they successfully opposed plans by CSR Limited to turn its Werribee quarry into a toxic dump and waste management precinct in the late 1990s.
As part of that campaign, protesters drove tractors to the steps of Parliament House, which they planned to do again if Labor refused to back down from the current dumping plan.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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