Friends of Big Hill host sunset celebration, fight mine

Sherrie Hunt from Friends of Big Hill addresses the sunset celebration on Sunday.
Sherrie Hunt from Friends of Big Hill addresses the sunset celebration on Sunday.

FRIENDS of Big Hill staged a ‘sunset celebration’ to voice their opposition for an open-cut mine at the Stawell landmark on Sunday.

Celebration organiser Sherrie Hunt said about 100 people attended the protest.

“We had a couple of speakers and walked up the hill and chanted,” she said. 

“It was a celebration of our hill and the passion of people who together believe in health for Stawell.”

The Greens candidate for Ripon Rod May also addressed the crowd.

On Monday, the inquiry panel looking into Stawell Gold Mines’ proposed development hosted an initial directions hearing at Stawell’s shire hall. 

The initial hearing outlined the process for the main hearing next month.

Mrs Hunt praised the inquiry process, which she believed would give people opposed to the mine a voice.

“You came away feeling confident that everyone was going to get a fair hearing,” she said. 

She said 36 people opposed to the mine would address the panel throughout the hearing.

The panel received more than 350 submissions from individuals, government departments and private industry, with about two-thirds in favour of the open-cut mine.

Northern Grampians chief executive Justine Linley said the directions hearing had established the format for the main hearing.

“The directions hearing introduced the panel members and covered a bit of discussion about their backgrounds,” she said.

“It was to set the ground rules for the hearing and set things up.”

Mrs Linley said a venue larger than the shire hall would be sought for the main hearing because of high public interest.