Newly re-elected Labor MP Anoulack Chanthivong has appeared before the Independent Planning Commission today to call for the rejection of plans for a cemetery in the Scenic Hills at Varroville.
The Commission was holding a public hearing on the proposed cemetery as part of its deliberations.
Mr Chanthivong, who was one of several speakers listed to appear before the Commission, said “panel members need to know that the development application before them is the beginning of the end for the Scenic Hills’’.
“A 136,000 grave site on the Scenic Hills will forever destroy the heritage value and unique environmental landscape in metropolitan Sydney,’’ he said.
“Should the Commission take the disastrous decision to approve this cemetery, a devastating domino effect will begin.
“This cemetery proposal undoubtedly has the potential to unlock a tidal wave of new development applications across the Scenic Hills, with the green rolling hills set to be further swallowed up by an extensive road network, function centre and cafes.
“The insidious incremental nature of this development will forever destroy the Scenic Hills, not enhance it,’’ Mr Chanthivong said in his submission.
The Macquarie Fields MP accused the state government of inaction that has made protection of the Scenic Hills increasingly difficult to achieve.
He pointed out that in September 2017 the NSW Heritage Council recommended a heritage listing extension to the curtilage of historic Varroville Homestead, located right next where the cemetery would be if approved.
“This would be a worthy recognition of Varroville’s historical significance not only to South West Sydney but also to the State’s colonial history,’’ Mr Chanthivong told the Commission this afternoon.
“I implore the Commission: do not make a decision on this development application until the minister meets her legislative obligation to make a decision on the heritage listing of the Varroville curtilage.
“This Commission must abide by the wishes of the community and protect the Scenic Hills from this development application.
“I cannot be forceful enough in my argument to this Commission that the Scenic Hills need to be protected, now and forever. Anything less will further destroy this community’s faith in our planning system.’’