21 Sep 2011

Miley Cyrus adds voice to Phillip Island fight

MILEY Cyrus has joined the fight against the Baillieu Government and its decision to allow a major housing development on Phillip Island farmland.

The Hannah Montana star has thrown her celebrity clout behind a community campaign to preserve land near the township of Ventnor, where she is a frequent visitor to the family home of her beau, Liam Hemsworth.

After Planning Minister Matthew Guy overturned a council decision and extended the township boundaries to allow up to 200 extra houses to be built on coastal farmland, Cyrus took to Twitter to publicly support the anti-development campaign to her 2.5 million followers.

"Phillip Island is such a magical place, it would be a shame to see it change," Cyrus tweeted yesterday.

The Ventnor community is planning a protest today to coincide with the gazetting of the new town boundaries ordered by Mr Guy to open land for homes.

Mr Guy's spokeswoman, Bronwyn Perry, said the land had been earmarked for potential expansion since 1971 and planning controls had been placed to ensure any development protects the coast and vegetation.

"It's fantastic that Ms Cyrus recognises the beauty of Phillip Island, and the Government can assure her that it has no intention of spoiling the natural landscape of this unique area," she said.

Bass Coast Council had declared the land off-limits until Mr Guy wrote last week to inform it he was overruling the decision and would rezone the land as residential.

Bass Coast mayor Veronica Dowman welcomed the celebrity endorsement and hoped it would help convince Mr Baillieu to wind back the decision.

"Initially we were shocked and now we are just hugely, hugely let down because the Coalition promised a planning system based on genuine consultation, and promised openness and certainty at the last election," Cr Dowman said.

Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said that unlike Cyrus, the Coalition did not understand what Phillip Island meant to Victorians.

"I'm hoping the weight of opinion now that Hannah Montana has stepped in will persuade the Premier to have a rethink."

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