You are here

Hanging Rock environmental buffer zone threatened by commercial re-use Macedon Shire Council Proposal

Macedon Ranges Shire Council has a very short survey on its website about the future of Hanging Rock, asking if you support large scale concerts being staged on this deeply iconic place of legend and film. The survey closes tomorrow, Friday 28 June 2013. There are some things you should know before you allow this site to be changed irreversibly. Here’s a link to the survey, but please first see our recommendation.

http://www.mrsc.vic.gov.au/Council_the_Region/News_Media/Latest_News/Hanging_Rock_Concerts_Community_Survey Please take a moment to complete the survey. Only identification it asks for is post code (e.g. 3442 for Woodend).

But before you click, here are some things you may not know:

  • The ‘East Paddock’ at Hanging Rock used for concerts was acquired by the old Shire of Newham and Woodend to protect Hanging Rock. Now Council is proposing large scale commercial use of that land.
  • The Hanging Rock development is a project promoted in the draft Loddon Mallee South Regional [Major] Growth Plan that the Macedon Ranges’ community wasn’t consulted about.
  • Council (i.e. Macedon Ranges’ ratepayers) spent $200,000 (as part of a $600,000 project) on the East Paddock in 2011/12.
  • Macedon Ranges Council recently received $2m Federal funding towards the $4m cost of the development currently proposed at Hanging Rock. Council is borrowing $550,000 this year, with another $1 million to come ($1.6 million full cost to Macedon Ranges’ ratepayers).
  • Total cost of concerts to ratepayers so far: $1.8m.
  • Council is always talking about ‘flow-on’ economic effects but not how much ratepayers get out of the concerts (the Wrecking Ball concerts in Australia made $25m in ticket sales [Billboard.com]).
  • The promoter of the concerts, who apparently isn’t contributing to the development, is accredited in local papers with saying this development is only stage 1, there is more to come.
  • According to Council’s 4 April 2013 media release, 34,000 people attended the two Springsteen concerts but only 3,000 were from Macedon Ranges Shire, so it’s not really about locals.
    • This survey is the first time Council has ‘consulted’ the Macedon Ranges’ community about how Hanging Rock is and will be used.
    • Plans of the proposed development have not been made public, but apparently include connecting the East Paddock to infrastructure and services, and construction of a hard surface stage area.

    Comment and Recommendation:

    If you are OK with local Macedon Ranges’ residents paying high rates and going into debt to subsidize “large scale” concerts, and undisclosed development, at Hanging Rock, without the community being consulted, by all means support future “large scale” concerts. That’s what our Council wants.

    On the other hand, we think it’s pretty rude that Council still hasn’t asked us if we want any development or commercial use at Hanging Rock; still hasn’t provided any information about what it plans and what it costs; doesn’t seem to be making anything out of it all; and the best ‘consultation’ Council can manage is asking a couple of leading questions after it has committed to spending our money and developing our land.

    Our recommendation: Click ‘no’ to large scale concerts, and tell Macedon Ranges Council to come clean about everything that is going on at Hanging Rock.