The future of the Holden Proving Ground is once again up in the air following the decision by car maker VinFast to cease its Australian operation after less than a year.
Expressions of interest for the 877-hectare property, most of it bushland, closed in November but no sale has been announced.
Save Western Port Woodlands, in association with the Victorian National Parks Association, is calling on the Victorian Government to acquire the former Holden Proving Ground and protect this significant patch of the Western Port Woodlands for all Victorians and visitors to enjoy as a ‘Gateway to the Bass Coast’, while also helping secure the future of the unique and iconic wildlife that call them home.
The influential National Trust of Australia (Victoria) also supports the campaign for public ownership and long-term protection of the Holden Proving Ground because of its natural and cultural heritage values.
As Victoria’s premier heritage and conservation organisation, the National Trust has an interest in ensuring that the wide range of natural, cultural, social and Indigenous heritage values are protected and respected, contributing to strong, vibrant and prosperous communities. We strongly support the advocacy of Save The Holden Bushlands in seeking public ownership and long-term protection of the Holden Proving Ground site. The 877-hectare site forms an important biodiversity corridor that extends from Lang Lang to Western Port, and contains remnant coastal vegetation and endangered fauna species. The site has cultural heritage value as a significant landscape and we are in strong support of its inclusion within the Statement of Planning Policy currently being prepared as part of the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes project. As noted by Pat Macwhirther in Harewood, Western Port: Stardust To Us (2016, Hilaka Press), the site also has the potential to provide significant information on Aboriginal-Settler relations, Aboriginal astronomy, and long-term human history in relation to movement and flooding of the Bass Strait. We encourage consultation with Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council on this matter. Felicity Watson Advocacy Manager