The Malta Independent 19 June 2024, Wednesday
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New Mqabba asphalt plant planned to be on residents’ doorsteps will not be built, Abela announces

Albert Galea Sunday, 19 May 2024, 12:36 Last update: about 30 days ago

An asphalt plant which was set to be built in Mqabba pretty much on residents’ doorsteps will not be built, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Sunday.

Speaking during a Labour Party mass rally in Zurrieq, Abela said that the government had created environmental standards for industries where such standards previously didn’t exist, including with regards to tarmac and asphalt plants.

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“We cannot accept that tarmac and asphalt plants move closer to residents,” Abela said.  It was within this context that he announced that the new asphalt plant which was planned to be built in Mqabba would not be built.

He thanked Economy Minister Silvio Schembri and INDIS Malta for working with the operators to find a solution so that the asphalt plant wouldn’t be relocated from where it is, and said that this work was done because the Labour government listens to residents.

Over 2,000 residents from Mqabba and surrounding localities had signed a petition against the relocation of a tarmac plant from Ħal Far to an abandoned quarry in the area known as Xagħri l-Imqalleb, placing it just 500 metres away from the nearest residential area.

Speaking about the environment, Abela spoke of the PN’s decision to introduce new land into the development scheme in 2006, noting that this isn’t an easy theme and that one way or the other someone wasn’t going to be happy.

“I have always been clear: the government cannot be charitable with people’s land. We never said that we would revert that 2006 plan because this gave new rights to families, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t what we can do,” he said.

Abela said that where land is still untouched and is government property, that land will not go towards speculation.  If the land is to be used, it will be used in such a manner that is good for the community, he said.

He also announced that Pjazza Karmelitani in Zurrieq, which is inside the development zone, would also be turned into an open space, and that there would be similar projects in Mqabba, Qrendi, and Birzebbuga amongst other localities.

“The question I think you need to ask yourselves in Zurrieq and this 5th district: who gave this area the most importance?  The Labour government, or the establishment?”

Turning his guns on the Nationalist Party, Abela said that this past week the PL launched it’s electoral manifesto based on 10 principles: Malta first, a competitive Malta, climate change, peace, immigration, connectivity, Gozo, European funds, agriculture and fisheries, and the future of the EU.

“We still have the desire, strength and energy to do good for our country,” Abela said.

“But I turn to you and ask, have you heard one single proposal from Bernard Grech and Roberta Metsola? They have no plan – not for you, not for the country, and not for work in Europe.  Their only plan is to divide our country, our families, and to break our country in Europe,” he said.

“They have no manifesto, but they have a plan: a cruel plan to destroy the wealth we are creating together.  They will do everything to divide us: they will conspire, provoke, and instigate,” he continued.

He noted how while the PL was unveiling its manifesto, they did “two protests.”  In actual fact, one protest was organised by the Nationalist Party, while the other was organised by a coalition of NGOs including Repubblika and several student organisations and unions.

“They got offended because we exposed them as the establishment.  But then they attacked the Attorney General, the police, the magistrates they didn’t agree with – because they think that rule of law means that the can.  They think that they have the right to rule, so they can do it,” he said.

He noted that they had even written to the European Central Bank “to further damage the country”, but said that “they are not managing and they will not manage.”

PN MEP David Casa earlier this week wrote to the European Central Bank with concerns about how Central Bank governor Edward Scicluna is still in his post despite being charged with fraud and misappropriation in the hospitals case.

Abela said that the European Commission said this week that Malta tops the ranking for economic growth and has the lowest unemployment rates.  “They will not weaken our economy,” Abela said.

“If you believe in a Malta which is united and not divided; if you believe in real justice; more rights; in a Malta which continues to work for peace; if you believe in proposals and not protests, then 8 June is your best chance to send a clear message,” Abela said.

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