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Peter Garrett in the hot-seat over Channel Deepening

DREDGE THREAT TESTS PETER GARRETT, NEW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER

The Federal Court Case to save Port Phillip Bay is a battle between the Goliath of government and the David of Democracy. It began on Wednesday 5th December in Melbourne’s Federal Court.

Blue Wedges have received little help from iconic personalities and organisations of the environmental old guard. Many very active activists think that the ACF and other big ol' environmental organisations have sacrificed too much for professionalism and to retain their position as the governments' first (and usually last) claim to consulting 'environmentalists.

Peter Garrett, one time President of the ACF, is now Federal Labor's Environment Minister. Surely he will stand up for Port Phillip Bay? I mean, how much bigger could an environmental and democratic issue get? A huge number of Victorians are appalled at the local Victorian Government's capitulation to big business and the port of Melbourne Authority, all in scary cause of continuous economic growth. Today is the second day in Melbourne's Federal Court for the Blue Wedges Coalition and Mr Garrett as the environment minister.

According to Blue Wedges spokesperson Jenny Warfe:

"Our new Federal Environment Minister can reject the State assessment report and there would be no need for this case to proceed, but so far we have heard nothing. This will be the first real test of our new Federal government’s commitment to conserving Australia’s unique natural environments and to international obligations."

"The project would produce massive plumes of mud and silt throughout the Bay for two years whilst underway. Worse still the Bay’s ecosystems would take many more years to recover from its effects, and may never recover from the toxic time bomb contained in over 2 million tonnes of contaminated Yarra sediments which the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) proposes to dredge and then dump again in the Bay."

"Port Phillip Bay provides jobs for thousands of people who rely on a clean healthy environment for their living. It seems unlikely that the PoMC could afford the necessary environmental bond or to compensate all the businesses that rely on the Bay’s water quality for their livelihoods, let alone conduct this implausible and ridiculous $1 billion plus project”.

"What's more, the State government has asked the Federal government to provide around half the funds required to complete the dredging to maintenance stage. There is nothing in this project for ordinary Victorians or Australians, so why should taxpayers be required to fund the trashing of Port Phillip Bay?"

Source: Blue Wedges Media release.