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Australian Wildlife Protection Council submission to the SEITA concerning the Frankston Bypass

To: Ken Mathers, Chief Executive Officer, SEITA, admin [AT] seita.com.au
Cc: Tim Pallas, Minister for Roads and Ports tim.pallas [AT] parliament.vic.gov.au.
Cc: Martin Pakula, martin.pakula [AT] parliamentvic.gov.au
Cc. Joel Benjamin, Biodiversity Vic Roads, joel.benjamin [AT] roads.vic.gov.au
Cc: Bruno Aleksic, Manager Planning, bruno.aleksic [AT] doi.vic.gov.au

May 14, 2008

Dear Mr Mathers,

RE: SEITA - FRANKSTON BYPASS: Seita Ref: DO1072588

Your response (Seita ref: DO1072588) fails to adequately address the concerns I raised on behalf of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council or the Coalition of Wildlife Corridors. These concerns were specifically about the threat posed to wildlife and their habitat by the infrastructure and traffic which will be created if the SEITA proposed bypass route goes ahead.

Our own observation as well as discussion with persons well-informed in road-engineering, population and land-use planning, Peninsula Biosphere maintenance, wildlife-ecology and social amenity leaves us in no doubt that

a) the proposed route will severely impact on scarce habitat for local, regional and State biodiversity

b) SEITA and the government have not seriously examined viable alternatives

c) Pines draft master plan - part two and part three fail to remedy these problems

d) Pines draft master plan suggestion of a connection between the parts of the Reserve it will split would only present a very insignificant mitigation of the overall drastic damage

e) the proposed restructuring and popularisation of the reserves inaccurately markets new and additional habitat-stress as habitat and wildlife friendly

The proposed route will divide the Peninsula in two, making any hope of interconnecting wildlife corridors extremely difficult, if not impossible.

It is not acceptable for the government or its chosen contractors to go ahead with a structure which, despite some rhetorically supportive policies in Pines draft master plans, parts two and three, is in practice oppositional to international, Australian, and local practice and science for protecting the needs of wildlife. At the moment Frankston and the Peninsula, although part of an international UNESCO agreement for a biosphere that protects fauna and flora, are facing unacceptable decimation of indigenous animals in all or most areas where they struggle to survive. Roads, through habitat fragmentation and isolation, through very high rates of road-kill, and through their spear-heading of suburban expansion, are the drivers of animal deaths and species loss.

SEITA will only encounter and should only encounter opposition if it fails to use alternative routes to protect any indigenous fauna habitat from being cut off from the rest of the Pines, or indeed where similar fragmentation is threatened for any other habitats. Australian fauna is at greater risk than at any other time in history due to climate change, drought, habitat-fragmentation and annihilation. The need for more, not fewer, bio-links to save species and individual animals is critical.

With regards to the other areas of Frankston and the Peninsula, if SEITA continues with the same lack of awareness as previous road-builders in this country, of the many modern methods for mitigating road-kill, such as bridges, tunnels and overpasses, then it cannot expect and will not deserve support. This is quite apart from the fact that the population growth and urban expansion which it is relying on in Australia for customers and investors is not supported by the incumbent population and will probably become very problematical very soon due to oil depletion.

Sincerely,

Maryland Wilson, President

Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc
247 Flinders Lane Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Coalition for Wildlife Corridors
03 59 788 570 ph 03 59 788 302 fax
Mobile 0417 148 501
kangaroo [AT] peninsula.hotkey.net.au
web site: www.awpc.org.au
Registered Charity A0012224D
"As long as people will shed the blood of innocent
creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no
harmony between people. Slaughter and justice
cannot dwell together."
Nobel Prize Winner ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER