Dr. Kathy McInnes addresses Port Phillip Conservation Council in Victoria, Australia.
Sustainable Population Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian branch, Annual General Meeting, 2.00pm Saturday July 12 th 2014, Balwyn Library meeting room. Guest Speaker: Jenny Warfe, spokesperson for Blue Wedges: “Politics, Population and Ports.” NOMINATIONS WELCOME - ALL POSITIONS!
Massive developments to enlarge Victoria’s port capacity are proposed by the Victorian Government.
What are the monetary and environmental costs? Who and what population levels are these developments catering for?
Hear Jenny Warfe’s analysis of how past and future port expansion projects underpin population growth; the environmental and social impacts of the shipping industry, and the infrastructure it demands.
Venue details : 336 Whitehorse Rd
Balwyn VIC 3103, Australia
Melway ref. 46E8
Contact: Jill Quirk Ph. 95097429 [email protected]
Speakers: Jenny Warfe (Blue Wedges); Jenny Lowe (BirdLife); Dave Minton, Port of Hastings Development Authorities; Simon Brannigan, VNPA Marine spokesperson; Hugh Kirkman, Marine Environmental Consultant. Starts 5.45, Tuesday 15 April, Hastings Community Hub, 1973 Frankston-Flinders Rd, Hastings (booking essential) Westernport Bay is a site of international significance for aquatic birds and right on the doorstep of Melbourne. Its extensive intertidal mudflats, seagrass meadows, saltmarshes and mangroves support more than 10,000 migratory
shorebirds and 10,000 waterfowl. Yet despite its incredible importance as a bird sanctuary the Napthine Government plans to drastically expand Port of Hastings within the bay into an international container port - oil spills, dredging, land clearing, and thousands of more ships a year could put Westernport’s birdlife and habitats at risk.
This interesting and informative seminar will explore the potential impacts the port expansion could have on seagrass, saltmarsh and mangroves as well as on the bay’s many bird species.
• A representative from Birdlife Australia.
• Dr Hugh Kirkman, environmental consultant and seagrass expert.
• Representatives from the Victorian National Parks Association, Blue Wedges Coalition and the Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council.
WHERE: Hastings Community Hub, 1973 Frankston- Flinders Rd, Hastings (Google Map
WHEN: Tuesday 15 April.
TIME:Doors open 5.45pm, 6.10 start, finishes 7.30pm.
RSVP:This is a free event, tea and coffee provided, but bookings are essential through Eventbrite – vnpa.eventbrite.com.au where you are asked to click on a free booking to attend button.
Media reports yesterday that the government has received two 'confidential' reports that link channel deepening to coastal erosion in the south of Port Phillip Bay and the loss of Portsea front beach are no surprise to locals or others who have been watching the changes in the south of the Bay since the channel deepening project ended, Sue Pennicuik, Greens MP for Southern Metropolitan Region said today.
Read more: Beach loss linked to dredging -- Reports say wave surges hit Portsea. by Cameron Houston in the Age of 7 July 2013.
"Why are these reports confidential?" Ms Pennicuik asked. "Information about the state of Port Phillip Bay belongs to the public, not to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) or to the Port of Melbourne," she said.
The Port has refused to release the full range of data it has collected on the changed bathymetry in the Bay since channel deepening.
"I have asked for this information through the parliament and through Freedom of Information (FOI) and have not been given access to the range of meaningful data that would allow the parliament and the public to see just what has happened and is happening in the Bay and how much more water is entering and leaving on each tide.
"The Port has repeatedly denied that the loss of Portsea Beach is the result of channel deepening, when all the signs that people have been observing for nearly four years point to that clearly being the case. Now, one of the confidential studies is confirming that the 'size and velocity of waves reflected towards Portsea front beach appear to have increased.
"The research also found that wave energy had been redistributed along the Mornington Peninsula following the completion of the project, which is also no surprise to those of us who have seen for ourselves the 'larger and more powerful swells at the southern end of the peninsula' over the past four years,” Ms Pennicuik said.
"However, evidence that channel deepening has enabled any larger ships to enter Port Phillip Bay is and always has been opaque and dubious.
"Many scientists warned that allowing significantly larger volumes of water into the Bay though the Heads could lead to just the sort of outcomes we are seeing, but were dismissed and derided at the time.
"What is most galling is that the decision makers who ignored these warnings have escaped any responsibility for the damage done in the south of the Bay, which is likely to be irreversible and ongoing.
"Meanwhile, the DEPI stands by its position that there are no issues from channel deepening in relation to erosion at Portsea.
"This official denial has to end. Port Phillip Bay is public property and an ecological system.
"The government and Port of Melbourne should release all the data and information it has, and continues to collect, on the changes to the Bay," Ms Pennicuik concluded.
For further comment: Sue Pennicuik --03 9530 8399
Join us at Portsea Pier at 12 Noon Tuesday 4th December. We’ll have a bucket of money that we’ll hand back to the PoMC when Portsea beach comes back.
Please come back Portsea Beach!
PoMC can have its $100 million bond back when we get our beach back!
Join us at Portsea Pier 12 NOON TUESDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2012
The Port of Melbourne Corporation is due to get its $100 million Channel Deepening Environmental bond back very soon, because all the science the Port Corporation has produced says everything is fine and there are no lasting impacts from the biggest dredging project ever undertaken in the Bay.
PoMC says problems at Portsea beach are cyclical and weather related, and that beaches come ago.
Sure – we agree that beaches come and go.
But Portsea Beach disappeared swiftly in 2009 and it hasn’t come back.
Now ocean swell regularly pounds the shore. All the shady trees and golden sands have gone - replaced with rocks and a massive sandbag wall. The once picturesque and safe family beach is just a memory.
All since deepening The Entrance and despite $millions of taxpayers dollars in “protective” works.
All the swells at Portsea 2012
So….……. If PoMC is so sure Portsea Beach will come back, how about the environmental bond stays in State coffers until the beach comes back.
That’s fair isn’t it?
When Portsea beach comes back PoMC can have its bond back.
In the meantime, the $100 million can be earning interest for us taxpayers to offset what’s been spent trying in vain to save the beach.
Join us at Portsea Pier at 12 Noon Tuesday 4th December. We’ll have a bucket of money that we’ll hand back to the PoMC when Portsea beach comes back.
Sheila Newman will interview Jenny live 19 April between 12 midday and 1pm at 3RPP. You can listen live here. What next? Will they sell the people off as slaves? Will the remove access to our bank accounts overnight? Will they raise the cost of electricity so high that the companies take our houses to pay for them? Our Parliamentary system is beyond democratic control. Our economic system is a bad joke. Our taxes are used to pay for educational institutions which are then set up to profit private enterprise and investors and users overseas. And now, under Ted Baillieu, there is this proposal to sell Port Melbourne... (No, this is not an April fools joke.)
"It’s insulting that Spring Street might value the Port of Melbourne at only $2.4 billion (Baillieu flags state asset sales 23/3). Taxpayer shareholders recently spent around $1 billion on channel deepening and subsequent maintenance dredging to “prepare the Port for the future”. And, it’s a small fraction of the current estimate of $10 billion to develop the Port of Hastings – a project recently identified by government as urgently needed infrastructure. Taxpayers have invested in the Port of Melbourne for over a century and now we are expected to support its hand over to the private sector and then pay again to build Hastings port. It’s time to join the dots. Dumping the Port of Melbourne and developing Hastings is about catering for Baillieu’s pet projects for Gippsland: export of brown coal, woodchips and coal seam gas it he can find it. Topped up with Ports Minister Napthine’s proposed driverless trucks trundling up the Westernport Freeway from the Port of Hastings with assorted imports and we are approaching dystopia indeed."(Jenny Warfe, Blue Wedges) Sheila Newman will interview Jenny live on 19 April between 12 midday and 1pm at 3RPP. You can listen live here.
Sale Plan to pay for port
March 27 2012
THE state government could sell the Port of Melbourne for $2.4 billion and four water authorities to fund five priority infrastructure projects including development of the Port of Hastings.
The other four projects are the east-west tunnel (linking the Western Ring Rd and the Eastern Freeway), rail links to Avalon airport, duplication of major freight highways, and a rail tunnel from Caulfield to Footscray.
Last financial year the port paid a dividend of $13.4 million to the government and earned an after-tax profit of $39 million.
Melbourne’s four water authorities are Melbourne Water, City West Water, South East Water (which services the peninsula) and Yarra Valley Water.
The revelation of the government’s plans for possible asset sales has already drawn criticism from disparate sources including award-winning economics and public policy commentator Ken Davidson and environmentalists.
Mr Davidson wrote on Monday that it was “silly to prioritise the port at Hastings while Australia’s number one port at Melbourne has serious problems that inhibit Victoria’s development”.
Industry groups, including the Australian Peak Shippers Association, have warned the Port of Melbourne would face major bottlenecks from 2015 onwards as it reached capacity.
This has seen the government, led by Ports Minister Denis Napthine, to promise fast-tracking of Port of Hastings development (‘New port start five years away’, The News, 31/1/12).
In January Mr Napthine and Port of Hastings Development Authority board chairman Yehudi Blacher told The News Hastings was well suited to become Victoria’s second container port within 10 to 13 years.
“Container movements are estimated to quadruple over the next 30 years and it is critical that we begin planning for this growth now,” Mr Napthine said.
But Mr Davidson says development of Hastings could wait until 2035 when Melbourne’s population was expected to be five million.
Until then, the Port of Melbourne could be improved by redeveloping the Swanson/Dynon precinct, he said.
Other suggestions have included developing Webb Dock.
The pressure on Port of Melbourne has further increased following claims by government sources, port figures and shipping and automotive industry groups that the government is set to abandon its plan to move all automotive shipping from Melbourne to the Port of Geelong.
Port of Hastings has been touted as an alternative port for exporting and importing vehicles, especially with the closure of BlueScope’s hot strip mill, which saw the Iron Monarch bringing slab steel from Port Kembla weekly.
The Iron Monarch’s last voyage of slab cargo arrived at Western Port on Tuesday 4 October and the BlueScope jetty is underutilised.
Selling the Port of Melbourne and developing Hastings was about catering for Premier Ted Baillieu’s pet projects for Gippsland – exporting from Western Port brown coal, woodchips and coal seam gas, Blue Wedges Coalition president Jenny Warfe told The News on Monday.
Ms Warfe said it was insulting the government valued the Port of Melbourne at only $2.4 billion.
“Taxpayers recently spent about $1 billion on channel deepening and subsequent maintenance dredging to ‘prepare the port for the future’, as port authorities claimed,” she said.
“The current estimate to develop the Port of Hastings – a project recently identified by the government as urgently needed infrastructure – is $10 billion.
“Taxpayers have invested in the Port of Melbourne for more than a century and now we are expected to support its hand over to the private sector and then pay again to build Hastings port?
“It’s time to join the dots. Dumping the Port of Melbourne and developing Hastings is about the premier wanting to export from Gippsland brown coal, woodchips and coal seam gas, if he can find it.
“With massive trains hauling this cargo through our green wedges to Hastings – and Ports Minister Denis Napthine’s proposed driverless trucks trundling up the Western Port Freeway from the Port of Hastings with assorted imports – we are approaching dystopia indeed.”
The government last month introduced laws forcing the Port of Melbourne Corporation to pay an annual $75 million ‘’licence fee’’ that would increase each year with inflation and generated about $1 billion over the next decade.
The Port Licence Fee will add $8000 to $10,000 to the cost of bringing a ship into the Port of Melbourne.
The fee cuts both ways as the Victorian Farmers Federation says it will add $10 million to the cost of exporting Victorian farm produce. It has dubbed the fee a “tax on trade”.
Melbourne has the last publicly owned major port on the eastern seaboard following the Queensland government’s sale of the Port of Brisbane for $2.1 billion and a NSW government plan to privatise Port Botany.
Is Portsea preparing for invasion? Yes, by sea. Much of the beach has disappeared and the overhang has been sandbagged to prevent businesses from following it. Where did that $38m given to Parks Victoria go? This article also looks at Ted Baillieu's plans to continue development plans (cost $9.4b?) where Brumby left off, plus some comments from the Ex-Ports Minister, Tim Pallas.
The Department of Sustainability (DSE) and the Office of Environmental Monitor (OEM) probably had hoped their problem of disappearing iconic Portsea beach might have gone away. Well their problem hasn’t gone, but the beach has!
Sadly for them and thousands of holiday makers who once loved Portsea, the $millions of taxpayers’ funds thrown at months of beach works at Portsea have done nothing to solve the problem of the disappearing beach. In fact the supposed solutions - the sandbag wall and huge rockwall are already failing, with the sandbags nearest the pier breaking apart and slumping into the water. The DSE and OEM have been left to defend the channel deepening project long after the disappearance of its champion Mr. Brumby -who is a distant memory – leaving some unwanted legacies such as at Portsea with its sad and near useless beach and a massive sign erected by the Brumby regime spruiking how their plan to build a massive sand bag wall and dump some rocks near the pier would restore the beach.
Portsea Beach 2011, view from pier to beach looking south east. Once there was sand and trees. Fossickers with metal detectors were the only Portsea beach goers on this 2011 Summers day.
Damage obvious, say local papers
Local papers report that the damage is obvious.
Portsea businesses, including the Portsea Hotel owned juice bar claim that their takings are down 50% since the Entrance was deepened and the beach started to disappear. See: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/earth/stories/s939575.htm
Divers report marked increase in tides, currents and swells
Dive businesses too continue to report that tides and current speed have increased markedly whilst ocean swell now regularly pounds the beach and pier – making boat operations extremely difficult. (We recently were swamped trying to land a dingy on Portsea beach on an otherwise calm day but with a massive swell – it was like riding the rapids. Ed)
Ted Baillieu taking over where Brumby left off
It seems electing Mr. Baillieu in the hope of a fresh approach on environmental matters might be a dismal failure. He’s been silent on the damage to Portsea – in spite of his connections to the area, and within weeks of being elected, it’s more of the same for Port expansion plans with the new Mr. B announcing that he would fast track the development of the Port of Hastings within the next 10 years … …..That’s even faster than Mr. Brumby was intending! Sadly it seems our elected representatives are merging into a coalescence of business as usual dinosaurs when what we really need is some serious planning for a very different future.
Ex Ports Minister, Tim Pallas, now in opposition, changes tune, warns of $9.4 billion costs for Hastings Port development
We were amazed this week to hear Tim Pallas (previously the Minister for Ports and now Opposition spokesperson for Ports) sounding the alarm on how costly it might be to develop the Port of Hastings. See: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cost-of-hastings-container-port-put-at-94bn-20110227-1ba1l.html
Mr. Pallas warns us it would cost $9.4 billion to develop Hastings Port, suggesting that it may not be money well spent……..Mind you he was singing from a different song book when as Minister for Ports he visited Hastings in 2009 to launch his Port Strategy – we were there - to hear his “vision” for a “green” port ….whatever that is. See: http://archive.premier.vic.gov.au/newsroom/7997.html and although he didn’t actually name a $ amount for his vision back then, it involved about the same amount of road, rail and portside works as he is now warning would be a $9.4 billion folly.
Projected huge container loads
The plan for Hastings Port involves it handling almost 4 million containers some time in the not so distant future….that’s TWICE the current throughput of the Port of Melbourne. At the same time it is envisaged that the Port of Melbourne would be handling up to 8 million containers by 2030….QUADRUPLING it’s current throughput. Yes- that’s almost 12 million containers per year through Victoria compared with our present approx. 2 million per year. Hastings would look, feel, sound and smell like Port Melbourne.
And don't forget coal...
Note also new proposals for brown coal being mined in future from around Mirboo North. Presumably that would be shipped out through Westernport!
Oil depletion will dramatise the insanity of planned expansion of Hastings Port
Where would we put all that stuff and how could we possibly afford it? Perhaps our only saviour might be skyrocketing production, shipping and trucking costs in future as oil runs out, demanding a re-think on what’s essential and what past follies can be done away with. We’ve been feeding the machine at the expense of our natural systems for way too long just to keep the creaking old system on the rails for longer than it should have been.
Auditor General's report on failure to protect marine environments: Where did the $38m go?
Anyway – a voice of reason was heard in the Victorian Auditor General’s Report "Environmental Management of Marine Protected Areas" tabled yesterday (March 2nd) in Parliament. The audit reveals just how ineffectively marine protected areas have been managed to protect biodiversity. It assessed the roles of Parks Victoria and the Departments of Sustainability and Environment and Primary Industries, finding that Parks Victoria could not show that marine biodiversity is being protected. Only 10% of the $38 million allocated to protection of marine biodiversity could be shown to have been appropriately discharged.
Just what was the rest of the money spent on then? Certainly not in protecting Port Phillip Bay from the damage we see to the Portsea coastline or protecting it from the massive unregulated toxic dump we now have in the middle of the Bay compliments of the Port of Melbourne!
The Auditor’s report can be downloaded from: http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports__publications/reports_by_year/2010-11/20110302_marine_parks.aspx
The report also warns that Government is failing to protect coastal waters from invasive pests and diseases, and recommends the development of a marine pest biosecurity plan. Now that’s an issue which shipping and ports have a LOT to answer for.
400 invasive pests in Port Phillip and growing
Port Phillip Bay with its thousands of ship visits per year currently has over 400 invasive pest species and growing, whilst Westernport Bay with its approx 200 ship visits per year has only a very small number of invasive pests – around 10 when we last checked. Ships ballast water and the hulls of ships are the main vectors for invasive marine species, but the shipping industry isn’t very interested in spending the money to address the issue. So, Mr. Baillieu’s port expansion plans would likely mean an explosion in marine pests in Westernport.
A very interesting and alarming report on ballast water is at ABC Science Show: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s1232619.htm and how trade facilitates the movement and impacts of invasive species at in this 2003 Earthbeat transcript at: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/earth/stories/s939575.htm
"A staggering 120 million tons of foreign ballast water is dumped into Australian ports each year - that's a quarter of the volume of water in Sydney's famous harbour. Professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff believes it's crucial that something be done, because the discharged ballast water can - and does - transport bacteria from one part of the world to another.
"[Professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff] [...] tracked the spread of nasty micro organisms around the world. Dinoflagellates, which poison shellfish, weeds, even cholera, would you believe, carried in the ballast water of shipping. The story and its implications are really incredible."
"Gustaaf Hallegraeff: There would not be a ballast water problem if for example a Japanese ship that comes now to Hobart to pick up woodchips, if that ship would for example deliver Japanese cars. Then it comes to Hobart, it picks up woodchips, changes the cargo and it takes the woodchips back. If a ship always carries cargo there is no problems, but somehow dedicated ships became designed that only pick a particular types of cargo and therefore they travel in one direction without a cargo, and that is where they need to fill up the whole tanks - sometimes up to 100,000 tonnes of seawater."
 Sources: PoMC’s Port Development Plan 2006-2035 and PoH Land Use and Transport Strategy 2009
 Royce Millar, "Baillieu coal export push," 3 Mar 2011, http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/baillieu-coal-export-push-20110302-1bexa.html
"The growth lobbyists will tell us that we can solve our problems by converting to “clean coal” technologies or nuclear power, building more high rise, producing desalinated water at $10 litre (who knows?), installing “smart” electricity meters, piping water from the Northern Victoria to Melbourne, importing more food on more and bigger ships etc." Federal Candidate, Jenny Warfe writes, "I'm looking forward to a different way of 'moving forward.'"
Editor: Headings introduced by candobetter.org editor
Honouring our Provision of Asylum obligations
Firstly, I believe we must honour in word and deed our international obligations to provide asylum (1) for those who seek it, especially in view of our present international military activities. What’s more, the few thousand refugees who gain Australian residency each year make no significant difference to our population growth, so are irrelevant to the following discussion.
Dick Smith’s recent ‘Population Puzzle’ (2) documentary has brought population impacts into the mainstream so now seems like a good time to discuss one of my policies:
Develop a population plan informed by best available relevant science. Migration program should focus on political and climate asylum and reunions. Remove reliance on skilled migration by re-skilling and training Australians.
Neither the ALP or the Libs understand the mathematical realities of growth
As Dick Smith discovered to his amazement – there is no plan and neither major party seems capable of understanding the mathematical realities of growth.
Population growth in most developed countries is declining, but Australia’s growth rate has been rising fast. It’s currently 2% per annum - more than twice the world average and higher than most other developed or developing nation, eg: India’s 1.4% and UK’s 0.4%. At 2% per annum, Australia will almost double its population by 2050. Melbourne is set to double to 8 million in the next 50 years (3). Impacts of our growth rate are being felt in inadequate public transport services whilst tollways and freeways continue to expand; water restrictions; stresses on our coastline, oceans and waterways; loss of productive land to new suburbs; loss of marine and terrestrial biodiversity; destruction of our natural and built heritage for continuing urban expansion – and the accompanying carbon emissions and climate change. Surely the elephant in the room is the world’s inability to deal wisely with our own expansion?
Where's the logical end point to this?
I think every nation on Earth needs a plan based around some concept of carrying capacity. This might be a long way off, but a good start would be to restructure the UN as a real global government, extinguish domination by the USA and its allies, all countries to be represented equally and global defence and armaments expenditure to be significantly re-allocated to humanitarian and environmental restoration activities.
1994 Australian population carrying capacity Inquiry
In 1994 Australia did look at its carrying capacity in the Parliamentary report: Australia's population "carrying capacity”: one nation - two ecologies (4). But – the idea has gone nowhere since - buried it seems under the rise to power of the growth lobby, including the Business and Property Council of Australia – the few faceless entities who benefit from more of everything, and ably assisted by media commentators such as Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman. The growth lobbyists will tell us that we can solve our problems by converting to “clean coal” technologies or nuclear power, building more high rise, producing desalinated water at $10 litre (who knows?), installing “smart” electricity meters, piping water from the Northern Victoria to Melbourne, importing more food on more and bigger ships etc.
Climate change and paving habitat
Mr. Rudd was right. Responding to climate change is one of the greatest moral challenges of our time, but dealing with that challenge whilst we continue to expand will be all the harder. Until our political leadership has the guts to ignore the ramblings of Andrew Bolt et al we will be stuck in a reactive policy merry-go-round. As our natural heritage disappears it isn’t good enough to fall back on a “19th Century zoo mentality” and list yet another species as critically endangered (what’s the point if we pave over its habitat?) or propose a National Park to save a piece of our land or sea, when what we need to do for the safety of the planet and all who live on it is to reduce the impact we humans are having on the land and oceans.
Psycho-social and economic disconnect from Environment
It’s my view that since the industrial revolution humans have become the only species on Earth whose population numbers, at least in the “First World” are no longer prescribed by the environmental constraints that controlled us for thousands of years and other species for millions of years. Now, especially in the West we have become increasingly disconnected – both physically and psychologically – from the environment which sustains us, allowing us to consider the environment as a resource for our use and exploitation rather than our habitat. But the standards we have constructed in the West and our addiction to growth and its underpinning consumerism have come at huge cost to others on the planet. Poorer nations subsidise our wealth, providing consumer goods made with cheap labour in harsh conditions, and many such country’s lax regulations allow their environments to become degraded and their endemic species to be obliterated.
Capitalism can work well without growth
But, there is another way to organise ourselves. As even capitalism loving Dick Smith says, “capitalism can work wonderfully well without growth”.
We can get along very well in a steady state economy – indeed our quality of life, not just the quality of our possessions – might even increase. There’s quite a bit written about it, and it’s all pretty inspiring. See: http://steadystate.org/
Inhumanity of Growthism and Paying the Ferryman
I reckon if we don’t want to consider our population and growth impacts we aren’t being humane. Already, with 6.5 Billion people on the planet, over 1 billion can’t access clean water. With 9 billion people by 2050 how can we possibly address appalling realities like that? Sometime soon we are going to have to pay the ferryman.
I’m looking forward to a different way of “moving forward”.
(1) And on-shore processing centres
(3) The Age August 5th 2010 http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/make-plans-for-population-to-double-within-50-years-20100804-11fn5.html
The films made by Sheila Newman and including still-footage by James Sinnamon, show very high water at a time when the tides themselves were not at their highest, but rain was heavy and run-off had increased in storm conditions. This means that a very high tide could be devastating under similar rain and storm conditions.
Storm tides and heavy rains - recipe for disaster in overpopulated, overdeveloped Melbourne
Sue Pennicuik (Greens, Victoria) says that analysis of tidal data supports residents' reports of higher Bay tides since channel deepening. But even without higher tides overpopulation has made old conditions more dangerous. Films made by Sheila Newman and including still-footage by James Sinnamon, show very high water in a creek at a time when the tides themselves were not at their highest. What caused the very high levels in the mouth of Kananook Creek, Frankston, were increased volumes of run-off from increased hard surfaces associated with more buildings to accommodate population growth in Frankston, plus the very heavy, tropical style rain on top of the storm-tide. This means that, even without sea-level rise, a king tide could be devastating if it occurs during a similar short period of high rain and wind. Note that the deepening of the channel from the ocean to Port Phillip Bay was done to accommodate much bigger ships justified by projections of greater volumes of trade associated with the bigger populations in Australia as encouraged undemocratically by her state and Federal governments.
ABC TV Stateline 7.30 PM this evening (2 July 10) also has a story on the evidence of higher tides since channel deepening.
Rising tides in Port Phillip Bay – is channel deepening to blame?
"There have been growing reports of higher tides, beach erosion, faster currents and an increase in swell (surge from Bass Strait) since the Entrance to Port Phillip Bay was deepened,” Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik said today.
The Office of Environmental Monitor (OEM) is reported* as saying that there is no evidence to suggest that dredging is to blame for erosion at Portsea beach; and that the most likely explanation was natural erosion caused by the local impact of storms and seasonally high tides, exacerbated by the swell rolling in from Bass Strait.
“Tidal data that I have obtained from the Port of Melbourne Corporation and have had analysed, supports what so many residents, swimmers, divers and other businesses in the southern part of part Phillip Bay have been reporting since channel deepening: that tides are higher in the south of the Bay” said Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik today.
“Preliminary analysis of wind data from the past ten years suggests that wind beach erosion, particularly at Portsea was not caused by seasonal weather events alone,” she said.
Changes to shoreline
"I am very worried about the tidal changes that are being seen at many places around the south of Port Phillip Bay," said Ms Pennicuik. "It is one of the most serious effects of the channel deepening project that the government was clearly warned about at the time.”
“The preliminary analysis that I am releasing today strongly suggests that the average daily high tides have increased significantly at four points in the south of the Bay, by much more than was predicted by the Port of Melbourne on the basis of ‘expert advice’ in the Channel Deepening Project (CDP) Supplementary Environmental Effects Study.** However, more data is needed about tides, swells, currents and weather events to be able to know for certain what is happening in the south of the Bay, Ms Pennicuik said.“
"Unfortunately, the five metres of sea bed and rock can't be put back at the Entrance and Port Phillip Bay may be permanently damaged as a result of the expensive channel deepening project that we didn't need,” she said.
(From a media release from Sue Pennicuik, 2 July 2010)
The storm-tide associated with the flooding recorded in the films on 26 April 2009 above did not occur during a king tide. If the conditions had been similar and it had been a king tide, the damage and danger would be much greater. In the past few weeks there have been higher tides than in April 2009, but the amount of rainfall coinciding was not as great as in April 2009. Residents have the impression, however that Kananook Creek is running faster since the channel deepening in Port Phillip Bay. If this is true then erosion will be greater on the banks and the land where houses on Long Beach are situated.
Why does rain pose a new problem?
The state government (under Kennett, Bracks and Brumby) have made policies to increase development and population in Frankston over objections from many residents. The associated development has increased the hard surfaces (in the form of built surfaces like roofs, roads, gutters, pavements etc) and decreased the big tree coverage. Blocks have been moonscaped and smaller trees have been substituted for the old ones removed.
This decreased vegetation mass has the effect of decreasing the absorption and transpiration once provided by tree cover, which kept water tables down and absorbed a lot of running water. Now, when there is a lot of rain, more runs down into the bay via the hard surfaces and drains and it runs faster. During the storm tide in April 2009 Kananook Creek was flooded by water from drains and surrounding hard surfaces as well as by the incoming tide which was driven by high storm-winds. On this particular day the low pressure system was 997.7, the maximum wind gust was 93, the high tide was .92 cm and the rainfall was 30mm.
If this flooding from the hills had met with a king tide what would have happened to the houses, businesses and residents along Kananook Creek?
The Council will have to redo their planning scheme where the Land Subject to Inundation Overlays did not correlate with the land contours and did not accommodate the changes that were brought on by overpopulation and overdevelopment in the April 2009 situation.
In the absence of rain, storm-tide-surges still highly problematic
On August 25, 2009, most of the conditions were very similar to those on 26 April 2009. The low pressure system was 999.4, the maximum wind gust was 96, the high tide was .93 cm, but rainfall was only 8.4 mm. The creek did not flood, but this storm-surge still inundated the pier forecourt.
What will happen to Seaford, the next suburb, which is much lower than Frankston, if these trends continue?
Frankston most vulnerable to storm-tides but weather-station removed
Melbourne Water also seems to have been taken by surprise and to have used old data for Frankston Beach in the design of new infrastructure because new data was not available due to the removal of a Bureau of Meteorology weather station at the end of Frankston Pier.
Frankston has the longest reach of westerly winds in the bay and the storm surges rely on prevailing westerlies. For instance, when tide levels are .389mm in St kilda, they may be .730mm in Seaford. In Frankston, they would be higher again. The removal of the weather station makes information for Frankston elusive, just at a time when it is crucial.
All this indicates that the state of organisation and technology and planning in Victoria is not of a sufficiently high standard to predict or deal with the impacts of accelerated and additional development and population growth. The government departments are not competent for the demands they have been generating. The promotion and engineering of population growth and development was done against public opinion. This makes any impact, particularly any damage to person or property, all the worse, since it would have been avoidable if the governments had listened to the public.
Bigger pipes were put in under the McCoomb reserve, on the bend of the creek near the mouth, adding to the inflow rate and volume. These pipes should probably go out into the bay. It has been suggested by a resident that all big buildings should have retention pits. Others have called for no more building permits to be granted and for massive replanting of trees above the flood-level.
The Future Coasts site finds the likelihood of tropical style rains to be increased, with more storms in this area. Storm surges can virtually double height of water over the highest tide. Sea level rise on its own may not be the worst problem in the future; it will be more storm surges.
* The Age, 5/5/10, "Life’s not so swell at Portsea."
** SEES Appendix 45 Cardno Lawson & Treloar, 2007b.
Report on the Victorian Transport Infrastructure Conference
11-12th May 2009 @ the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre
by Catherine Manning
President, Southern Victoria Community Action Group Inc.
Foreword: A huge thank you to all of the groups and individuals who contributed to the cost of a ticket so that our community could be represented at this conference. As expected, the conference failed to provide any new information about the implementation of the Victorian Transport Plan (VTP) and seemed to have left some who'd paid up to $1655- for a ticket deeply disappointed. (One participant told me he was so stressed about what he was going to report back to his boss, as he'd convinced him it was worth spending the money to go and 'do business'.) However, I believe it was well worth SVCAG being there, as I was able to publicly question several ministers and bureaucrats on behalf of all of our groups, and made it known that we were concerned at the 'exclusivity' of the event that was publicised as a 'high level forum for discussion and debate'. To download a copy of / or view the VTP please go to www.transport.vic.gov.au
Disclaimer: I have compiled this report from my notes taken at the conference. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information, only to say this is purely an honest account of how I saw the event, but others may have seen it differently. I have tried to dot point as much as I can, and have added some questions that I asked (and some I didn’t !).
MC: Rob Gell opened the event .
Rob Gell thanked the sponsors/supporters: Project Link, Theiss, DLA Phillips Fox, Vibropile, Brifen, Coffey Rail, Leighton, Dial Before You Dig, GTA Consultants, Engineers Australia, and of course the State Govt - Dept. of Transport.
Jim Betts - Secretary, Department of Transport Victoria
After explaining his disappointment at his title of ‘secretary' which made it sound as though he should just be ‘taking minutes’, Jim convinced us that he is really a very important person. He then proceeded to give a quick explanation of the VTP...
• Melbourne @ 5million and the Victorian Transport Plan were produced together and will be updated every 3-4 years to adjust figures ie. population growth, etc.
• would like to work with industry to spread the freight task
• Into the future 2030 - more freight 'immune to economic issues’
• Vision for a 24hr operation, mass transit orbital system, significant expansion in port rail as per Eddington Report.
• 'We're planning for Hastings at the moment'
• Mentioned the 'Freight Futures' document (more on that later)
• Channel Deepening (plug for)
It was then opened up to the floor for questions. Rob Gell asked about four questions on interstate rail, emissions reduction and fuel efficiency.
(I didn’t hear a substantial answer, other than 'we're working on it' or words to that effect.)
Tim Holding as Minister for Finance, Victoria
• restated that the State Budget saw an $8b investment in 09/10 infrastructure for transport, schools, etc..
• Victoria the best place in the country, best workers... Wants to be the 'best placed in the country' - jobs jobs jobs... in transport - freight & logistics.
• VTP is the plan, the vision, the context to tell the community where to go with infrastructure projects...
• Sustainability is at the heart of this plan…sustainability…sustainability..
• mentioned Peninsula Link, Epping Line (rail upgrade), Lynbrook (road)
Catherine Manning Southern Victorian Community Action Group (SVCAG): Minister, I notice you say 'sustainable and sustainability' a lot, what is your definition of sustainable when it comes to this Transport Plan? How can more and more growth, less local manufacturing, a massive increase in freight imports, more port development i.e. Hastings, and the associated truck movements, be anything but unsustainable?
Tim Holding: ‘freight needs the best possible infrastructure to be sustainable’, etc., etc. Said something to the effect that now we all expect higher quality living, we have to develop Hastings so we can provide it. (Incredibly, he then went on for another ten minutes without answering my question….)
Halvard Dalheim - Director, State Strategy, Planning Policy Branch
1. Green Spaces. Spoke about Melb @5million, 1.8 additional people by 2036. 600,000 dwellings in the next 20 years. How are we placed to deal with growth? Govt response was to release its 'transport policies'.
2. Challenges - Shaping Victoria, linking regional Victoria, Sustainable Growth, unblocking congestion, responding to climate change.
3. Unique Collaboration - benefits/new approaches/relationships/new opportunities - VicRoads/DOI (now DOT)/DSE. Urban Growth Boundaries - new issues raised and discussed...loves collaboration...(group hug with DSE/VicRoads/DOT)
4. Managing Melbourne's Growth
5. Scale of Growth .. (up, up and up..). How do we accommodate this growth?
6. Components of Growth - international migration levels never seen before...address future labour force. Long term drivers - migration. Health infrastructure needed - maternity wards.
7. Trends of Growth Maps - bridge the Yarra/Maribyrnong
8. Affordability and Growth - affordable living, housing, etc.
9. Shaping Melbourne's Growth - The growth equation: 316,000 established areas. 284,000 growth areas. 134,000 new growth areas. Shift new growth areas North and West. Expand growth areas and high density living in Melbourne.
10. Urban Form and Growth. Block sizes.
11. Accessible Jobs. Can't keep building roads and tunnels to handle our transport issues. So now we have 'land use and transport planning' so we can influence potential behavior patterns.
12. Disadvantaged with Jobs
13. Mode of Travel and Jobs - cars cars cars.
14. Proximity of Jobs
15. A Sustainable City Form. 'Polycentric' Multiple major centres - jobs close to home. Box Hill, Broadmeadows,Dandenong, Footscray, Frankston, Ringwood.
16. Inner Core - housing.
17. Tram Network
18. Conversions - housing
19. New Opportunities
20. Infill - across metro area
21. Residential Initiatives - lot densities. 'Local intelligence' looking at City of Moreland.
22. Melbourne's Newest Sustainable Communities - rail links, smartbus, Northern Suburbs.
23. Delivery - 'Transport plan.....shaping Victoria....jobs...jobs...jobs.'
Ray Kinnear - Dep Director Strategic Policy and Planning, Public Transport Division
• Growth rate exceeding current growth forecasts across all models
• More people on public transport: Why?Fuel costs, Global Financial Crisis, 20% environmental concerns
• Operating railway - creating a metro
• Local Bus Networks
• Offer early bird schemes to encourage travel before peak.
• Rail infrastructure projects underway...New track Laverton, Clifton Hill Rail Project..etc...$18b over next 2 years
• $10b sought from Building Aust Fund
• Regional Rail Link - Western part of Melb - sharing tracks/bottlenecks. Build new line west of Werribee on Geelong Line. Able to run v-line trains - no longer on suburban line.
• Build a second tunnel- Dynon area across to Parkville-Domain.
• South East capacity problem. Metro tunnel to Caulfield - all lines independent.
• Waiting for Govt Funding
• 70 new trains 50 new trams, maintenance facilities, light rail, more stops.
Question from Cameron of Coffee Projects: How long do you anticipate that growth to continue?
Answer from Ray Kinnear: planning on continuing at 8%p.a.
Jonathon Metcalfe - Exec Chair Connex
• challenging times
• Pollution 'we've talked about that'
• PPP's - more from the VTP about what's being delivered....
• more PR pitch about keeping customers happy and 'managing dissatisfaction'.
Question: What about level crossings?
Answer from JM: Where there's a business case.
(mass exodus - about 15 people left the auditorium at this point)....
Question unposed: When you say ‘pollution – we’ve talked about that’, when exactly did we talk about it? I’ve been awake the whole time…did I miss something?
Question unposed: Shouldn’t we refer to climate change as a problem, not a ‘challenge’? I know it’s very ‘Chopra-esque’ to say ‘challenge’, but doesn’t that make it sound like a fun run or math’s quiz, not the serious environmental issue that it is? It may be challenging to find solutions, but if we’re to be really honest, wouldn’t you say that climate change is really a big ‘issue’ or ‘problem
Brad Vann - Partner, Clayton UTZ
• Cost $60b to replace all of Victoria's level crossings - how to deal with this in Global Financial Crisis?
• Impact of credit crunch - lack of liquidity - banks retreating from long tenure and complex lending
• Cost of funding PPP's - as liquidity in markets decreases, lending margins increase....
• Feast or Famine: sales pitch for PPP's - alternatives: Govt underwrite financing bids (potential conflict of interest) - unsyndicated portions of debt taken up by govt entity until full syndication possible - shorter concession periods - shorter term financing.
• Market disruption risk
• Govt takes back some risk - ie. Hospital infrastructure project - decrease payments from the private sector if not bringing in the $$$.
• Unbundle the project
• Peninsula Link 'economic infrastructure' - No toll, therefore needs $$$. then Govt repay private sector. Govt looking at this way.
• Super Funds - Institutional Funds. Govt guarantee to lift the quality of the project and attract investment thru super funds etc. In turn, super and industry funds invest to keep their members in work.
• Regulatory changes - at the moment there is better returns for people to invest overseas.
• Develop by Govt then sell to private sector [Comment by editor: This is privatization in advance]
• Ask Industry Fund Managers, if we meet operational parameters of the project, will you agree to support it?
At this point just before lunch, the MD of Theiss got up and said 'we need accelerated spend up on transport infrastructure'. However, I didn’t notice anyone jump up and wave their wallet around.
Lunch: Met a few of interesting people. Am beginning to think I'm not going so mad after all. Some of these people do seem to get it too, and aren't as excited about all aspects of the VTP as I thought they would be.... Almost managed to attract a few new members (LOL).
Darren Bilsborough – Director of Sustainability, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Rob Turk – Associate, ARUP
Sean Murphy – GM Infrastructure & Environment, Worley Parsons
Glenn Hedges – Environmental Manager/Project Services, Thiess
Refreshingly, Darren Bilsborough spoke of the ‘elephant in the room – climate change’
• the VTP failed to adequately address climate change, health impacts, peak oil or our aging population.
• minimising environmental impacts by collecting run off from freeways (used Frankston Bypass as an example) to provide solutions to other issues ie. Water.
• offset planting, ‘integrated resource management’, using road corridors as IT corridors (i.e. Broadband network infr.) and ‘smart energy zones’.
• the formation of the ‘Australian Green Infrastructure Council’, formed in 2007 by various industry reps, applying for state govt funding to try to create a ‘green star’ national rating scheme for business/developers.
Lots of talk about ‘fast tracking’
• geopolymer concrete / fly ash – being used as a better alternative to concrete. 80% less emissions.
• Waste vegetable matter for ‘sandwich panels’ – reinforced skins.
• Glass work – discharge from desalination plants to replace timbers, beams, concrete, etc.
Glenn Hedges repeated much of what had already been said, plus
• A ‘promo’ for Theiss providing indigenous communities with training & jobs to build a construction workforce
• More about the Green Inf. Council and Theiss’ efforts to replace lightweight truck bodies instead of stainless steel. Auto timing switches on mobile lighting banks, and more use of diesel
Questions for panel:
Rob Gell asked: Why geopolymer concrete wasn’t used for the construction of citilink and eastlink when the government had been consulted extensively on its benefits?
Questions from Catherine Manning: What payoff will there be for developers fastracking development to seek endorsement from Aust Green Inf Council, and will it have any real effect?
Answer: No real effect as yet, but it will be a ‘feel good’ exercise. There will be no legally binding contracts
Question from Catherine Manning: Doesn’t this just provide a vehicle for developers to appear green without being green when there are no real ‘green’ guidelines for development (apart from what comes out of the EES – EPBC Act). Where we have Work Cover and legal guidelines for other things, why aren’t there laws for developers to abide by when it comes to environmental/health impacts, etc.?
Answer: inadequate policy.
Question unposed: Do you think the Global Financial Crisis is being used as justification to fast track development so that even less community consultation can be justified?
Dr Lewis Gomes and Peter Zahnleiter (Brisbane Roads and Tunnel Experience)
• Spoke of the project delivery (if you really want me to document this, let me know, but it was about as exciting to me as watching grass grow).
• Their airport link averaged $56million per kilometer.
Peter Bentley – CEO Connect East
We then heard yet another promotion and back patting exercise about Eastlink. $3.8b for 39klm of toll way. Heard about Mullum Mullum Valley, the untolled Ringwood and Dandenong Bypasses, 88 bridges, 17 interchanges and 2 tunnels.
• 270,000 trips during the toll free period
• 135,000 once tolls introduced.
• Community consultation…’no one can ever say there was a lack of dialogue on this project’. Local community forum settled community matters
• Thanks to EPA ‘s communication between groups, there were ‘no public appeals when Connect East got works approval for the tunnel/ventilation project.
• 60 wetlands established / 3.5million shrubs and trees planted
Wrap up of day 1: So much of today sounded like repetitious, back patting, spin. There was nothing learned that wasn’t already in the VTP book. I got the sense by the end of the day that many of us hoped that tomorrow would provide far more substance, and we looked forward to ‘doing business’ and having that ‘high level debate’……
*I contacted the conference organisers beforehand to enquire about media access to the event. I was told there was none. However, Jason Dowling from The Age was there on the first day. On Day 2 Jillian Verhardt from Radio Port Phillip was permitted to attend (I didn’t see any other media at all).
Good morning Rob.
The Hon. Tim Pallas, Minister for Roads and Ports, Victoria, Steve Bracks Advisor 1999.
• The VTP will connect communities, build economies..etc…enhance livability, enhance amenity….etc…etc..
Apparently famous for his PowerPoint prowess, Mr Pallas lived up to his reputation and provided a lovely slide show….
10 Challenges facing infrastructure.
1. Congestion: $20.4b p.a. cost of congestion by 2020
($2.6b p.a. cost of congestion now)
‘Victoria is Australia’s Freight and Logistics hub’ – more talk about VTP Projects.
2. Port Capacity: 2035 - 8million containers annually.
Expand Swanston Dock – berth extensions
Webb dock for container handling
Transport plan for Hastings
Move Sth Dynon Rail terminal to Donnybrook
75% of channel deepening done – physical works due to be completed by
end of August.
3. Transport Linkages: Seymour Wodonga – Standard Guage Rail
4. Road Toll: duplicated roads safer than unduplicated
5. Freight Mode Share: more freight onto rail
Retain status as manufacturing state
90% of freight travels on road
Rail freight subsidies/freight access charges to encourage larger off-peak
use of port.
6. Intermodal Capacity: Container volumes not yet at a stage where rail is viable.
Until then encourage larger road transport to get freight around.
30m / 28m b-doubles and b-triples: tried and proven.
‘the public are accepting of b-doubles sharing the road’
7. Airport Capacity: Melbourne Airport Strategy
See Draft Airport Master plan 2008
Infrastructure Funding: imbalance – requirement of state to raise revenue, failure of states to deliver. Money taken from road fines/tolls etc. goes back in to building/infrastructure.
Availability of PPP’s – i.e. Peninsula Link
9. Residential Amenity: Freight Futures
Truck action plan: new off ramps Westgate Fwy at Hyde St will remove 1.2 million trucks a year. Sunshine/Dempster/Paramount Rd – trucks will divert around Seddon using tunnels and new routes.
10. Port of Hastings: Bolte’s vision – lots of talk about ‘vision’
Question: Jason Dowling (Age News) asked about the funding of the Peninsula Link, state gov. has allocated $350m but nothing in the Fed. Budget.
Answer: Tim Pallas said he was confident they would receive the Fed. funding and said it was not unusual for items to be funded after any given main budget.
Question: 30mt. super B trucks, are they suitable for our roads?
Answer: Length is an issue, so they will only be trialed on certain routes, monitored by gps system to ensure they stick to nominated roads. See map.
Question: Catherine Manning – Considering all roads in the VTP lead to Hastings, is it not a bit dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket prior to any environmental assessment or EES? There are other ports around Victoria that could service our needs. What is ‘Plan B’ if Hastings proves to be an unviable location for major port development?
Answer:Tim Pallas: There is no plan B. Hastings is it. The EES just tells us what we need to watch out for, not whether or not we can do something. Minister Pallas assured the audience they would secure the necessary environmental approvals/considerations. Geelong has limitations. The EES is not a yes or no process. Hastings will happen.
Justin Madden – Minister for Planning
Again spoke of VTP and Melb @ 5million. Spoke about:
• Fast tracked approvals for infrastructure developments / collaboration
• Housing – growth growth growth….
• 325,000 will live in provincial areas by 2026
• Something about extra help for councils to measure households within their municipalities
• Online planning systems / ‘modernising’ planning and environment act
• Finally, we need to consult communities
A man from Moonee Ponds: Why hasn’t growth been considered around Geelong etc.,…?
Answer: Again, hard to decipher, but something about ‘social issues as population reaches 3+million’, and ‘hamlets, villages and hinterland…’
Question: Jason Dowling of The Age asked if the Minister would sack his staffer after recent revelations re Brimbank Council.
Jason them commented cities over 3M seem to consistently present increased crime and other social problems.
Further reply from Minister, that our City is Attractive, especially housing as it is cheaper than Sydney. House and land packages here are around $60k less.
When does the population growth & infrastructure expansion come to an end?
Q. Catherine Manning: Considering your PowerPoint showed massive growth on Melbourne’s outskirts, are you concerned about the impact of all this growth on our food bowl, particularly the Koo Wee Rup Swamp/Gippsland regions? When does the growth come to an end?
A. (the following is a summary of what I understood of his lengthy response):
The south/east is almost at capacity and they are planning to move more people out to the West where there are larger tracts of land to be built upon (I then asked ‘so why develop Hastings???’ to which he said ‘Minister of Ports answered that’ – oh did he??? Well, just because it was ‘Bolte’s dream’ isn’t a good enough answer to me!). He said the rezoning of the 6 areas identified on the far edges would be done so in an environmentally sensitive manner. The North and West were definitely the only places to develop. He then went on to say that he welcomed my questions and was assuming my next would be about the EES process after Minister Pallas’ comments (well, actually I was planning on letting him off the hook on that one as I thought I might be removed from the gallery if I asked another question!!!) He spoke about the EES as something the community feels contains a ‘do nothing’ option. He said they (govt.) were more sophisticated now and complexities have to be managed. However, he did mention that although it ‘sounds like a done deal’ (my words), he would still have to seek federal approvals (EPBC Act).
Terry Garwood – Exec Director, Freight Logistics and Marine, DOT, Victoria
• More talk about more people, more freight, more, more, more. Planning, building managing freight network.
• Victoria is home to most efficient element of road industry: B Doubles – larger b-doubles under consideration to be trialed on certain roads.
• Freight task to double from now to 2030 ‘efficiency/capacity/sustainability
• Private sector moves freight on shared networks: trucks/cars, air freight/passenger, recreational boating/shipping.
• Government owns ports ( the ones in the VTP)
• ‘Planning and protecting’, ‘building and maintaining’, ‘managing and regulating’….( lots of buzzwords!)
• National rail that bypasses all major cities (now you’re talkin’!)
• International terminal at fresh market
• Truck Action Plan: building the network, freight charge during the day – encourage night road use
• Port of Melbourne’s charter to change to expand its role outside the port gate, giving them more power beyond the fence line of their current site.
• New policy document: Port Futures – tweaking the PLUTS
• This document will take Hastings and the UGB’s into consideration.
• There are no plans to introduce b-triples onto our Victorian road network, just longer b-doubles.
Question: Would Rail-Share suffer with the introduction of larger trucks?
Answer: Yes. Intra rail is port related. Interstate Rail non port related. National by passes all Capitol Cities. eg. Donnybrook Terminal. Metro rail freight is currently zero.
Question: Rob Gell: were green-house gas emissions part of the over all decision making process, especially trucks?
Answer: Aviation was quoted as 1.5% emissions, shipping 1.5% emissions. (Maybe he meant shipping and Transport, but that needs to be looked at.)
Rob said if Darwin was the Sea/Container terminal, how about train to the rest of the nation?
Further A. Melb. to Sydney Rail attracts barely 5% all freight movements. Funds are likely to be directed to increase rail and they are in close contact with Fed. Gov.
Question Unposed: Have the social impacts been considered or ‘costed in’ of the hundreds and thousands of ‘Daddies’ out there encouraged to drive their trucks only at night?
Stephen Bradford – CEO, Port of Melbourne Corporation
After a few figures relating to the Global Financial Crisis’s impact on freight movements, Stephen Bradford got stuck right in to the community for daring to suggest that things might not go so well to plan as expected. Here’s a rundown:
TEU’s (containers) Motor Vehicles
Dec. down 5.2% down 28.7%
Jan down 16% down 33.8%
Feb down 7.6% down 35.9%
Mar down 7.6% down 38.7%
TEU’s down 1.5% to Mar 09
Cars down 15.9% to Mar 09
Dry Bulk down 1.8% to Mar09
Long Beach down 30%
Seattle down 24%
Tacoma down 15%
Oakland down 16%
Los Angeles down 17%
(anyone wanna buy a transport plan???)
• 8 million TEU by 2035
• 60% container vessels are draught constrained, need ‘a hole in the sand’ – dredging.
• $12million EES
• Headlines cut and pasted on PowerPoint of ‘Negative Headlines’
He then went on to show news footage of ‘community reaction’, including the ‘Battle Zone’ story with Jo Hall, a Blue Wedges Rally, protesters and the exclusion zone, Federal Court story….etc..
• EES – after 130 recommendations from initial panel, rebuilt the team, performed the highest environmental studies, project liaison group, ‘subsequently we then had the SEES peer review by experts not on the original panel as selected by the state government’.
• Successfully dredged with no environmental impacts
• On schedule and within budget
• Port corporation took the option to be vigilant and open
• EMP is very rigorous
Followed by the ‘Big Tick’ video of the Queen of the Netherlands
• Took on an advertising campaign
• Showed the media ad
• More justification of media campaign
• Looking at Hastings and other ports
• By the way, loves the little penguins – lots of monitoring of the little cuties.
Question: What benefit to the environmental outcome of spending the $120M second/further EES re Bay Dredging.
Answer: He said it was worth it, they learned more about sea-grasses, penguins and turbidity. He also commented that the second 'team' convened to carry out the 'further' EES were almost an entirely new crew.
Question: CEO RACV Negus asked about increased container volumes on roads.
Answer: Negus was directed to the presentation by the previous speaker and he had answered all that. Negus only attended for the Bradford presentation and left the conference shortly after.
Question: Was Mr. Bradford concerned about increased severity of storms, King Tides etc. adding to an increase water level in the bay.
Question unposed: When you say the port corporation ‘took the option’ to be vigilant and open, what was the other ‘option’?
The Hon. Jacinta Allen, Minister for Regional and Rural Development
More of what seemed like a ‘press release’ from the VTP.
Question Jillian Verhardt (Radio 3RPP): Despite a recent massive upgrade there is great congestion at times at the Tulla/Calder merge. Bendigo and towns such as Gisborne had been touted as ‘commuter satellites’ for those seeking affordable regional housing yet wishing to remain working in Metro yet get home at a reasonable hour. Asked about the Melbourne City to Tullamarine light rail in terms of alleviating serious congestion, and stated that the airport had been doubled in capacity around 5 years ago, and the management were out there last year stating another doubling would be required to keep up with increased aviation activity.
Answer: Dismissed the question as it was in her opinion a metro issue, yet the highway, Calder and Tullamarine Freeway are heavily used already. As other road issues around the freeways are ‘addressed’, it is assumed that will ease congestion.
Tim Ryan – GM, ARTC
Helen Newell – Director, Corporate Dev. & Government Relations, Asciano
Andy McNicol – Coffee Rail
• Nth/Sth rail corridor: Melb/Bris/Syd – 16m gross tonnes to 28/35m 2015
• East/West: Melb/Syd/Perth – 80% market share - focus to sustain operation – not much growth in it.
• Include customers, deliver what the market wants, location of terminals to take long trains, commercial opportunities in regional areas.
• Trucks have access to good road networks, makes it difficult to compete for $$$ for rail infrastructure.
• 1.8klm trains Syd/WA 1.5klm trains Bris
• Engage with stakeholders
• Freight transport through inner urban areas an issue
• Need proper debate to find the best place for development (she’s speaking my language!) Hastings provides ‘many challenges’.
• Containers from Tasmania
• Asciano prefer development out west (i.e. Geelong).
• National freight rail system only way to justify freight on rail.
• Rail freight under 500klm cannot compete with trucks.
• Asciano position: move freight to west out of Dynan precinct to allow double stacking of Rail
• Literally arrived in Melbourne from Scotland 4 days ago.
• Was impressed by the ministers and audience being so embracing of the VTP and mentioned that there was much more ‘debate’ about such matters overseas.
Catherine Manning: Andy, you say that you are impressed that the Ministers and audience at this conference seem to be ‘embracing’ of the VTP. That may be because this is a ‘target audience’. The exorbitant cost of a ticket to this event prevents many community groups from attending (I am here representing a number of groups across Victoria). Further, when Tim Pallas said earlier that ‘the community had accepted b-doubles on the roads’, I beg to disagree. I don’t believe we’ve ‘accepted them’ at all, what choice did we have? They just arrived, and I can tell you that amongst the greater community there is huge support for a National Rail System that would reduce the number of trucks on the road, removes the parochialism and assesses the best place for port development.
To Helen Newell, if the cost to society of health impacts and safety issues were assessed and added to the cost of trucking freight, would that not bring the margin closer and make rail more competitive?
Helen Newell's response was that we’d be pleased to hear that the Federal Government are looking at this very issue and are about to release a document that she couldn’t elaborate on as yet, but that we would find it very encouraging. She went on to say that health issues and safety of trucks is being considered - Asciano stated it would help if trains were priced more economically, using all the columns. When they did their study, using all aspects, including safety, congestion etc. it produced a compelling argument showing trains can reduce road stressors currently present around centres.
(With this in mind, I wonder if we should hold off on the whole VTP until we can ‘collaborate’ with everyone for the best possible outcome for our freight needs! So far, the budget looks like it has done that for us, and I didn’t see anyone pulling dollar bills out of their pockets at this conference….)
More q & a for the panel:
Q. Freight via large trucks (all) around Port of Melbourne has a curfew to avoid commuter peak times and maybe residential considerations.
Is Infrastructure worth the cost to solve? Sydney has 4 hr curfew morning and evening re rail movements (noise and road closure/s?) where trucks are not limited there making it hard for rail to compete.
A. Asciano talked about doubling the track to Wodonga/Albury and said the Melb. to Bris. rail system was a major impediment.
Sydney was a rail bottleneck, in terms of getting freight through, especially sharing tracks with commuters as above.
Q. Wyndham Planner? The West is preferred location for rail terminal in a highly built up area.
A. The North-South and East - West must be connectable. The Sunshine triangle is part of this. North or West, both need corridors as a location. Donnybrook is 'looking good'.
Q Rail Lubrication from an expert in reducing friction, wear and tear etc. Apparently Aust. is using ineffective product and this adds to maintenance both trains and tracks.
A. This Q was dismissed immediately by the 3rd member of the 'panel', he explained he had heard of superior products but was sticking with existing suppliers and technology.
Q. Regional Hubs, who might be the operators? Terminals, rail, have their own economies of scale.
A. Financially, Rail always struggles. Multiple users is an answer and other business is required other than simply 'lifting' containers.
Single box rail transport does not pay.
Footnote - US does not allow double B's. Their policy is if the freight is that big, it must go by rail.
• Freight and Congestion have risen sharply. Though, traffic volumes appear to have leveled off. Public Transport is steady and has experienced strong growth. Of the $38B, how best to use.
• Plan beyond today’s needs, we are simply catching up with a back-log not actually creating future capacity. Look at least 30yrs ahead.
• Current government plans will barely provide for the next 10 yrs.
• EIS is the opportunity for Community to improve the environment.
• Land use is predicator for location of transport.
• The presenter used Boston as the model to demonstrate how transport planning can work, for both commuters and road users.
• Development on roads are best, in their opinion, near major intersections.
Over and out.
Southern Victoria Community Action Group Inc.
P.O. Box 707,
Ms Pennicuik, Greens member of Victorian Parliament, has drawn attention to discrepancies between figures apparently given the Auditor-General by the Port of Melbourne Corporation and figures obtained from them by the Supplementary EES statement process and the hearings and the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration.
If it is true that 96% of ships were able to use the Port of Melbourne with no problems, does this discrepancy mean that the Auditor General will have to review his report and the validity of the PoMC's business case, quality of information and practice?
Dredging has cost Victorians enormously already financially, socially and environmentally. Confidence is not high in the PoMC. It is to be hoped that Ms Pennicuick will follow this matter up urgently. Any member of the public wishing to find out more could put questions to Ms Pennicuik to ask in Parliament.
Ms Pennicuick (Greens) (Southern Metropolitan)
"I am speaking today on the Auditor-General's report on the channel-deepening project. This project has been the subject of much public interest since it was first announced in 2002. That interest continues as, unfortunately, dredging is under way. It is a mega-project with a scale of dredging way above anything seen before in Port Phillip Bay -- or pretty well anywhere else in the world. "
"I have read through the Auditor-General's report on the channel-deepening project (CDP), and he concludes that after a very poor start the Port of Melbourne Corporation had developed an effective channel-deepening project. On page 2 of his report he says that the CDP included: "
" a robust business case, complying with better practice guidelines and providing government with the type and quality of information it needed to endorse the project "
" an environmental management plan that addressed the requirements of the environmental assessment process and was endorsed by ministers under the state and commonwealth environmental legislation "
" contracting arrangements, where the corporation followed sound processes in determining how works should be procured and the contractual terms. "
"The Auditor-General concluded that all of these were in order. "
"I am pleased that the Victorian Auditor-General's Office chose to audit the channel-deepening project, because due to public and community concern about the scale and risks of the project it certainly needed independent analysis, which has been sadly lacking hitherto. This report is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate about the pros and cons of channel deepening, which, it must be remembered, is still happening. It is not a finished project, a point the Auditor-General himself acknowledges. It is still continuing, and he has not in fact audited a completed project. "
Was Channel Deepening needed or will it ever be needed?
"The Auditor-General's report is, perhaps, unable to answer some of the fundamental questions about channel deepening. The first question is: is it, was it or will it ever be needed? The second question is: will it provide any benefits to either exporters or importers or to the people of Victoria? These questions cannot be and are not answered by this report. "
"The fundamental question regarding the channel-deepening project has always been the need for it and the extent to which ships are actually depth constrained in the port of Melbourne. "
Wide range of figures has been quoted by PoMC
"Over the last few years the Port of Melbourne Corporation has quoted figures ranging from 25 per cent to 38 per cent of ships being unable to enter the bay fully loaded, but during the supplementary environment effects statement process and the hearings, and in the Report on Port Phillip Bay: Channel Deepening by the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration released last September, the port admitted that the true figure is around 4 per cent of ships that cannot come into the bay or leave it fully loaded. That means 96 per cent of ships are able to come in and out of the bay fully loaded. "
"The Auditor General's report states that 50 per cent of ships are unable to come into the bay fully loaded. I asked the Auditor-General at his briefing yesterday where he obtained that figure from; he replied that he had obtained it from the port. Elsewhere in this report it states -- in fact, it recommends -- that the Port of Melbourne Corporation start to collect figures on this. "
PoMC does not collect data on number of depth constrained ships entering/leaving Port Phillip Bay
"In fact it does not collect data on what ships are able to come in and out of the bay and are depth constrained. That was an assertion by the port, and it is unfortunate that that figure was used in this report. "
"The Auditor-General then went on to say that in order to measure the benefits the port should start collecting figures on what ships it feels has made use of the benefits of the project. "
Costs of shipping in Port Phillip Bay rising due to 'Channel-deepening levy'
"The other benefits of the project, as they were raised in the briefing, are to be measured by reduced costs to exporters and importers. Certainly information that has come to us is that costs to exporters are rising, because they are paying a $60 channel-deepening levy, whether they need it or not. Many exporters have said throughout the lead-up to this project that they did not need or want the project, and they did not want to be paying for it. They are now paying for it. "
"It will be interesting to see whether, through the life of the project, that measure -- the reduced costs to exporters and importers, when they are in fact rising -- ever comes to be seen. "
Questions about channel deepening and underwriting risks
Australia's Victorian Government appointed two Panels in 2004 and 2007 to consider the Port of Melbourne (PMC) proposal to deepen the shipping channels from the Entrance of Port Phillip Bay in the south to the container ship berths at Appleton Dock in the north, and to consider the potential environmental and financial consequences that could result.
The proposal is to allow an increase in the maximum draught of ships using the port, at all stages of the tide, from 11.6 metre to 14 metre.
Following receipt of the two Panel Reports, the Victorian Government granted approval to the Port of Melbourne Corporation to proceed with deepening the shipping channels, in accordance with their submitted channel designs and operating parameters, and to engage the Dutch dredging company 'Boskalis' to carry out the dredging work.
The following comments relate specifically to the safety of navigation of near 14 metre draught ships transiting the Great Ship Channel entrance to Port Phillip and to the potential environmental, financial and social consequences that may occur if these vessels fail to navigate safely through this Channel.
The entrance to Port Phillip is recognized as one of the most difficult and dangerous port entrances world-wide. The cross currents on the flood and ebb tides in the entrance, at times exceed rates of 8 knots and flow diagonally across the Great Ship channel in two opposing directions, simultaneously. Times of high and low water, when the currents are flowing at their maximum, can differ from the predicted times by as much as 60 minutes, due to changing atmospheric pressure systems and prevailing winds. Surface tidal currents oppose the direction of the bottom currents, close to the times of change of tide.
There is factual, electronic and anecdotal evidence that vessels with less than the maximum draught of 11.6 metre are currently being set by the cross currents outside the boundaries of the Great Ship Channel into the Eastern and Western Channels. Mostly these ships will not strike the sea bed due to the existing depths of water in the side channels.
Once the Great Ship Channel is deepened, (but not widened, as proposed by the PMC) for the use of 14 metre draught ships to transit, there is no doubt that the deeper draught vessels will more likely be set into the Eastern and Western Channels and will ground in the shallower water unless these two channels are also deepened to the same depth as the Great Ship Channel.
The Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses (PIANC) in its publication, 'Guide for the Design of Approach Channels', considers the effect of cross currents in excess of 1.5 to 2.0 knots to be too strong, for the application of their empirical design rules.
In such difficult environments, the PIANC Guide recommendations require the use of ALL available local data and knowledge and testing by simulation trials to determine individual safe entrance channel design widths. These PIANC 'Recommendations' have not been fully complied with in the Entrance Channel design process.
Notwithstanding the Government's acceptance of the two Panel Reports and the PMC proposal there are many serious concerns and unanswered questions expressed by pilots, other professional mariners and hydrographic surveyors, with the safety of the 'approved' entrance channel design, and with the proposed operating parameters for near 14 metre draught ships to safely transit the Entrance to Port Phillip Bay.
Accepting the legitimacy of these concerns, the question of responsibility and liability must be examined for the potential causes (including a flawed channel design and flawed operating parameters) of a near 14 metre draught vessel grounding outside the boundaries of the Great Ship Channel and also for the potential consequences, including a shipwreck and the release of large quantities of oil. Attributing such an accident to an "Act of God" if the ship is set outside the boundaries of the Great Ship Channel and grounds in the side channels is unacceptable.
Ship owners and marine underwriters must take a close look at reduced safety margins and increased risks and the areas of responsibility and liability, and authorities must be aware of the potential economic, environmental and social consequences.
Dredging commenced on the February 8, 2008. At the start of April 2008 the project was referred to the Victorian Government Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration for the Committee to examine the 'Business Case', as advanced by the Port of Melbourne Corporation.
The reduced safety margins and increased risks associated with the proposed channel design and the proposed operating parameters of a near 14 metre draught vessel transiting the Heads, have not been properly investigated: they are not fully understood and have not been taken into account in arguing the business case. The failure to cost risk in the business case precludes the business case complying with government and industry standards.
These deficiencies undermine the credibility of the design process for the channel at Port Phillip Heads and there is little confidence in the project securing an adequate level of ship safety and maintaining safe financial, environmental and social standards.
The safety of near 14 metre draught ships transiting Port Phillip Heads is being compromised and all parties including governments, ship owners and marine insurers need to be fully aware of the increased level of risk and the potential consequences.
The author of this paper is Captain Frank Hart, former Harbour Master of the port of Western Port and Hastings. His assertions in this report are supported by evidence provided by several former Port Phillip Pilots.
See also: www.bluewedges.org.
Blue Wedges media release of 1 Aug 2008
Revelations today (Friday 1st August 2008) that the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) has failed to clean up after itself at The Heads is not surprising, nor was it a surprise that the Corporation was slow to reveal the facts on the issue.
"The Port Corporation has a long history of failing to disclose information until the eleventh hour" says Jenny Warfe Blue Wedges Spokesperson.
No penalty for this breach of the 'rulebook' has been applied and PoMC officials are reportedly confident that "minimal environmental damage" would have occurred to nearby colonies of rare sea sponges ... Just as they hailed the 2005 Trial Dredge a success, but later had to admit the trial had caused serious rockfall events and ongoing disintegration of the Port Phillip Heads seabed.
In 2005, The Port Corporation claimed only 20 m3 of rocks had fallen during Trial dredging. In fact around 6,000 m3 of rock tumbled over rare and delicate sponges into the canyon 100 metres below. It wasn't until independent divers were able to access the area that the full extent of the damage was revealed to the public.
In 2007, the Corporation again failed to disclose crucial documents regarding toxic sediments, water quality and bioaccumulation studies during the Public Inquiry. Those documents underscore inadequacies in the human health risks assessment presented to the public in the SEES released earlier that year. What's more, on the last day of the Inquiry, a report by consultants SKM was produced, revealing ongoing damage at The Heads from rock scour and erosion as a result of the 2005 Trial Dredge. The report even admits that mobile rocks will be an ongoing hazard to shipping, with rock mounds up to 2 metres height accumulating in the Great Ship Channel.
"Due to the Port Corporation's tardiness in releasing these documents (and who knows what else hasn't been released) the public is mostly unaware of many additional risks well known by the PoMC but only revealed after the Supplementary Environmental Effects Statement (SEES) was released" says Ms. Warfe.
"It's time for Mr. Brumby and Mr. Garrett to call a halt to the dredging project" says Ms. Warfe. "Federal Environment Minister Garrett has a moral imperative to protect those 120+ unique sponge species at The Heads, many of which would take hundreds of years to re-colonise, and which exist nowhere else on earth. If he can't do that, what use is he as an Environment Minister""
"Mr. Brumby has just announced that Victoria cannot cope with current growth rates, so what better time than now to re-evaluate the need for a project whose projected economic benefits are entirely reliant on quadrupling trade through Melbourne in the next 25 years. Melbourne cannot cope with its current congestion level, so how would we cope with the projected quadrupling of trucks trundling through portside suburbs which are already suffering more than 8,000 truck trips per day outside their homes"
Today's announcement from the PoMC gives Mr. Brumby a wonderful opportunity to re-think the future.
"We are allowing the Port Corporation to risk the health of the Bay and our community, based entirely on their fervent hope that more big ships will come here at some point in the future. The Port's growth projections were never well justified and are even less so now. We might be digging a big freeway through the Bay that will never be used" says Ms. Warfe.
Today, on 16 July 2008, Victorian Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik, called it,
“... another sign of the sad state of our democracy that the state government and Port of Melbourne have pursued another community for daring to oppose their actions."
She explained that, "While Justice North may have had no legal option to the awarding of costs against Blue Wedges for taking court action, he made it clear that he disapproved of the Government arguing for scalps to hang on the fence so that other community groups would know what to expect when they challenge government decisions in court."
Ms Pennicuik warned, “It is imperative that government decisions that can profoundly affect the community and the environment, like channel deepening and the desalination plant, can be challenged by the community without the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads."
She said, "It’s bad enough that developers and corporations are able to gain access to ministers and political influence through donations, but it seems pretty clear that access to the courts is only for those with deep pockets." In her opinion, "If the community can't take action in the courts against poor government decisions then we effectively have government by Executive."
She denounced government ethics, saying that, "The modus operandi of this government, in publicly insulting and attempting to discredit community groups and then pursuing costs against them, is appalling."
She pointed out that the environmental laws give activists for the public welfare few if any options outside the courts:
"The earlier judgement by Justice North regarding the Blue Wedges case already showed that our state and federal environment laws don't protect the environment...", said Sue Pennicuik.
But, the Courts cannot protect the environment either, and activists are penalised for attempting to bring their arguments to the public via the court process. "The awarding of costs yesterday, while technically legal, is a sign of how the legal machinery may silence critics of the government and PoMC."
Rightly, Ms Pennicuik reminded the government of its obligation to listen to and act on public criticism in a positive democratic manner. "The community is not the enemy and the government would do better listening to what people have to say rather silencing critics," Ms Pennicuik stated.
In conclusion, she expressed concern, "... about the implications of the current legal system for justice and democracy,"
and announced that she would "be looking at ways to prevent governments from squashing community voices."
Bravo Sue! Victoria needs your voice and others to join their voice with yours.
From a Greens Media Release 16 July 2008
Further information: Sue Pennicuik 0409 055 875
Greens Media Release, 7 July 08
“The dredging of toxic sediments from the Yarra River should stop until an investigation is carried out into the discovery of dead fish floating in the water at Newport on Saturday”, Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik said.
“It’s more than a strange coincidence that fish are dying not far from where the grab dredge Goomai is digging up silt from the Yarra River bed and putting it in a barge to be dumped in the middle of Port Phillip Bay”, she said.
“So many people have warned the government and the Port of Melbourne that stirring up the contaminated sediments in the Yarra would poison fish and other aquatic life and potentially affect human health," Ms Pennicuik said.
“I am very disturbed that it appears to be happening already”, she said.
“The state government and Port of Melbourne have told Victorians that dredging would stop if there were problems, but dead fish in the Yarra is apparently not enough to stop the dredgers. How much worse does it have to get before dredging is stopped?”
For more information call Sue Pennicuik 0409 055 875
See also www.bluewedges.org
JOIN BLUE WEDGES AND PLANNING BACKLASH AT TWO BIG EVENTS THIS WEEKEND!
1. Saturday 5th July
Over 60 community and environmental groups including Your Water Your Say, Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, Public Transport Users Association, Friends of the Earth, Tradewatch, Blue Wedges and may others have signed up to be part of this huge Red Alert event. We are all saying: Brumby and Rudd let’s get serious!
The Rally kicks off at 1 PM tomorrow, Saturday 5th July at the City Square (Not Fed Square) cnr. Swanson and Collins St. City.
Keynote Speaker Senator Bob Brown.
Please come to the rally. Bring your family & friends and bring along your own banner and signs to highlight the Climate Emergency message.
Wear Red, Carry Red, See Red! Help join the dots on Climate Change!
The rally will then march to Alexandra Gardens to form a human sign reading: CLIMATE EMERGENCY
A plane and blimp will take photos, so be part of history and join the huge number of people who want to tell Mr. Brumby to wake up to climate change and all its causes.
Blue Wedges says Mr. Brumby should be told that planning for even bigger ships with even more stuff for us to purchase is NOT the right way to go. Are bigger ships likely to come all the way down here when oil is $200 per barrel, or when it runs out completely? Trucking firms, airlines and motorists are already being affected by oil prices, so it is only a matter of time before shipowners start cutting back on their miles travelled. The economic analysis for the channel deepening project relies on us increasing our consumption by an alarming rate. We need to be moving 4 times the amount of trade through the Port of Melbourne by 2035…..can you do it????
That means bringing more and more container loads of stuff from the factories of China, which burn our coal, transported from us to them in oil guzzling ships. Meanwhile, our local manufacturers and exporters are feeling the squeeze. Our largest Victorian exporters, primary producers are struggling because of Climate Change…… We are stoking the fire!
And what does Mr. Brumby do? Build another coal fired power station!
If you have joined the dots and want to show your support, see you at the City Square at 1 PM tomorrow Saturday 5th July
More details at www.climaterally.blogspot.com
And -If you would like to carry a Blue Wedges placard at the rally contact Dee on 59812909 or [email protected] Then put it up on your fence!
2. PLANNING BACKLASH PUBLIC MEETING SUNDAY 6TH JULY
Image: Marvellousmelbourne website
Mr. Brumby, and his mate Planning Minister Madden, the state “developers”, are making people as mad as hell!
Join over 120 resident groups from city and country who have had enough of Mr. Brumby’s vision for Melbourne……which translates to more of everything. More high-rise, more shops, more high density housing, more trucks, more traffic congestion, more ships…… you name it he wants it!
But – the residents of town and country don’t want what Mr. Brumby wants. They say “We are as mad as hell and we are not going to take this any more. No more stripping away of our appeal rights. No to stripping away Councils’ planning powers.”
Speakers include: Geoffrey Rush, Rod Quantock (MC), David Davis (Liberal MP and Chair of Public Land Inquiry) and Greg Barber (Greens, MP)
Please join us at 2.30PM CLOCKTOWER TOWN HALL 750 MT ALEXANDER ROAD MOONEE VALLEY (Mel 28 J6). Show the Brumby government you care, but not for what they are doing!
For more details see: www.marvellousmelbourne.org
And, again of you would like a Blue Wedges banner to take along contact Dee on above contact details.
The conservation foundation has launched its own independent water quality tests off Sorrento in Victoria, claiming it doesn't trust the official monitor.
They say pictures obtained from satellite images suggest plumes are too big.
'There are certain boundary limits on those particular dredge plumes, looking at the satellite photograph it looks very much like the plume is going well beyond that boundary,' said Conservation Foundation's Chris Smyth. Results from the tests are expected to come through next month, with the official independent monitor happy to consider them.
'I'm not here to judge the motives of others but we are here to look at the information they can bring to the table,' said Independent Monitor Mick Bourke.
Conservation Foundation officials concede even if their tests find turbidity levels are acceptable that will not change their opposition to dredging.
'The project is inappropriate for Port Phillip Bay, we think the risk of Port Phillip Bay is too great,' said Mr Smyth. (Skynews Report)
And from the ACF website:
New satellite images of Port Phillip Bay suggest the size of the plume from the dredging vessel may be breaching the limits set by the Victorian Government.
“These satellite images suggest the plume has spread further than was predicted in the State Government’s environmental management plan,” said ACF’s Marine Campaign Coordinator Chris Smyth.
“We are concerned there has been no public comment by the Port of Melbourne or the government officials acting as the project’s environmental monitor on this possible breach of the environmental management plan.
“Satellite images cannot tell the full story. That’s why it’s so important to get out on the water and do thorough, scientifically-accurate monitoring,” he said.
Monash University scientists are conducting independent scientific monitoring as part of ACF’s BayMonitor program , following widespread concern about the adequacy of the dredging project’s official monitoring program.
Mr Smyth said the scientists were currently testing the turbidity (cloudiness) of the water at locations around Port Phillip Bay.
“Our aim is to conduct solid, independent testing, to shine some light on the Port’s monitoring program and alert the community to the environmental consequences of the channel deepening.
“At present the BayMonitor program is being funded by the Shire of Mornington Peninsula, with some philanthropic support, but if it is going to continue for the duration of the dredging we will need more financial help,” Mr Smyth said.
· Cost of around $1 billion, · Project valuation over 10 years with a terminal value · 12% discount rate not the 6% used by PoMC · Conservative estimate of future shipping fleet compositionOn these figures, this is a dis-benefit to Victorians. Clearly the project is already unjustifiable, even before any more costs blow-outs occur. I also have grave concerns about the Alliance between PoMC and Boskalis. During the SEES Inquiry Boskalis executives said they are now very aware of their responsibilities and had never breached any standards, claiming “zero incidents with environmental impact”. Boskalis failed to mention incidents where standards MUST have been breached, such as the sinking of a Boskalis dredge in Ponte Noir, Republic of Congo in 2006, where 3 people lost their lives, and the collision of Boskalis dredge Fairway in the port of Tianjin China in March 2007, resulting in the dredge being written off. Boskalis is also a joint venture partner in the controversial Jurong Islands project where sand has been illegally taken from Indonesia for land reclamation projects in Singapore. The secrecy surrounding the Alliance between Boskalis and PoMC must be investigated, otherwise Victorian taxpayers may be exposed to unlimited loss and our priceless Bay may be damaged irretrievably. It is noteworthy that both Boskalis and James Hardy Industries have their headquarters in The Netherlands, so in the event of any compensation claims against Boskalis, like the asbestos victims, many Victorians may face insurmountable difficulties in obtaining justice. The public, especially Victorians, can demonstrate their desire for accountability by cutting and pasting this article and emailing it, headed, "Re Port Phillip Bay Channel Deepening", to the following address:[email protected], (The Secretary, Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration, Legislative Council, Parliament of Victoria, Spring St. Melbourne 3000) From a Blue Wedges press release
"Who owns Port Phillip Bay?"
Martin Pakula (martin.pakula @ parliament vic gov au) is a lawyer and a member of the Victorian Parliament. He works for Roads and Ports Minister, Tim Pallas (tim.pallas @ parliament vic gov au). Tim Pallas has been the Victorian Minister for Roads and Ports since December 2006. These elected persons have responsibility for the Channel Deepening project and are theoretically answerable to the public.
On Friday, 18 April, 2008, in the Australian Newspaper, journalist Rick Wallace, reported comments Mr Pakula had made to Parliament about the dredging of Port Phillip Bay, which seemed to show that Mr Pakula has a poor understanding of the ideals and responsibility of democracy - at least in this instance.
"The views of absolutely minor participants have been portrayed and elevated, so long as they oppose the project,"' Mr Pakula is reported by Wallace to have said.
Apparently Mr Pakula gave as an example of what had irritated him, an Age story which described the mother of a person in a level-crossing accident as having inaccurately accused the Victorian State Government of spending $1 billion on channel dredging, when the government claims to be supplementing the port users’ costs by ‘only’ $150 million. The road-crossing victim’s mother had reportedly gone on to compare the port expenditure with $32 million spent on railway crossings.
I would like to know why Mr Paluka would view such a citizen as a ‘minor participant’, especially when, to my knowledge, her views are typical of those of many Victorian citizens, indeed, of citizens all around the country. It also seems inappropriate to me that the Victorian Government should spend ANY money propping up this project of which I heartily disapprove myself for environmental and democratic reasons. The democratic reasons are that the Bay is ours; it is our precious natural asset. It does not belong to a few men who will be in parliament for a few years before they join other mortals as pieces of dust, to modify in a manner which could destroy it forever. And it seems entirely appropriate to me that the mother in question complained about Roads and Ports spending any money at all on a widely despised engineering project, when apparently she perceived a failure to adequately maintain safety on Victoria’s level crossings, which Mr Pakula also has responsibility for.
Mr Pakula had previously described the Age’s reporting of Channel Deepening matters as a campaign of “unrelenting negative headlines and stories”.
Journalist Wallace recorded that The Age and its Chief Editor, Andrew Jaspan, had received “complaints from the Premier, corporate chiefs and top bureaucrats, including Prime Minister and Cabinet chief Terry Moran…about the paper's stance on the project.”
Wallace also referred to “unrest among reporters” in this matter.
I usually can the Fairfax press and all the other mainstream media. I would be amazed if the Age or the Australian or the Courier Mail, or any other property dot com associated media were to give sustained fair and democratic coverage of any matter which would encourage population growth and property speculation. The owners and directors of The Age would presumably be in favour of the Channel Deepening project simply because it is a tool of a corporate body that embraces population growth and widget multiplication. That the Channel Deepening project is being pushed through by government in a manner that is antithetical to democracy would presumably not trouble mass media moguls.
I have, however, not been following Channel Deepening comment in the mainstream press - the Age or elsewhere. For all I know, there may be some reason that The Age is actually against what seems to strike many as the raping of Port Phillip Bay for alleged profit. Or maybe the journalists at The Age are so alarmed by the dredging themselves that they are insisting on persistently reporting the widespread opposition to it.
What I can say with some confidence is that the message that Murdoch media journalist, Rick Wallace, carries from the Victorian Parliament, would scare Age journalists. It would scare any journalist. It scares me. It would scare Age journalists because it could be used as a lever by The Age Editors or The Age directors, to pressurize Age journalists to lay off reporting the deep and important public dismay at the dredging of Port Phillip Bay. I can see that it must be very hard to be a professional mainstream media journalist who is really concerned with representing public opinion, rather than marketing corporate projects to change laws and landscapes for corporate profit. I can also say that I think this message should scare other Australians, particularly those in Victoria.
Why should we all be scared? We should be scared because our representatives in Government who are responsible for the imposition of Channel Deepening are either unaware of the extent to which the public is dismayed by the high-handed and grossly disrespectful manner in which their Bay is being treated by those elected to care for it, or they do not care. Or it may be that Paluka et al are true believers in economic growthism and simply believe that the dredge-dissenting public lacks faith and must be led into the heaven of endless growth by its high priest parliamentarians. Or it may be that they are experiencing irresistable pressure from financial and other interests in the Port of Melbourne dredging project.
In fact, I do not know what motivates Mr Pallas, Mr Paluka, Mr Brumby, or what motivated Mr Bracks, Mr Thwaites, and Mr Kennett, to inflict raw capitalism, metal tooth and iron claw, on Victoria and its inhabitants. All I know is that, from the professional divers of Port Phillip Bay to the millions of other Australians who love it, from Catani Gardens’ possums, to Mornington Peninsula’s and Somerton's Kangaroos, from Malvern East’s proudly gentrified wooden houses, to Frankston’s sprawling backyards, and from the dead gardens of Bendigo and Ballarat and similar country towns targeted by the New Army of developers and water barons, to the farmers round Culgoa who formed PipeRight Incorporated to stop the government giving their water to big business in the riverina, people and other animals are hurting badly. Ruled over by a mad government, we are in despair.
We need proper representation from our government and journalists need absolute freedom to report. Time to turn off the Corporate Machine. Time to stop Mr Brumby's New Army of developers. Time to slow the monster down, Mr Brumby, Mr Paluka, Mr Pallas. Time to listen, not dictate.
Our friends at Operation Quarrantine say:
Don't R.I.P. the RIP. The Queen of the Netherlands is heading to The Heads and so is concern for the Bay.
So - Operation Quarrantine has organized a land and water action at Point Nepean and Point Lonsdale, and is calling on people who love the Bay to join them on Saturday 5th April. As well as people on land at Pt. Nepean and Pt. Lonsdale, protesters in boats and board riders will also be confronting the dredge
Participants will include a number of groups and individuals who all share a desire to Save the Bay from Boskalis and see the Queen swiftly and safely back in Holland where she belongs. Holland needs her, we don't!
Details: Saturday 5th of April
On-Land supporters Meet at Point Nepean National Park Carpark at 11 am and Point Lonsdale Pier at 11.30 am
Boats meet at Sorrento Pier at 10 am or at the dredge at 12 noon
Distress signals from land and water 12.30 pm onwards
Along with the toxic dump, dredging of the Heads is the most contentious and foolhardy of the PoMC's plans for the Bay. If work proceeds:
- Unique species and habitats will be destroyed.
- More water will flow in and out of the Bay on every tide, increasing risks of coastal erosion and inundation of low lying land
- Shipping risks will increase
- The dive and eco-tourism industry will be severely compromised or may face closure
Trial dredging in 2005 caused thousands of tonnes of rock to fall into the canyon and Marine Park – almost one quarter of Boskalis’ work ended up somewhere it shouldn’t be, causing extensive damage.
PoMC concealed information about damage from the trial dredge until the eleventh hour of the 2007 Inquiry. Large volumes of mobile rock are still present in the Great Ship Channel as a result of the 2005 Trial dredge, and are a shipping hazard. It could have been responsible for the grounding of the tanker Desh Rakshak in January 2006. With over 500,000 cubic metres of rock set to be quarried, the damage and risks could be exponentially worse.
This planned destruction is irreversible and permanent. It is an act of vandalism, and without any reasonable justification. It should not be tolerated in the 21st Century.
Carey Priest, media spokesperson for Operation Quarrantine, says: “This is one of the last opportunities we have to protect this vital resource for generations to come. We need to show the Brumby government that they will lose office over this dredging project. The people of Victoria do not want the Bay turned into a Quarry! The science is on the table – no ifs, buts or maybes – this is a massively destructive operation to one of the most pristine and unique marine ecosystems in the world.”
If you can help Operation Quarrantine especially with boat support for Bellarine Peninsula please contact Carey 0438 353 243.
For further information contacts: Carey Priest 0438 353 243 (Pt. Nepean side) and Catherine Jones (Pt. Lonsdale side) on 0408 202 187 or email bellarineseastar |AT| gmail com
Visit: www.operationquarrantine.com for more information and SMS 0438 353 243 to be in the loop for up coming actions and events.
The Port of Melbourne Corporation has agreed at a Federal Court hearing on 6 February to delay the dredging of toxic sediment from the mouth of the Yarra River, and, instead, until after the case is heard in the Federal Court on 20 February, limit its operations to the less damaging dredging of clean sand from the south channel.
Transcript from "Whither Australia's ports?" on Radio National's the National Interest of Sunday 1 Feb 2008. Blue Wedges' spokespersons Jenny Warfe debates two proponents of channel deepening.
"Dredging opponents win a short delay" by Catherine Best, Bringelly News 6 Feb 08
"Dredging opponents win a short delay" Sydney Morning Herald 6 Feb 08
"Court deal lets dredging start" Herald-Sun 7 Feb 08
Earlier story: Blue Wedges seeks urgent injunction to stop commencement of dredging
Orignal article at #10;">www.bluewedges.org.
Blue Wedges lawyer is likely to file papers in the Federal Court at 9 am Wednesday 6th February
Blue Wedges lawyer Michael Morehead is likely to file papers in the Federal Court at 9 am tomorrow morning (Wednesday 6th February) seeking an injunction to suspend works and stay the Minister’s decision.
We then await the Court’s convenience as to the time the injunction will be heard – hopefully tomorrow.
Blue Wedges is committed to further legal action. Otherwise, the first work that Boskalis will undertake in Port Phillip Bay is to construct a 6 sq. km aquatic toxic storage facility, adjacent to Melbourne’s premier beaches. The toxic facility would be 60 times the area of the Nowingi toxic facility near Mildura which was rejected by the community and an Independent Panel in 2006.
In just one year, the PoMC’s aquatic toxic facility would receive 7 million tonnes of contaminated and toxic spoil. This is nine times what the Nowingi facility may have accepted in thirty years of operations.
Jenny Warfe: 59871583, 0405 825769
Jo Samuel-King: 0403 069 771
Michael Morehead, lawyer: 0401 960 655
Port and Blue Wedges ordered to mediation, The Age - Feb 08
Protesters vent anger at Premier Brumby, The Age - 5 Feb 08
Peter Garrett gives Port Phillip Bay dredging go ahead, Melbourne Herald Sun - 6 Feb 08
Debate closed on disclosure of dredging, Sydney Morning Herald - 6 Feb 08
Original artilce here
Blue Wedges has won the right to challenge Mr. Garrett's decision to approve the channel deepening project in a full Hearing of the Federal Court on 20th February.
Lawyers for Blue Wedges were successful in obtaining a full Hearing of our case in the Federal Court on 20th February. We also have an undertaking from the PoMC that they will provide us with 24 hours notice if they intend to commence dredging prior to that date if they have received the EMP.
Theoretically that gives us the opportunity to immediately apply for an injunction to stop those works commencing, but it hardly seems necessary as the court made it pretty clear that it would take a dim view of the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) if it acted to start works before we have had our day in court and the judgment.
Justice North said:
"The court won't lightly allow the threatened damage to happen ... it would be bad manners, if not strategically silly .. and there would be consequences.
The court has a history of protecting legal rights to challenge government decisions"
In other words, it was unnecessary to order a formal stay because the PoMC was unlikely to proceed given the impending court date. This is the reality.
Mr. Garrett took only three days to decide to approve the project having supposedly absorbed 50,000 pages of supporting documentation. Under Section 146 of the EPBC Act Mr. Garrett can revoke his decision. It is time NOW to request he do just that. Write to him now at Peter.Garrett.MP|AT|aph.gov.au
See also "A bay battler fights on" of 20 January 2008 in the Melbourne Age about how 12-year-old Elyse Coates-McCarthy swam to save the bay.
Visit Friends of the Earth's site to send letter to Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to demand action.
Channel deepening is the threat – not Blue Wedges
“We are very concerned that the U.S. Naval intelligence agency has got it so terribly wrong”, says Blue Wedges President Jenny Warfe. “We are a peaceful group, committed to non-violence. We have never committed acts of violence towards any one or any thing and never have any intention of doing so.” In fact at our last protest over Gate Bridge (October 2007) the police left us to be "self-regulating" because of our impeccable record of peaceful protest.
However it is not surprising given the PoMC publicity machine along with representatives from the VFF, DPI, State and Commonwealth Governments have attended such workshops as "Activists and How To Beat Them At Their Own Game" sponsored by the Institute of Public Affairs and the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and conducted by Ross Irvine a Canadian PR Consultant. During the half day workshop PoMC&aps;s PR representative of the time was advised; "Call them suicide bombers ... make them all look like terrorists" and " ... let&aps;s call them fruitcakes. Let&aps;s call them nut ... nutters. You know let&aps;s say they&aps;re ..." - "Environmental radicals".
That was back in 2005 when the PoMC had just spent $12 million on an Environmental Impact Statement "and we didn&apst; get the result we wanted” the PoMC PR person opined. Who knows what extra motivation they might have now they&aps;ve spent in excess of $120 million and still don&aps;t have public support for their project? What’s more every day the press is producing more evidence about the bad economics of this project – with the C/B ratio fast approaching 1:1. Respected commentators, economists and industrialists are now calling for a proper analysis of the project and alternatives.
“The only threat to human life, property or the environment comes from the Queen of the Netherlands dredging ship, due to arrive tomorrow” says Jenny Warfe. “This ship is set to cause irreparable damage to the Port Phillip Bay environment. There are also grave public health risks. Port Corporation’s risk analysis accepts that up to ten people will acquire a serious illness. Who will those lucky ten
Victorians be? Unfortunately much of the toxic risk data never made it into the public arena during the Inquiry process last year. POMC scientists have also predicted penguin deaths, fish stock losses and say the risk of toxic algal blooms ranges from “possible to highly likely”. Oil spills are also set to increase due to an increased risk of ships running aground at Port Phillip Heads, although the PoMC’s risk analysis specifically excluded assessing the magnitude of that risk”.
“If they have been to our meetings unannounced, what’s the next step? Inserting active radicals to create an embarrassing situation to blame on Blue Wedges?
People should be concerned. Not about Blue Wedges, however. Rather about the arrival of the dredging ship due to dock tomorrow” says Ms. Warfe.
See this and other news items at: www.bluewedges.org
See also Melbourne Age article of Monday 28 January 2008 "Blue Wedges tagged with sea pirates".
"Victorians, are in shock that the destructive act of channel deepening in Port Phillip Bay has been approved so easily by the Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett after the considered, prolonged and justified opposition to this project over the past 3+ years by environmentalists" said the President of Sustainable Population Australia's Victorian branch (S.P.A. Vic.) Ms.Jill Quirk on Monday December 31st. "What a sad prospect for Bay swimmers and divers this summer if work starts as planned on the first of February 2007!"
"The risks to marine life, the underwater environment and the health of the body of water which is Melbourne's main recreation and environmental asset are huge and for no return at all as far as quality of life is concerned for Melbourne's citizens." Ms. Quirk said.
"SPA Vic. supports Ms. Jenny Warfe of the Blue Wedges coalition in asking Peter Garrett for the reasons for his approval of the Channel Deepening Project. S.P.A. Vic. also thanks the Blue Wedges for their responsible action in taking this case to the Federal Court. The position of SPA Vic is that this action is in the best interests of Melbourne's future and that of our beautiful Port Phillip Bay which is being placed in jeopardy by our elected and paid leaders."
"Peter Garrett should not have been so quick to please the Victorian Government and the Port of Melbourne Corporation. This approval was precipitate to say the least given the pending Federal Court case regarding this issue." Ms. Quirk said.
Contact: Jill Quirk 0409 7429 27
What You can do
Join the vigil to save Port Phillip Bay on 8 January. See www.bayvigil.org/how-you-can-get-involved.
Contact Blue Wedges.
Original media release on Blue Wedges web site.
Media Release 12/15/07
“Channel deepening approval by Environment Minister Gavin Jennings is scandalous”, says Blue Wedges spokesperson Jenny Warfe. “We still do not know the extent of risk from toxic sediment release, and we still don’t know who is going to pay for the project. What's more, he has set an environmental bond of only $100 million - less than the amount PoMC spent on the Inquiry process to date and less than the combined annual salaries of a few top corporate executives. PoMC is a publicly owned corporation so taxpayers will be funding the environmental bond –thus adding another $100 million to the project costs”
Port Phillip Bay provides benefits in the Billions to our economy annually. It deserves better treatment than what Minister Jennings has dealt today. There’s even more we still don’t know:
- Will the public see the monitoring plan or have any say in the monitoring?
- Will the public ever see the data?
- Will monitoring continue after dredging?
- How independent will the monitor be?
- Who funds the independent monitor?
There has been a consistent pattern of PoMC failing to reveal relevant documents in relation to the extent of Yarra sediment toxicity in 2004 and again in 2007 when three crucial documents have been concealed during the public submission period. Two days ago, the Minister refused to meet us to explain why he considers PoMC’s failure to release such contentious documents as acceptable. Today he sees fit to approve a project which he does not have all the facts on.
The SEES did not include the report Minor Maintenance Dredging Campaign. Water Quality Monitoring in the Dredge and Disposal Plumes. December 2006. Hale. J. That report was the basis for all water quality assessments for the Yarra and Hobsons Bay dredging and for conclusions of the Human Health Study. Only after the Inquiry closed did we learn that water quality sampling was collected during a minor back-hoe dredging operation, as opposed to a major suction dredge operation as planned - and NONE of the sampling locations were in the Yarra.
“Omission of these documents has resulted in the Public Inquiry, the Independent Expert Group, and subsequently the Planning Minister, and Minister for Environment failing to adequately consider the impacts of wider dispersal of toxic materials.” said Ms. Warfe.
“We also asked if a properly designed study to measure fish tissue chemistry data for dioxin and dioxin-like compounds called for by a project consultant towards the end of the Inquiry has been undertaken. We still do not know the answer to that” says Ms. Warfe.
Two other studies related to toxic sediments were only revealed after public presentations to the Inquiry had concluded. They are:
- Baseline Benthic Fauna Surveys for the Port of Melbourne DMG, SE DMG and Yarra River Estuary. Sinclair Knight Merz. Sept 2006
- Bioaccumulation Study. Sinclair Knight Merz. April 2006
What do these documents reveal that PoMC would wish to conceal them from the public?
“Minister Jennings has declined to examine all the facts and has de-valued the Bay. Minister Garrett must not rely on the flawed SEES documents to make his decision under the Federal Environment Protection and Bio-diversity Conservation Act” says Ms. Warfe.
Further media releases
Federal Court update 07/12/07
Court Battle to keep dredge out 04/12/07
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.
Down on the Mornington Peninsular a group of people who have not yet been ground down, and splintered have managed to unite for around two years a sustained protest all over Melbourne against the radical geological restructuring of the bay that defines the town. This is a real tour de force, an inspiration, which the money-mad government and corporations seem incapable of respecting. There have been Alice-in-Wonderland environment assessments and the government just does not get it that the bay does not belong to business of politicians. It belongs to everyone - and the sea creatures.
This case will show just how bad the rot is in Victoria - Will the judiciary remember what they are there for and represent the people of Melbourne's rights?
"Blue Wedges Coalition is fighting in court tomorrow (Wednesday 5th December) to keep the Boskalis dredge ship, Queen of the Netherlands from beginning work on the channel deepening project early next year.
The Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) wants court proceedings to be concluded before Christmas so work can start on its proposed channel deepening project in January next year.
A Full Court hearing, Blue Wedges claims, should not be before April next year so that the evidence and issues can be properly presented and considered.
This will be argued in Melbourne’s Federal Court this Wednesday (5th December) at 9.30 AM in a Directions Hearing before Justice Weinberg who will decide whether the Blue Wedges application to delay the project can succeed.
"We want to delay the project so that we can get a thorough process and diligent investigation of the impacts," said Blue Wedges spokesperson, Dr Jo Samuel King.
"Crucial information was left out of the Supplementary Environmental Effects Statement prepared by the PoMC and there is no way that dredging should be allowed to begin when they (PoMC) do not know what the environmental consequences will be, or even who is paying for the project"
The Federal Court is at 305 William St. Melbourne near Flagstaff station. The case is listed for Room 6a, Level 6, however check the Law list in the daily press or at http://www.fedcourt.gov.au/ctlists/ctlists.html for further details.
Our Bay is too precious to be treated this way. No Queen of the Netherlands for Port Phillip Bay!"
#ff0000">Blue Wedges is off to court to ask the Federal Environment Minister to protect Port Phillip Bay, but we still need your ongoing support and actions!
Lawyers for the Blue Wedges Coalition filed an application in the Federal Court on Friday 16th November. The Application is being made to the court preventing the Federal Minister for Environment and Water Resources from making an approval of the proposed Channel Deepening Project.
This now puts the spotlight on the Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Labor Environment Spokesman Peter Garrett. Will they save
The grounds for the application are:
1) That Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden’s assessment report was outside the parameters of the 2002 channel deepening referral to the Federal Minister.
2) That the assessment report fails to consider, or consider adequately:
a) Impacts of maintenance dredging
b) Impacts of the proposed 588 ha CAD (confined aquatic disposal, or toxic waste dump)
c) The contract between the Port of Melbourne Corporation and the dredge contractor- Boskalis, the contents of which have never been disclosed.
d) Maximum dredge depth and maximum volumes of spoil
e) Impacts of expected ultimate depth at the Entrance
f) Impacts of toxic algal blooms
Blue Wedges has decided on this course of action because having attended all of the recent SEES Inquiry hearings, we remain more convinced than ever that the CDP poses irreversible risks to the Bay ecosystem. The Trial Dredge operation in 2005 has caused unpredicted and ongoing disintegration of rock at Port Phillip Heads, incrementally changing the hydrodynamics of the Bay. This will alter tidal levels, thus increasing coastal erosion and sand movement, and necessitate extra maintenance dredging. Increased maintenance dredging ultimately multiplies the damage to seagrasses, threatened species, fish and international migratory bird habitats.
When the intractable problem of the toxic sediments from the Yarra bed and the PoMC&apss unsatisfactory plans to dump over 2 million tonnes of toxic spoil in the Bay are also considered, we have a time bomb waiting to explode. The Bay is irreplaceable - too precious to risk just so that the PoMC can pursue its dreams of attracting more deep draught container ships and oil tankers down to the
#ff0000">Court action is costly, and we are relying on donations to fund our legal team. If you would like to assist us in our court action, we would greatly appreciate your donations to:
Bendigo Bank, Blue Wedges, BSB 633-000, Account No 125738237
- Donate by credit card online - see Homepage www.bluewedges.org
- Post cheques to Blue Wedges PO Box 162 Dromana 3936
Thank you to all those who have helped us so far.
Blue Wedges Editor