The Minister for Planning, Robert Hulls, today announced that the Port of Melbourne Corporation would be required to carry out a Supplementary Environment Effects Statement (SEES) for their proposed Channel Deepening Project.
For more information follow this link to read more about it:
The ‘Done Deal’ is undone! Now..... DUMP THE DREDGING NOT THE BAY - Bay groups call on Bracks Government to put the interests of Victorian Baylovers ahead of International Shippers’ profits.
The Bracks Government has sounded the death knell for the proposed deepening of the Port Phillip Bay shipping channels
The recreational and commercial fishermen, divers, tourist operators, scientists, environmentalists and ordinary beach-lovers who have set aside their traditional differences to band together in the Blue Wedges Coalition and – we believe – all ordinary Victorians welcome the Government’s decision to put the ecology of our Bay and the creatures it supports and the interests of present and future generations ahead of the profits of a few large, mostly international shipping companies.
Representatives of the above groups who met to discuss and celebrate on Friday night congratulate Premier Bracks and his Government for having the courage to stand by the recommendations of the Planning Panel and to suspend this destructive project until ways can be found to avoid serious or irreversible damage to the Bay.
Those of us who sat through the 45-day panel hearing believe this will be impossible. If the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) could not prove this project was safe with the $12 million of taxpayer funds the Government gave them, we doubt whether spending more money will change the result.
We say to Government: “Don’t give another cent to the Port of Melbourne Corporation.”
If the Port of Melbourne Corporation wants to spend more money in fruitless self-justification, let its shipping industry clients pay.
If the Government believes more research is necessary, let it appoint an independent agency to oversee the work of the brave scientists and expert witnesses who presented to the panel, for little or no pay, such as Dr Graham Harris, the former head of the CSIRO’s landmark Port Phillip Bay study, who told the panel he had resigned from CSIRO in order to be able to give genuinely independent evidence (on behalf of the Association of Bayside Municipalities). Let it also engage eminent scientists who did not present to the panel, like Victoria’s leading geomorphologist, Dr Eric Bird.
We take comfort from the fact that the truths told by largely unfunded groups and individuals have been able to prevail over $12 million of taxpayer-funded spin.
Any new research should also explore alternative logistics and technological solutions to freight handling, rather than blinkered dogged pursuit of outmoded channel deepening works.
This government said it would not press ahead until this project could be proven to be safe. They deserve credit for sticking by their word in the face of the juggernaut campaign run by the Port of Melbourne Corporation with their spin that it was a done deal. We also congratulate the Planning Panel for their diligence and courage, and the former Minister Delahunty for appointing them.
We must now have community debate about the economics of channel deepening.
Already the costs of dredging have blown out from $400 to $545 million - not including any land based infrastructure requirements such as the proposed re-location of Footscray Markets and Footscray Rd – estimated to be around $300 million. Where would it end?
As well as the $12 million already spent on the EES, there will be much greater costs associated with further studies and attempts to achieve “best practice” – something PoMC failed to demonstrate to the Panel in spite of virtually unlimited funds. How much more will it now cost to follow the Independent Panel’s 130+ conclusions and recommendations, eg: to “manage” the envi
Edited by - tfpvic-secretary on 06 Apr 2005 08:38:07 AM