Response to Infrastructure Victoria #Hastings #phillipisland #Springst #tourism #environment

Phillip Island tourist operators. businesses, conservationists and our elected representatives have all shown significant support for PWP and the Response Paper we lodged today with Infrastructure Victoria.

Following reviews of our Response Paper all key stakeholders have supported the PWP response to the recently released Infrastructure Victoria Discussion Paper on the possible location of a second container port.

The Response Paper has been endorsed by the following:

Destination Phillip Island - Regional Tourist Board;

Phillip Island Conservation Society;

Phillip Island Tourism & Business Association

Bass Coast Shire Council - Island Ward Councillor & Mayor -Cr Pamela Rothfield,Island Ward Councillor-Cr Michael Whelan,Westernport Ward Councillor-Cr Clare Le Serve and Westernport Ward Councillor-Cr Geoff Ellis

Many of those formally supporting our position are also lodging their own submission using many of the issues we have been raising over the years.

All submission to IV including ours will be available on the IV site:

Well done and thanks to all those involved in the process and we should all be pleased that we have led the engagement on this issue for the last 3 years and have delivered a comprehensive well supported final position.

Bass Coast Shire & Infrastructure Victoria Meet to discuss Proposed Port Impact #phillipisland #basscoast #springst #basscoast #hastings

Cr Michael Wheland of the Phillip Island ward organised a presentation from Jonathan Spear and Andrew Varga from Infrastructure Victoria to selected community groups and tourism bodies. Attendees were stunned that the potential impact on tourism to Phillip Island of 6,000 container ships movements PA anchoring and steaming past Cowes and Phillip Island have been omitted from the IV Discussion Paper. IV indicated that they have no evidence of past complaints when bulk ships have entered Western Port so what's the difference?

Businesses and community have until 3 April to make submissions to:

L to R shows Cr Geoff Ellis, Cr Michael Whelan, Anne Davey, Jonathan Spear, Leigh Phillips, Andrew Varga, Jeff Nottle & Cr Clare LeServe.

L to R shows Cr Geoff Ellis, Cr Michael Whelan, Anne Davey, Jonathan Spear, Leigh Phillips, Andrew Varga, Jeff Nottle & Cr Clare LeServe.

Map showing the proposed dredging area and shipping channel.

Map showing the proposed dredging area and shipping channel.

Infrastructure Victoria - Second Container Port Advice

Infrastructure Victoria - Second Container Port Advice

Joint Letter to Victorian Government - Impact of Hastings Container Port #hastings #phillipisland #basscoast #environment

This morning a letter was sent the Victorian Government which is a joint submission from several local Bass Coast Stakeholders;

Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council Inc, Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora & Fauna Association,Blue Wedges, Environment Victoria, Friends of the Earth, Surfrider Foundation Australia, Victorian National Parks Association, French Island Port Stoppers  and Preserve Westernport Action Group.

The groups represented by their logos on this letter endorse the following:

Bass Coast Shire Council's Agreed Principles on the Impact of a Hastings Container Port:


1. We are opposed to any form of capital dredging, widening or deepening of channels in Westernport bay.

2. Any change in, or continuation of, the Port of Hastings operations must result in no net loss for the economy, environment and amenity.

3. The Victorian Government and Infrastructure Victoria must demonstrate and justify the need and timing for a second major container port in Victoria through comprehensive, evidence based assessment, including consideration of the current port capacity in Victoria, and via a national approach.

4. Independently verified, scientific research must form the basis of any recommendation for a second container port location in Victoria to ensure that the environmental impact is known, understood and shared with the community. Of equal importance are economic and social impacts. Specifically independent research must be undertaken on the impact on:

a) Coastline including increased erosion and inundation

b)Tourism and the impact on visitation

c)Fishing and the impact on the recreational fishing industry

d)Marine life impact including penguins and whales that enter Western Port

5. All previous research undertaken in relation to the expansion of the Port of Hastings, as well as to project and research scoping material and documents, must be made publically available with full access.

6. The recommendation of Infrastructure Victoria to the Victorian Government on the timing and location of a second container port requires a strategic government approach to fully consider the implications on:

a)Tourism impact on domestic and international visitations


c)Economic development including impact on aquifers that service food production areas

d)Fisheries including recreational fishing and the industry it supports


Here is a copy of the letter;




Port Decision Imminent - Letter to Bass Coast Shire - Infrastructure Victoria Submission #phillipisland #springst #environment #basscoastshire

Dear Cr Pamela Rothfield

Mayor - Bass Coast Shire Council

As you are no doubt aware Infrastructure Victoria are in the process of preparing recommendations to State Government on the timing and location of a second container port for Victoria. Their final report to Government is due in May 2017.

Based on 3 years of research and engagement with our community we lodged a comprehensive submission to Infrastructure Victoria in January 2017. The submission outlined the potential economic and environmental impacts of industrialising Western Port with the construction of a container port. These impacts include risks to tourism, recreational fishing and boating, increased coastal erosion particularly on the north Shore of Phillip Island, salt water entering and poisoning farming aquifers following dredging, carbon sink release and loss of the natural environment for residents and visitors.

Our submission also included and supported the Bass Coast Shire Council Port of Hastings Guiding Principles developed with key stakeholders in April 2016. We have attached a copy of our report to Infrastructure Victoria for your reference.

We are aware that a recognised risk to the Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035 is the industrialisation of Western Port and the construction of a container port.

We are somewhat disappointed that key stakeholder Phillip Island Nature Parks did not lodge a submission to the independent agency Infrastructure Victoria given the risks imposed of having 6,000 container ships passing through our marine life’s feeding and breeding grounds.

We are also aware that Infrastructure Victoria intends to release a report on evidence it has received in the very near future. We understand that this report will then lead to a final phase of engagement and opportunity for further submissions.

We urge Council to be ready to initiate the appropriate processes and, if necessary, the formation of a committee or advisory group to respond to the anticipated Infrastructure Victoria report and subsequent engagement.

Given the imminent Infrastructure Victoria report, engagement and submission timeline to Government we request a meeting with all Councillors to further discuss the responses.We believe our proposed discussions should occur as soon as possible and preferably sometime this month.

Our Submission to Infrastructure Victoria #springst #auspol #environment #Westernport #phillipisland

As you may be aware the State Government will take advice from Infrastructure Victoria on the future location of a second Port for Victoria. We have attached our submission on key issues associated with the possible construction of a container port in Western Port. Our group of volunteers have extensively researched the Western Port option and engaged with our regional community and key stakeholders. We firmly believe that locating a container port in Western Port could have a devastating impact on the region’s economy and environment. Such an outcome would impact on Victoria’s reputation as a tourist destination and the regions ability to continue to operate as an environment based sustainable and effective service economy that currently supports thousands of regional jobs.

The battle to save Westernport is not over! We will continue to fight to preserve Western Port Today. For Tomorrow.
Pelican - Photo - Lisa Shonberg

The Future of Port of Hastings - Community & Stakeholders

In April this year a roundtable was held at the Nobbies Conference Centre.  At the roundtable were representatives from Phillip Island Nature Parks, South Gippsland Conservation Society, Preserve Westernport Action Group, Phillip Island Conservation Society, RMIT - Sustainable productivity, Innovation & Climate Change, Westernport Biosphere Council, Westernport Water, Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council Inc, Bass Coast Shire, Bass Coast Landcare, Clean Ocean, Boonwurrung Foundation, PPWCMA, Parks Victoria, Central Coastal Board,Melbourne University, Southern Rural Water, Western Port Seagrass Partnership, Energy Innovation Co-op, Melbourne Water, Phillip Island Tourism Association, Groundswell, Nature Conservancy and Bass Coast Shire.

The discussion was based on the Bass Coast Shire current position. The Infrastructure Victoria Process and it was an opportunity to provide input and views on any future Port of Hastings expansion; 

  • Share expertise and local knowledge

  • Form part of the Bass Coast Shire submission

  • Request Infrastructure Victoria to visit Bass Coast to hear from the community first hand.

With Local Elections coming up in October it is important to inform those who wish to represent the Bass Coast Community on the latest information and community & stakeholder issues.

Attached are the notes from the roundtable: Click the button to read the paper.

Screen Shot 2016-09-23 at 11.46.17 am.png

Port Report to probe need for second port #springst #hastings #phillipisland

THE Preserve Western Port Action Group welcomes the recently released Infrastructure Victoria (IV) discussion paper on the future capacity of ports in Victoria.

The proposed approach, transparency and engagement model adopted by IV to these important issues embraces what we have been calling for since the State Government announced its intention to establish the new entity before the 2014 state election.

Significantly it marks an end to the political rhetoric, vested interests approach adopted by the former Liberal State Government which sought to justify industrialising Western Port with a container port using slogans and a scare campaign. Gone are the incorrect “natural deep water port” and “blasting of the Port Phillip Heads” slogans and the highly criticised “build it and they will come” economic analysis.

The Special Minister of State has formally requested IV to provide advice by May 2017 on if and when we need to build a second container port; and whether a second port should be located at Bay West (in Port Phillip Bay, between Werribee and Geelong) or at Hastings.

IV will consider environmental, economic and social impacts in preparing their advice and recommend a range of years in which they think extra capacity may be required. The paper recognises that there is considerable debate around future growth rates of container trade, capacity of existing ports and the size of container ships that are likely to visit Victorian ports. Changing consumption patterns and new technology like 3D printing will influence future demand for containers and ports capacity. As a result different demand and capacity scenarios will be developed.

IV has also recognised that maximising the capacity of existing ports will ensure that a second port is built only when it is needed and that increasing capacity before it is required would be financially imprudent.

It assumes that once government has decided to invest in a second container port it is likely to be somewhere between 10-15 years from the time of the decision to an operational port at either the Hastings or Bay West sites. The long lead time is why the issue is being considered now and why we as a community need to be engaged in the process now.

In relation to the location question, IV will examine existing reports and carry out some targeted technical studies to fill in the knowledge gaps. We believe the studies should include the impact on erosion and inundation following the required dredging on the Western Port coastlines and in particular the impact of further erosion on the north shore of Phillip Island. Impacts on tourism, penguins, employment, recreational fishing and boating as well as amenity of Westernport also need to be considered.

The Preserve Western Port Action Group will continue to research and prepare submissions to IV and to be further engaged in the consultation phase. In this initial phase of engagement, stakeholders and residents can visit Infrastructure Victoria to:

  • Complete the feedback form to comment on the key factors for deciding when a second port will be needed, and where it should be located;
  • Provide existing evidence to develop our evidence base and assist in informing Infrastructure Victoria’s advice; and
  • Register your interest in upcoming engagement opportunities for the port advice in 2016.

Information gathered in 2016 will be incorporated into a report presenting Infrastructure Victoria’s evidence base, which will be released for another phase of engagement in early 2017.

Jeff Nottle is chairman of the Preserve Western Port Action Group.

Preserving #Westernport #Phillipisland #Hastings

This video was recently submitted by student Cerys Dell and is a recent project for her University course.  It is a great video to watch if you love Westernport and want to help us protect it. This video explains the points involved and what is at stake. Infrastructure Victoria has asked that we prepare any final submissions to them in order for them to make recommendations to the Government on the Future Container Port.  We need your support on this more than ever. Make sure you let the powers that be know that destroying Westernport would be an absolute disaster.

FISHING FACES NEAR EXTINCTION IN WESTERN PORT #phillipisland #fishing #jobs #westernport

We recently presented to or communicated with, all ten recreational fishing clubs around the Western Port waterline on the impact on recreational fishing of building a container port in Western Port. Fishers and the industry they support were shocked to hear the impact that the LNP policy of building a container port in Western Port will have on the region.

Under the LNP container port proposal the declared port waters and anchorage area means no anchoring is allowed. Add to that the safety margin for staying clear of these massive containerships would leave only around 25% of the Western Port as safe, high tide fishable water.

Renowned local fisherman Kevin Chambers stated: “With the speed of the tides in Western Port drift fishing is not viable which means: No Anchoring = No Fishing. Those attempting to fish in the remaining safe high tide areas will face extreme congestion not only on the water but especially on the remaining useable boat ramps.”

Our presentations have been assisted by well known fishing identity Mr. Glenn Cooper, aka Guru Glen of “That’s The Thing About Fishing. Glenn does great work taking the less fortunate people in our community fishing as a means of therapy, to as he puts it, “Changing lives, one life at a time”.

The information sessions included distributing specialised fishing brochures, maps and postcards to be sent to the Hon Jaala Pulford MLC, as the Minister responsible for recreational fishing with the message “We Don’t Want Western Port Fishing Wrecked.”

Mr. Chambers added: “The loss of snapper, whiting and gummy shark fishing spots would be made worse with the dredging required building the container port. The equivalent of 15 MCG’s full of dredge would be removed leading to vastly increased erosion and the smothering of the remaining fish breeding sea grass grounds.”

Mr. Nottle Chairman of the Preserve Western Port Action Group stated” Based on the Economic Study of Recreational Fishing in Victoria 2015 by Ernst and Young recreation fishing generates around $600M every year for the Western Port economy in towns from Stony Point right around to Phillip Island and all the towns in between. This industry and the jobs it generates would all be a risk if the container port was constructed”.

Mr Nottle added: “An oil spill from just one of the 3,000 container ships in Western Port would be catastrophic, as it is a 50% chance the oil will end up on a mud bank at low tide. No known oil spill equipment can clean oil off a mud bank making the oil spill virtually permanent.”

We welcome the opportunity to talk to more fishing clubs about the impact of a container port in Western Port. Contact Kevin 0418 127 748, e.mail:

Media Enquiries: Jeff Nottle: 0419 158 232 email:


Kein Chambers (Left) Glenn (The Guru) Cooper

Kein Chambers (Left) Glenn (The Guru) Cooper

Geomorphic Impact of the Proposed Port of #Hastings #phillipisland

Last year we approched A/Professor David Kennedy from the University of Melbourne for information on what the likely Geomophic impacts the Port of Hasting Development would cause - this was his response;

Thank you for the information provided by the Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment and the Preserve Western Port Action Group Discussion Paper regarding the proposed development in Western Port, especially the plans for a single channel deep-water channel and associated mooring and swing basin at the northern and southern ends of the this channel.
Based on my > 15 year experience in coastal geomorphology including recent work in Western Port and similar structurally controlled estuaries in New Zealand

...I can conclude that the proposed development is almost certain to have major environmental impacts on the marine and coastal environment of Western Port Bay.

There will be immediate effects from dredging particularly associated with suspended sediment and its impact on the benthic intertidal and subtidal communities. A larger concern are the changes in hydrodynamics and associated sediment movement that will be associated with the development.

A deep-water channel will lead to the propagation of open ocean waves further into the estuary as well as enhance the size of locally-generated wind waves. As the coastline of Western Port has evolved under low energy, fetch-limited, conditions any increase in wave energy will result in significant shoreline erosion. All shorelines adjacent to the area of dredging will be affected. The increased channel size will also likely increase the tidal prism within the estuary.

The potential for major landscape change is not restricted to just the channel area. The eroding shoreline of the north eastern side of the Bay will also be affected.

There is a very high risk of greatly increased erosion throughout the northern, western and southern shores of Western Port including the eastern shoreline of Bass Coast around Coronet Bay and the Phillip Island north shore.

A general lack of knowledge of sediment transport pathways within the Bay mean the potential impacts could be more widespread than inferred here as there is likely be strong connectively between sedimentary systems around the entire bay.

Best regards,
A/Prof David Kennedy
Coastal Geomorphologist
Assocaite Professor
School of Geography
The University of Melbourne
Parkville, Vic, 3010


Dredging Westernport will ruin the #Asparagus Industry worth $41.42m #Exports #Springst #Auspol

Recently Preserve Westernport has been out talking with people in Victorias Bunyip Food Belt about the devastating impact dredging Westernport would have on the Agricultural Industry.  The Asparagus Industry relies on the groundwater bores to water their crop.  

Victoria is the leading state in Australia for the production and export of fresh asparagus, producing 95% of the national asparagus crop with a Gross Value of 95% of $41.42 m (ABS: Agriculture 2007-08).

If you would like to download a copy of the presentation as a PDF click here

If you would like to read a copy of the original Geological Survey Report click here 

How Dredging Westernport will affect the Bunyip Food Bowl #Asparagus #exports #springst

The threat has still not gone away!! Last week we had an opportunity to talk with the Hon Jaala Pulford MP, Minister for Regional Development - including fishing. We provided the following letter;


The Hon Jaala Pulford

The Preserve Western Port Action Group is a subcommittee of the Phillip Island Conservation Society. We and our community are focused on preserving Western Port as we believe Western Port should be used for recreation and not industrialisation.

Our group would like to congratulate the Andrews Government on three comprehensive reports released since you came to office, in relation to the fragile environment of Western Port. These reports are:

• The Central Regional Coastal Plan;

• The Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment; and

• The revised Western Port Ramsar Site Management Plan.

All three reports contain one very consistent theme and that is, Western Port must be maintained and enhanced for the recreational benefit of all Victorians and given the importance of the Bass Coast/Phillip Island tourism industry, indeed tourists from all over Australia and the world.

To further add to the vital part Western Port Bay plays in Victoria’s environmental and economic future, we must add the May 2015 release of the Governments “Target One Million” recreational fishers program.


Respected Government sponsored studies over the last two years have highlighted the economic impact importance of tourism and recreational fishing to the Western Port region’s economy, with a combined value of $1.2 billion PA and in the case of Bass Coast Shire, tourism is responsible for 5,000 FTE or 1 in 3 jobs. The above figure is a minimum, as no tourism figures for the eastern side of the Mornington Pensinsula could be extrapolated from those of the whole area.

What is in no doubt is the Western Port annual visitor figure of 8.5 million p.a. taken from the Parks Victoria Revised Safety and Environmental Management Plan, (SEMP), for the local ports of Port Phillip and Western Port

Your press release of 3 May 2015 quotes a figure of $2.3 billion pa benefit to the Vic economy from recreational fishing. Meaning that, 30% of the above figure is attributable to recreational fishing in Western Port Bay.

Also, in terms of ensuring the recreational fishing future of Western Port, will the Andrews Government undertake to remove the previous Governments 2011 much expanded Hastings Port limit??. If this was ever enforced, it would eliminate 75% of the safe, high tide fishable waters of the Bay. What’s left would become an overcrowded mess, both on the water and on the boat ramps, meaning that “Target One Million” would be almost impossible to achieve.


Our group has also undertaken research on what would occur if Western Port was dredged down far enough to penetrate the aquifers that supply irrigation water to the asparagus and other vegetable crops in the Bunyip Food bowl.

I have attached a copy of a recent presentation to the Asparagus Council of 14 March 2014 that outlines some of the issues related to the dredging for a container port and potential impact on aquifers.


We have attached some information for your consideration that includes advice received from Associate Professor David Kennedy of Melbourne University that highlights the impact that dredging would have on

Western Port and the local beaches.

“There is a very high risk of greatly increased erosion throughout the northern, western and southern shores of Western Port including the eastern shoreline of Bass Coast around Coronet Bay and the Phillip Island north shore.”

Infrastructure Victoria

We are aware of the process of establishing Infrastructure Victoria and support its establishment.

We urge you to ensure that the potential impacts on recreational fishing, agriculture and regional development and the associated impacts on jobs and the local community are included in the analysis. We believe that once industrialisation of Western Port commences with the construction of container port Victoria and the wider community stands to lose economically, environmentally and socially.

We recognise further work is required to comprehensively identify and quantity the adverse impacts and we would be pleased to discuss these issues with you as required.


Jeff Nottle


Fresh Cut Asparagus - KooWeeRup - Image ABC Rural

Fresh Cut Asparagus - KooWeeRup - Image ABC Rural

Have your say on Westernport RAMSAR Management

Westernport is an Internationally recognised RAMSAR site 

Ramsar sites (or Ramsar wetlands) are wetlands of international importance listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. For more information on the convention globally visit the Ramsar Convention website. 

DEWLP is working with local stakeholders to update the Western Port Ramsar Site Management Plan, which provides the blueprint for managing this important site.

The Victorian community is invited to comment on the draft Plan. You can provide comments by:

  1. attending one of the information sessions in Warneet, Hastings or San Remo
  2. emailing your comments to
  3. posting your comments to:

Waterway Health – Wetlands
PO Box 500
East Melbourne
Victoria 8002

You could include comments on parts of the plan do you think need improving (including how this could be achieved), or any issues that need to be addressed in the plan that are not covered.

The consultation period is open from 1–31 March 2016.

If you have any queries, please email

The project is guided by a steering committee, including representatives from DELWP, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Port Phillip and Western Port Catchment Management Authority and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA). The committee is working closely with a stakeholder advisory group, including representatives from a broad range of organisations with an interest in the site.

Information sessions

Representatives of the Management Plan Steering Committee will present information on the Ramsar site and the management plan, including the process used to develop the plan, priority values, threats and proposed management strategies. The panel will then be available to answer questions.

Warneet Motor Yacht Club, Rutherford Parade, Warneet, 9 March 2.00pm

Hastings Community Hub, 1973 Frankston Flinders Road, Hastings 9 March 5.30pm

San Remo Hotel, 145 Marine Parade, San Remo 10 March 5.30pm

About the plan

The Western Port Ramsar Site Strategic Management Plan (Parks Victoria 2003) established the framework for the maintenance of ecological character through conservation and wise use. The plan is now over a decade old and there has been significant progress in both our understanding of the ecological character of Western Port and our strategic direction in management of the site and other Ramsar wetlands in Australia. A consultative and collaborative process was undertaken to review and update the Ramsar site management plan. The objective of the plan is to maintain the ecological character of the site. The steering committee worked closely with the representatives from a broad range of organisations via a stakeholder advisory group. DELWP provided information and an email address for further questions via the department website .

Read more about the West Port Ramsar Site Management Plan, including the process, management strategies and responsibilities [PDF File - 1.8 MB]

Read more about the West Port Ramsar Site Management Plan, including the process, management strategies and responsibilities (Accessible version) [MS Word Document - 7.0 MB]

Read the full Western Port Ramsar Site Management Plan [PDF File - 4.8 MB]

Read the full Western Port Ramsar Site Management Plan (Accessible version) [MS Word Document - 23.8 MB]

- See more at:,-estuaries-and-wetlands/western-port-ramsar-site-management-plan#sthash.o2e41XdI.dpuf

There are 11 Ramsar sites in Victoria. The following documents are available for each Ramsar site and can be accessed by clicking on the individual Ramsar site link below.

What does a Port Expansion mean for Fisho's & Yachties?

Western port is an amazing place for recreational fishing & boating.  The Port expansion will mean a huge change to that lifestyle and along with that many jobs in boating charters and fishing and dive charters stand to be affected.  Yachties will also be affected as they will lose up to 70% of water 'right of way'.

Have a look at our video to learn more and keep your ears open at the local angling & yachting club where we often stop by for a chat and to answer any questions you might have.

We also now have a dedicated page for our Fisho's so check in regularly for updates.  Don't forget to send us your fishing, dive & yachting photos and we will share them with our followers.

Watch our presentation below:

Tooradin Anglers Club Talk with Glenn "the Guru" Cooper

Tooradin Anglers Club Talk with Glenn "the Guru" Cooper

Understanding the Western Port Environment

Recently we had represetatives from our action group attend a Westernport Environment Research and Science Seminar conducted by Melbourne Water.  The Seminar was very informative and updated many of the areas of concern and looked at strategies to help protect and manage Western Port as a valuable asset in terms of its environmental value to all Victorians. The future of the bay is still under threat from the port development, this research shows that further Industrialisation will have a negative impact on the health of Westernport. 

In order to manage marine environments effectively, we need to know what aspects of marine environments are important (and to whom), and recognise the activities that might pose threats; and from that position, examine ways of managing major threats to important environmental components. Important aspects of ecosystems are commonly called ‘values’ or ‘assets’, and we adopt the term ‘assets’ here. Assets are components of the ecosystem. They may have a very narrow focus, such as an individual species and a specific breeding area, or they may be broad and inconspicuous, such as habitat areas that support nutrient cycling or other ecosystem services.

Here is a link to the full PDF of the Research & Publication released at the seminar.

Visitor Backlash to Container Port - The Phillip Island Advertiser 13/1/16

The Preserve Western Port Action Group (PWP) took advantage this weekend to set up their information stall on the Cowes Foreshore last Saturday.  Members of the action group also took the opportunity to randomly survey people passing by.

The members asked the public about their knowledge of the concept of building an interantional container terminal in Western Port. Of the 32 groups of people surveyed, 50 per cent of respondents were unaware of the proposed development.

The public were also asked of their knowledge of 6,000 container ships passing the Cowes foreshore every year and the fact that anchorage for the ships is only 100meters from the beaches of Cowes.

The public were then asked if the presence of the ships would deter the people from choosing Phillip Island as a future holiday destination. Overwhelmingly 75% of those surveyed responded that they would not choose Phillip Island and surrounding region for a holiday if the development were to occur.

In reviewing the responses the chairman of the action group Jeff Nottle stated;"The responses from this initial survey should send shockwaves to the tourism industry,local businesses and land owners.

"The responses indicated that 75% of people would not choose to visit the Phillip Island region if the container terminal is built in Western port. In 2012-2013 tourism contributed $653 million to the Phillip Island (Bass Coast Shire) economy.  37.9 percent of gross regional product, employed 5700 people (38.2% of regional employment)."

"Late last year PWP appeared at the Parliamentary Inquiry into the proposed lease of the Port of Melbourne.  Group secretary Kate Whittaker advised parliamentary members;

"...Phillip Island it is seen as being a natural, eco type tourism place.  I think having a very large container port with what has been propertied to be 8-10 container ships off the beaches of Cowes and withon Western Port per day, makes the nature and ecotourism lack credibility, because it becomes not a place of nature but rather a place of industry.  To me it just makes the whole tourism side of the bay lack credibility and authenticity."

Jeff Nottle added; "further detailed research and surveys need to be undertaken to establish the size of the impact to the regions employment, visitor numbers, business conferences and local real state."

Mr Nottle said the group is made up of volunteers and welcomes assistance from the community, tourism sector and businesses.

Western Port properties face erosion - Call for compensation fund

The recently released Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment reports illustrates just how much of Western Port is at risk of inundation or erosion (and in some cases both), by climate change induced storm surges and sea level rises.

In August this year the Bass Coast Shire Council endorsed a planning scheme amendment on Land Subject to Inundation Overlays (C82) based on these findings.

More recently the Port of Melbourne select committee inquiry into the proposed lease of the Port of Melbourne heard from the Preserve Western Port Action Group.

At the hearing on 28 October 2015 the Chairman of the Preserve Western Port Action Group Jeff Nottle advised the Inquiry:

“...a business case and or cost-benefit analysis for a container port at Hastings needs to include all the costs that impact on the region.”

In addition Mr. Nottle added: “...cost estimates for Western Port.... need to include the impact of increased erosion and sediment flows arising from the dredging in a very high tidal flow environment. Current erosion issues will be accelerated and exacerbated with severe impacts, particularly in the north of the bay and on the north shore of Phillip Island, which includes Cowes and Silverleaves.”

“....the analysis that we have used has been based on the Victoria University supply chain institute........... 18 million cubic metres worth of dredging at the wharf side and 6 million cubic metres in the approach channel….”

Following the Inquiry one of Australia’s leading geomorphologists Associate Professor David Kennedy of the University of Melbourne considered the Victoria University findings and the Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment reports. Professor Kennedy has since stated:

“I can conclude that the proposed development is almost certain to have major environmental impacts on the marine and coastal environment of Western Port Bay.”

“There will be immediate effects from dredging particularly associated with suspended sediment and its impact on the benthic intertidal and sub-tidal communities. A larger concern are the changes in hydrodynamics and associated sediment movement that will be associated with the development.”

“There is a very high risk of greatly increased erosion throughout the northern, western and southern shores of Western Port including the eastern shoreline of Bass Coast around Coronet Bay and the Phillip Island north shore. A general lack of knowledge of sediment transport pathways within the Bay mean the potential impacts could be more widespread than inferred here as there is likely be strong connectively between sedimentary systems around the entire bay.” 

In responding to this new report Jeff Nottle added:

“This independent specialist analysis brings into focus the potential damage to Western Port properties and coastal foreshores and beaches that will arise from the dredging associated with the construction of a container port at Hastings. The erosion and inundation caused will not be gradual and imperceptible, it will be obvious as the Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment reports give us a baseline for erosion and inundation without the dredging for the port.

We believe all proponents for the construction of a container port at Hastings should support the establishment of a Western Port Erosion and Compensation Fund as part of a business case for Hastings.The fund could then be accessed by affected property holders and coastal land managers to restore the coast or to provide compensation.”

27 November 2015

Media enquiries: Jeff Nottle 0419 158 232

Urgent Meeting with Environment Minister sought - Renewal of the Western Port Ramsar Site Management Plan

The Western Port Ramsar Management Plan was produced in 2003,

with a great deal of input from local conservation groups, especially

WPPC (Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council),PICS (Phillip

Island Conservation Society), Bird Observers Club and VWSG

(Victorian Wader Study Group) Inexplicably however these groups 

were not informed of the current review of the Managment Plan.


WPPC and PICS have been actively campaigning to protect and

preserve Westernport since 1970.  In the 1980’s we lobbied successfully for 

Westernport bay to be listed as a Ramsar site. We

made detailed input to the Western Port Ramsar Management Plan

between 2001-03. We are astounded that we were not informed of a 

review of the Management Plan that has been taking place this year.

We belatedly and only informally heard about the review one week 

before the final consultation was to take place and after contacting

the convener, were invited to participate. However, our participation

was too late to make any meaningful input to the priorities

established at previous meetings.


We, the undersigned, are very concerned that the Draft plan

release in January will not address the most serious risks to the bay.

We request an urgent meeting with you to explain our concerns

about the Management Plan Review



We also urge you to delay publication of the Draft to allow adequate

consultation with these community stakeholders.

Preserve Western Port Action Group presents to State’s port Inquiry

The Preserve Western Port Action Group accepted the invitation last Wednesday to appearand present to the Victorian Government Select Committee Inquiry into the proposed lease of the Port of Melbourne.

A select committee of eight members have been appointed to inquire into, and report on, the potential outcomes of leasing Melbourne’s current container port. The legislation is currently before the Parliament.

“Our interest centres around the potential impacts of the proposed lease on the development of a second container port In Hastings.” Chairman of Preserve Western Port Action Group,

Jeff Nottle said.

“Stopping the construction of a huge container port and the associated industrial development in beautiful Western Port has been the focus of our mainly Phillip Island based group of volunteers for the past 18 months.” Mr Nottle stated.

“It was an excellent opportunity to inform the politicians of Spring St of the importance of Western Port as a unique and fragile marine ecosystem, a nature-based tourism asset and amuch loved holiday and fishing area.”

“Importantly, it was made clear to the Select Committee that Western Port and Hastings are not the natural deep water port that many politicians have been espousing and a container port will have serious adverse impacts to the Phillip Island economy and environment.”

“It was such a boost for our cause to present our views on Western Port directly to the politicians and have it recorded in Hansard.” Mr Nottle said.

The reporting date for this inquiry is 30 November 2015.

Oil industry and the environment collide in Western Port

Western Port watchers, tourism operators, environmentalists and the community are all celebrating the record number of whale sightings this year in Western Port. With sightings of more than 110 humpbacks, one southern right and four orcas in the region whale watching cruises even extended their cruise schedules.

Conservationists are also celebrating the recent Phillip Island Nature Parks quarterly birdcount that revealed record numbers of sightings and significant sightings of Double bandedplovers, Red necked stints, Caspian terns, Godwits, and Red-capped plovers at Observation Point.

Meanwhile the oil industry and the Port of Hastings are taking advantage of the protected pristine waters of Western Port to park an unwanted oil exploration rig the West Telesto just off the Phillip Island coast line near Observation Point for an undefined period of time.The oil rig is owned and operated by Origin Energy and when fully operational costs around $500,000 a day to operate. When parked in Western Port the Hastings Port operator Patrick has refused to disclose the amount of money being received.

This is currently sitting off Silverleaves in Cowes  - West Telesto - Noise, Water & Light pollution in a Protected Bird Migration area.

This is currently sitting off Silverleaves in Cowes  - West Telesto - Noise, Water & Light pollution in a Protected Bird Migration area.

Western Port supports international and domestic tourism, eco tourism, marine life, bird populations and the oil industry and Patrick just want to park unwanted oil exploration rigs inthe same place.

Jeff Nottle Chairman of the Preserve Western Port Action Group is calling on the State Government to initiate holistic master planning for Western Port. Currently Western Port has multiple land managers, authorities and community organisations as well as the oil industryand Port operators all seeking to achieve different visions for this RAMSAR protectedwaterway.

The oil industry and the environment are colliding and Western Port needs protection andmaster planning to secure and preserve this natural asset and the vast tourist economy itsupports from the oil industry and further industrialisation.

Media enquiries- Kate Whittaker 0409692425

Jeff Nottle


October 2015


Phone: 0456 612 852

P.O. Box 999 Cowes Vic 3922

Follow us on: