Port of Hastings Information Shutdown Scuttles Planning Panels Victoria C82 Hearing
The Port of Hasting Development Authority has gone into information shutdown on key information on the planned development of an international container terminal at Hastings.
The Port Authority is publicly not advising the location of the planned container terminal and wharf in the special use zone or declared port area and hence the amount of dredging required or where spoil will be dumped. Further information not being released includes the extent of restrictions on boating in Westernport.
The proposed dredging for the container terminal is critical and will have an adverse impact on Westernport’s coastal erosion and sea water inundation as the tides increase in speed and mud flats are removed. This will have a significant adverse effect on the Westernport coastline particularly to the north of Westernport and French island and the north Shore of Phillip Island.
In preparing the C82 planning amendment Council asked the Port Authority of the extent of proposed dredging and details of their hydrodynamic modeling. The Port Authority advised Council on 2 June 2014 that “At this point in time, we do not have sufficient information to contribute a submission on this matter...”
The issue was highlighted at the C82 Planning Panels Victoria hearing. Jeff Nottle Chairman of the Preserve Western Port Action Group advised the hearing on 9 October 2014 that the lack of response by the Port of Hastings will prevent the Planning Panels or Council setting an appropriate overlay. Jeff stated that the lack of response from the Port Authority will mean that the Panel Report will be obsolete before it is implemented. The Panel indicated that the inquiry and public hearings may need to be held again when the Port of Hastings information is provided.
Jeff Nottle presented to Planning Panels the Victorian University Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics report of 26 August 2014 which states dredging for the Port of Hastings would remove approximately 6 million cubic metres of spoil in the approach channels and 18 million cubic meters for a berthing pocket bringing the total to about 24 million cubic meters excluding the dredging required for the anchorage area off the north shore of Phillip Island.
It is incredible that the dredging and hydrodynamic modeling is not being presented to Planning Panels Victoria despite the amount of hydrodynamic modeling undertaking he stated. The Port of Hastings Annual Report for 2012/13 shows expenditure to 30 June 2013 of $240,432 on consultancy services for hydrodynamics with planned further expenditure of $139,888 from that date.
Residents, ratepayers and Councils whose coastlines will be affected by the proposed dredging should not have these extra costs and uncertainties imposed on them due to the hydrodynamic modeling not being made available by the Port of Hastings to Planning Panels Victoria.
The C82 amendment has been a difficult issue for residents, ratepayers, Council and other stakeholders. The Port of Hastings information shutdown will cause further community concerns.
Further information shutdown is evident with the Port of Hastings responses to their token community information sessions PORTicipate.
Well meaning community members have been working hard to assist the Port of Hastings in their quarterly meetings. The Port Authority responds to community concerns with comments that the Port Authority will provide further details and updates at next meetings.
With the next meeting due in November the community members are not receiving critical information despite their assistance to the Port Authority.
The current Port Authority Information Sessions being held in the region are merely an opportunity to display colorful posters and ariel photographs. The large numbers of Port Authority staff are pleasant yet highly rehearsed in their non disclosure of key information.
The Preserve Western Port Action Group calls on the Port Authority to stop the information shutdown and be transparent with the community. We demand better accountability and transparency on their use of $110 M of taxpayers’ money. Key questions are being asked and the Port Authority should be providing answers.
Media Contact; Jeff Nottle 0419 158 232