Bass Coast Council approved funding for a study by internationally acclaimed researchers into the impact of the proposed Port of Hastings Extension on the environment of Western Port. The study to commence in late July will develop a range of scenarios that give proper weight to environmental values as well as their contribution to the economy of the area.
The Preserve Western Port Action Group welcomed council’s decision. “The community is extremely concerned at the impact the proposed development will have on the environment and ecology of Western Port, we are delighted that Council is funding the project and supporting the community,” the Chairman Jeff Nottle said.
“The proposed expansion of the Port of Hastings into an international container port will require massive dredging of the Western Port and increase the volume of shipping dramatically; it is the most significant issue facing the Phillip Island and Western Port communities. The expansion has the potential to wreck the environment and amenity of Western Port and with it the tourism industry,” he said.
“This crucial study by eminent researchers Professor Costanza and Dr Ida Kubiszewski from the Australian National University will establish the datum for assessing this project and should have been carried out before the Government announced its decision to expand the Port. We really do expect better governance from a Government that professes to support tourism,” he said.
Students participating in the study are undertaking studies in Environment Management and Development: Scenario Planning and Analysis for Australia.
The study will be done right here on Phillip Island over a one week period and will involve key stakeholders; Councillors, CEO’s, The Victorian National Parks Association, Western Port & Peninsula Protection Council, industry and environmental specialists.