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: yoursay.infrastructurevictoria.com.au

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

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.

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


Email: mailto:preservewesternport@gmail.com

Phone: 0456 612 852

P.O. Box 999 Cowes Vic 3922

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The Battle's not over - We must remain vigilant

IN THE Bass electorate, there was an 11 per cent swing against the Coalition last Saturday. It was even higher on Phillip Island, with the strongest anti-port candidate, independent Clare Le Serve, effectively picking up those votes.


The Preserve Western Port Action Group is pleased with the election result and the support shown to candidates who opposed the Coalition’s plans for an international container terminal in Western Port. 

But this is just the end of the beginning, and the start of the next phase to preserve Western Port forever and ensure the container terminal option and industrialisation plan do not re-emerge. As a result of the Western Port scenario planning workshop held in July, we know there are better options for Western Port. 

Some lessons

The Coalition was intent on fast-tracking their container port plan even without a business case. The Port of Hastings Development Authority lured some well-meaning community representatives to join their “community consultation” group PORTICIPATE. However, when these members informed the authority of issues and concerns, the authority usually responded that key issues would be responded to after the election.

This approach effectively stymied community discussion and made community engagement in some areas more challenging.

The Preserve Western Port Action Group (PWP) was formed in March 2014 and immediately began to inform the community of the plans and to identify key concerns based on detailed research.

We developed strong partnerships with other groups opposed to the plans: the Victorian National Parks Association, Sea Shepherd, Western Port Protection Council and French Island Port Stoppers. We engaged with the community at markets, art shows, radio programs, boat ramps and local schools, “Save the Bay Picnic Day” and “The Port that doesn’t makes no Sense or Cents”.  We also worked with the Bass Coast Shire Council to develop a council policy position on the port proposal that was ultimately adopted by the MAV on behalf of all Victorian councils.

As community concerns about plans for the port increased, the Coalition offered last-minute election sweeteners, including funding of a report for the Phillip Island Stand Alone group, $21 million to relocate Wonthaggi Secondary College, $25 million for the next stage of Wonthaggi hospital, and $2.3 million to rebuild the Cowes CFA. 

Next steps

Following our successes and high community profile, the community has approached PWP to widen our focus to other Western Port issues on both land and water. The community appears to be seeking genuine, non-party-political leadership to preserve the bay and guide future sustainable developments.

After a short break, our dedicated and passionate volunteers will refocus and look to expand our membership and reach. We will then be in an even stronger position to represent the interests of the community and guide future developments in this area.

The new ALP Government intends to set up a new organisation, Infrastructure Victoria, to decide on the need and location of a new container port for Victoria. It will rely on submissions to enable it to decide and advise the Government.

At this stage, the Coalition in opposition has not publicly stated the submission they will present, but Coalition supporters and other vested interests will no doubt lodge comprehensive submissions seeking to reinstate the Hastings proposal. 

PWP will undertake detailed research to produce a submission that includes the economic, environmental and social impacts of building an international container terminal in Western Port. We will seek further industry and community engagement as we build the case. 

The bay has had a near-death experience and the community has expressed its alarm to us, to local candidates and at the ballot box. Now is the time to re-engage. We urge further interested, passionate and visionary people and organisations to join with our group as we chart the way forward. 

We need to stop the pursuit of the 50-year-old plan by the former Liberal Government to industrialise Western Port. The world has moved on and we need to embrace a sustainable future for Western Port and our community.

Jeff Nottle is chairman of the Preserve Western Port action group.

Candidates Pinned on Port

This article appeared in the Sentinal Times 28 October, 2014 

Candidates for the Bass Electorate in the local paper. Make your vote count. If the Liberal Government are re-elected they will begin the development at Westernport.  We hope you will choose an alternative.  To find out who is running in your electorate visit ABC Victoria Votes and follow the links to find your area.

Public Forum Outstanding Success

The Public Forum held last Saturday night was a great success.  Anne Davie from the Phillip Island Conservation Society opened the evening and welcomed the gathering of over 120 in the St Philips Hall on Phillip Island.  It was standing room only.  Chris Smythe gave an overview of the recent Scenario Planning Workshop that examined a range of alternatives to the Port of Hastings Development.  A copy of the report is available on our publications page.  

Chairman Jeff Nottle Introduced Dr Hermoine Parsons who gave a very clear explanation from a shipping and logistics perspective that the Port of Hastings is a bad idea.  The old thinking of 'Build it and they will come' is a ridiculous notion, it doesn't take into account freight based on the position of existing markets.  She explained that the idea of trying to move freight through the south eastern suburbs was outrageous.  It would add around the cost of $220 to every container, thus making the industry uncompetitive.  It became obvious that the roads to our other markets in Sydney and Adelaide stemmed from the West and so too are airports moving domestic freight. The idea of Ships coming all the way to Westernport as opposed to Port of Melbourne would cause confusion and no one in the industry thinks its a good idea.  If the Government goes ahead with it, irrespective of industry experts advice, it will potentially fail in a spectacular way, leaving generations with a debt and an empty port. This has happened in many other countries around the world.  Visit our Publications page to view the full report.

Finally Sea Shepherd Mornington chapter leader James Brown gave a reminder to the listeners that once the damage to the environment is done and the animals that live in it are gone there is no chance of turning back the clock.  It would take only 3 tides to carry an oil spill throughout Westernport and all life in the bay including the little penguins and migratory sea birds, whales and dolphins would be gone forever along with the millions of dollars in tourism for the state of Victoria.

Build it but will they come?

Recently members of the group attended a Victoria University conference to look at the Logistics and Supply chain issues surrounding the development of the Port of Hastings.  

The Victorian Government is committed to expanding the Port of Hastings as Victoria’s next container freight port. An allocation of $110 million was made in May 2013 to fund the planning of the proposed port by the newly established Port of Hastings Development Authority, with all necessary planning and environmental approvals to be completed by 2017. The plan is for construction to begin in 2018 and to be completed by 2027 at the latest, excluding major road and rail construction across Metropolitan Melbourne, at an estimated cost of $12 billion. 

Planning for the alternatives to the Port of Hastings ceased in May 2013, yet long lead times in planning for and delivering new port capacity requires a continuation of planning for alternatives, should for any reason, the Port of Hastings development project fail.

Read a full outline of the conference at the Victoria University site