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

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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Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment Released

A new study has been released to support local action on climate change impacts in Western Port 

The Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment, which provides detailed mapping, modelling and data, was released on 5 June 2015.

The Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment project is part of a wider Victorian Government program led by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to generate detailed coastal mapping and information. This information will help Victorians understand and plan for climate risks along the coast through better information on storm surges and possible sea level rise impacts.

Western Port is one of four locations (the others being, Port Fairy, Bellarine Peninsula, Gippsland Lakes) within Victoria where Local Coastal Hazard Assessments are being undertaken. Western Port has significant social, economic, built and natural values, which have been identified as at risk from the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge

DELWP, in partnership with Melbourne Water, the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance, Bass Coast Shire Council, Cardinia Shire Council, City of Casey and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council wanted to understand the potential local impacts of climate change on and around Western Port.

The project examined areas that are potentially vulnerable due to hazards associated with coastal erosion, flooding, sea level rise and storm surge. The severity of these impacts and the diversity of the Western Port coastline mean appropriate actions will vary with the context and nature of each location.

Information obtained from the project and detailed assessments will be used to make decisions about:

  • Local infrastructure;
  • Natural asset management;
  • Emergency management planning;
  • To inform land use planning and statutory planning decisions;
  • Help communities develop adaptation plans.

Information from this project will also add to the suite of information available to help identify how and where Western Port Councils, community, industry and government can work together to respond to or address the potential impacts of climate change.

Download the following reports from the project:


Technical reports:


Sea Shepherd - Helping hand to save Westernport

Today Sea Shepherd featured our Preserve Westernport cause on their Australian network.  It further signifies that we are part of a greater community, all of whom are concerned for the welfare of the Westernport Native Wildlife. 

Sea Shepherd Australia is rallying support for the Preserve Westernport Action Group in order to raise awareness of the environmental impacts the proposed expansion of the Port of Hasting will have, particularly on whale and penguin populations around Phillip Island.

Dredging for the Western Port expansion will change the wonderfully unique environment of Phillip Island and surrounding neighbourhoods, environment, beaches, recreation and landmass.

Phillip Island is world renowned for the Penguin Parade, where millions of people from across the globe have visited to experience the magic of little penguins returning home at sunset to one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia.

Recently a number of whales, believed to be Southern Rights, including a mother and calf were seen close to underwater borehole drilling points in Westernport at Cowes, where massive borehole drilling has been occurring at up to 110 locations. Southern Right Whales are extremely sensitive to noise disturbances.

Jeff Hansen, Managing Director, Sea Shepherd Australia said, “The Southern Right Whales have come back from the brink of extinction to one of the healthiest populations in the world. In today’s oceans, this is rare and unique. If the Australian Government will not protect the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, the least they can do is protect them closer to home and cease this destructive Western Port Development”.

Penguins. Photo: Getty Images“The little penguin parade is an iconic, world renowned tourism attraction, part of the UNESCO Western Port Biosphere Reserve, it has global significance and deserves the outmost protection from the threats the Western Port Development proposes.”

Sea Shepherd Australia is deeply concerned that the Port of Hastings Authority is disregarding the Federal EPBC Act, which states that activities like underwater drilling which are likely to harm whales, need to be approved by the Federal Environment Minister.

Additionally, virtually all of Westernport is a RAMSAR (http://www.ramsar.org/about-the-ramsar-convention) protected site (Convention on Wetlands – Intergovernmental Treaty) with six threatened mammals present at Westernport Bay: the swamp antechinus, the swamp skink, the southern right whale, humpback whale, the glossy grass skink and the New Holland mouse. Over 70% of Victorian bird species are located in Westernport.

The proposed Port expansion has been announced by the Victorian Liberal Government, which is foreshadowing the establishment of Australia’s largest and deepest international container port in a RAMSAR site, with a five kilometer wharf to service 3,000 vessels arriving every year and leading to another 4,200 trucks on the roads and a 113% increase in emissions and air quality degradation.

Mr. Hansen went on to say, “With up to 3,000 large vessels arriving every year, we will see boat strikes and whales deaths. Whales and dolphins live in a world of water and sound. They feed, communicate and find their way around their world using sound. This Western Port Development will have a catastrophic impact on the Southern Rights and Humpback whales ability to communicate and navigate in the area due to the destructive noise pollution from this massive expansion in shipping.”


Currently the Port of Hastings Development Authority is holding information regarding the planned container terminal and wharf close to its chest. This information would determine the amount of dredging required or where spoil would be dumped.

With the Victorian state election occurring in a few weeks time on 29 November, the plans for the expansion could be reversed, if the current Government is not voted back in.

The ALP has a policy of setting up a new Infrastructure Victoria to assess the actual need for a new Victorian Port and they have identified other locations near the existing industrial precinct near Geelong if one is required.

The Greens oppose the Hastings Port proposal. Independent candidates around Westernport also oppose what the Government is proposing.


Visit www.preservewesternport.org.au

Sign the petition, follow on Facebook, join the discussion forum and tell your local MP you will not accept the unnecessary destruction of Westernport and the blatant disregard for the marine life.

Key Stakeholders AGAINST the port expansion:

  • Preserve Western Port Action Group 
  • Victoria National Parks Association
  • Westernport and Peninsula Protection Council
  • Environmental Justice Australia
  • Blue Wedges Coalition
  • Greens MLC – Hon. Sue Pennicuik
  • Quit Coal
  • French Island Port Stoppers
  • Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora and Fauna (SPIFF)
  • Surfrider Foundation Australia

Colin Hay shares his love of Westernport

Colin Hay is a musician who's ability to talk to people through his music is outstanding.  He has endeared himself to a worldwide audience of listeners.  Today he shared his love of Westernport and we thank him for giving our beautiful bay another voice.  Thank you Colin these are beautiful Words. 

Residents Fear Waterline towns may go under

HIGH tides coinciding with storm surges have had a significant and noticeable impact on foreshores in the Waterline area.
One local resident, Kevin Chambers from The Gurdies, dutifully documented the high tides and evidence of increased erosion during particularly strong storms in July and August.
And while he’s worried about the impact rising tides are having all along Western Port’s eastern edge, he fears such damage could become “catastrophically worse” if dredging for the proposed Port of Hastings (POH) was ever to occur.



Coastal Erosion will become much worse in and around Tooradin, Warneet and Grantville  Photo: K Chambers

Coastal Erosion will become much worse in and around Tooradin, Warneet and Grantville

Photo: K Chambers

The Size of Container Ships

The size of modern ships is quiet mind blowing.  The future of logistics is to use Super size container ships that are completely automated.  To read more about why Western port is unsuitable for shipping by industry experts visit the link to the recent conference notes. It makes no sense at all if large corporations have Logistics and warehousing investment on the other side of the bay. To add further transport costs and overheads is not realistic.  Meanwhile here is a visual reference.  Four times higher than the San Remo Bridge and twice the length of the MCG. 

Modern Container Ships

Modern Container Ships

Western Port residents Demand Answers From Greg Hunt on Whales in Westernport

A number of whales, including a mother and calf, are at risk of harm by underwater drilling for Victoria’s Port of Hasting Expansion Project in Western Port. Environmental Justice Australia, acting for the Preserve Western Port Action Group, has written to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to demand answers and actions.

“We are concerned that the Port of Hastings Development Authority is disregarding its legal obligations. The EPBC Act clearly states that activities, like underwater drilling, which are likely to harm whales, need to be approved by the Federal Environment Minister,” said Ariane Wilkinson, lawyer at Environmental Justice Australia.

“Previous drilling activities around Australia have been referred to the Federal Environment Minister,” she continued.

“Just last Friday our members spotted a mother whale and her calf very close to the drilling site at Cowes,” explained Jeff Nottle, Chairman and spokesperson for the Preserve Western Port Action Group.

“Experts believe these whales are Southern Right Whales. The expert view is that Southern Right Whales are extremely sensitive to noise disturbance, especially when they are nursing a baby calf,” said Ms Wilkinson.

“Other whales have been seen in the area as recently as last Monday. The Port of Hastings Development Authority need to take their legal responsibilities seriously to protect these sensitive animals,” she continued.

“This borehole drilling activity has been occurring at up to 110 locations in Western Port, and has been going on for months already at a time when the whales have been spotted in the area. We’re demanding that Minister Hunt’s department urgently investigate this matter as soon as possible,” said Mr Nottle.

“This is Minister Hunt’s electorate and this is going on right under his nose. This issue is important for the economy of this area. Whale watching tours form an active and growing part of the tourism economy in Western Port.”

“Local residents and the broader community deserve answers and appropriate actions on this.”

“Western Port is a RAMSAR protected site and should not be subject to the actions currently being conducted by the Port of Hastings Development Authority.”