A place to connect deeply ~ by Sarah Miller

Merricks Beach is my sacred place. Merricks Beach on Western Port Bay, Warn Marring was our childhood home. It was here that my sense of wonder and awe for this planet began. It was here I delighted in the cliff tops, the rock pools, the sandy shallow beaches, the waves at the point, the sand dunes, the woodlands. It was here my sense of self as part of something greater was nourished.
This place I return to regularly, to foster that deep connection I have to the lands, the waters, the air. I visit alone, with family, with friends. We snorkle, we swim, we walk, we drum, we bird watch and we chat. We camp at Balnarring and at Somers.
It is also a Ramsar site- and that means it is recognized as an international site of significance for birds. It means it is supposed to be protected. Caspian Terns, Pied Oystercatcher, Grey Tailed Tattler, Eastern curlew, to name just a handful of the endangered birds that call Westernport home.
Westernport is home to significant marine creatures too, whales, dolphins, sharks, fur seals, weedy sea dragons, I could go on. As over 630 animal species are supported by the westernport environment. These lands and these waters are precious.
This is BoonWurrung Country, the people of the two bays. Port Phillip, Nairm and Westernport, Warn Marring. It is sacred land, and water.
This is a place of my deepest connection, and right now AGL plans to create one of the largest gas terminals in Australia. They will house 40 tankers each year. Each tanker is as big as 20 humpback whales lined head to tail tip. Each tanker will be moored at AGL’s proposed Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU), a 290-metre long gas plant permanently moored at Crib Point across from Phillip Island. The whole process will be disastrous, as they take water from the bay and then spew out chloride filled water that is a whopping 7 degrees cooler than it went in. (Apparently AGL have changed from this open loop system to a closed loop system which involves the burning of fossil fuels eg gas to cool the gas. So that is not a solution. WE are in a climate crisis AGL !)
Other impacts could include the clearing of wetlands, dredging of the Bay floor, chemical and petroleum leaks and spills, local noise and light pollution, disruption to marine life and the introduction of damaging marine pests.
At a time when we need to be moving away from climate damaging energy, AGL is full steam ahead. We need your support to stop them. We need you to tell your story of why this place is so important to you. Tell the premier Dan Andrews and the Minister for the Environment, Lily D’Ambrosio MP., that you want real leadership on Climate, real leadership on protecting our environment, and real leadership on supporting a healthy Victoria for all. Let see if they will listen.
Oh and if they tell you we need the gas that is simply not true. This is a profit making exercise because AGL can get more money selling out gas overseas than here. We already produce enough gas for our consumption, and hopefully are investing in renewables to lower than need.