EPBC Act Review public submissions UPDATE- now open til May 1  2020

EPBC Act Review public submissions UPDATE- now open til May 1 2020

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is under review for the first time in many years.

IMPORTANT UPDATE :
The Public Comments period has just been extended!
The EPBC website now states that the initial April 17 deadline for submissions has now been extended til May 1 2020

It is vital that members of our community make submissions to this EPBC Act review to ensure that laws relating to inappropriate industrial developments in Ramsar wetlands, such as the proposed AGL gas import terminal project in Westernport Bay, are not modified or watered-down.
 
Why not make a Submission to tell the review panel why you care about making sure Australia’s environmental protection laws are strong enough to do what they are supposed to do…protect the environment?
These Laws must be strong enough to stand up to proposals driven by profit over the protection of native wildlife and habitat. They must not facilitate bad developments or make it easier for irresponsible industries to gain approvals, or “regulate themselves”. The Laws must guarantee that decisions and approvals processes for all new developments prioritise the conservation of our precious water and endangered ecosystems.

Some possible suggestions could be:
> The EPBC review panel is currently weighted towards industry and the economy, with several members with those backgrounds, and  lacks anyone with experience in environmental conservation and biodiversity or even with a background in science. 
This insufficiency is deeply concerning when the gravity and significance of this review is considered, with all its repercussions.

> The Act must acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the Traditional Owners of this Country, and consultation processes should be adapted and extended to incorporate the oral traditions where appropriate for sharing knowledge on Country, Culture and Law.

> New industrial proposals must comply with accepted Climate Emergency goals that limit temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees, and must only be approved if  it can be shown that they’re  
entirely necessary and preferable to the ‘no project’ scenario. Economic benefit alone is insufficient to offset any risks or impacts of a new project.

>New projects that make use of sites already degraded by industry must be prioritised over projects requiring further destruction or degradation of established or regenerating native habitat.
 
> Measures aimed at making it simpler for new projects to be approved (such as the current “One-stop-shop” goal for approvals) really should be beyond the scope of Environmental Protection laws.

> It is incumbent on Environmental protection laws to look first and foremost at the likely impacts of new projects on the proposed site, on its setting and on the areas beyond it, particularly concerning the management of wastewater and effluent from Industry and impacts on  high value conservation areas.

The EPBC Act is Australia’s primary national environmental legislation and this statutory review commenced on 29 October 2019 with Professor Graeme Samuel AC appointed as the independent reviewer. An Expert Panel has been appointed with three members: Bruce Martin, Erica Smyth and Wendy Craik – see member details here

This review will examine the EPBC Act, how it operates and consider changes needed to ensure the Act can manage current and future environmental challenges.

The EPBC Act is designed to regulate activities that may impact on environmental values of national importance.

These environmental values include Ramsar wetlands, native flora and fauna species, migratory species, protection of endangered species and biodiversity, national parks and marine parks, world heritage areas and our water resources.

Submissions may be made via the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website here.

To assist members of our community on how to write a submission, a guide and examples of EPBC Act submissions may be found here.

The EPBC Act review online submission form can be found here.

Further details on this review of the EPBC Act can be found here. 

The final report from this review will be available in October 2020.

Julie Lyford OAM (Groundswell Gloucester) visits Crib Point

Julie Lyford OAM (Groundswell Gloucester) visits Crib Point

On Tuesday February 18th 2020, Save Westernport members and supporters gave a big welcome to Julie Lyford OAM.

Julie is the Chairperson of Groundswell Gloucester, a community group who were instrumental in 2016 in stopping AGL’s coal seam gas project (fracking) in Gloucester NSW as well as the ground-breaking climate legal decision in 2019 against the Rocky Hill coal mine proposal in the Gloucester valley to stop the mine from going ahead on environmental grounds.

Julie is the former Mayor of Gloucester and in 2015, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to the Environment, Community and Local Government.

In her presentation to our Save Westernport meeting, Julie spoke about how the Gloucester community fought tooth and nail for 10 years to stop AGL from “fracking” in their precious valley.

Her advice to the audience was “Never to give in!” and to tell AGL “If they don’t discontinue their dangerous, floating gas factory proposal in your pristine UNESCO Biosphere and RAMSAR eco-system in Westernport Bay then you will do everything in your combined community power to ensure that the AGL brand will suffer which will seriously impact their bottom line.”

Julie told the audience that AGL knew that CSG exploration and fracking in the Gloucester basin and Manning Valley catchment could have serious risks of polluting water sources, agricultural lands and air quality.

After proving that the independent experts were correct, the Groundswell team with the collaboration of hundreds of individuals and over 32 organisations fought and won and saved the valley.

We thank Julie for making the long journey from Gloucester to Crib Point to share her knowledge of community action and her years of experience in fighting dangerous industrial developments.

Visit Groundswell Gloucester here.

“The Town That Said No To AGL” is a book about the battle for Gloucester by local residents against government and corporations – order your copy here.

 

Peninsula’s Biggest Paddle Out – Car Parking Map and Advice

Peninsula’s Biggest Paddle Out – Car Parking Map and Advice

Sunday, January 6th is the day!  Due to the incredible response to the “Peninsula’s Biggest Paddle Out” this Sunday, please note that car parking will be limited around Pines Beach at Shoreham where the event will be taking place.

With hundreds of people confirming their attendance on Sunday and a wedding at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Byrnes Road, Shoreham, the need for participants to car pool or organise a drop-off (and pickup later) is essential!

Please refer to the car parking map below and plan your journey to Shoreham before leaving home.  Once the car park at the beach is full, car parking will be along Byrnes Road and Cliff Road with a short walk down to the beach.   Look for anybody who may be dropping people off at the beach and find out if you can grab a lift.

Some people are also planning on parking at Point Leo and walking or paddling around.  Be considerate of residents, and find a place that works for you.

Note: No car parking is permitted on Frankston-Flinders Road or on private property.

You can read our original announcement about the event for schedule information and other useful links.

Volunteers will be in attendance to assist in managing traffic and giving lifts—please be patient and arrive early before the “Paddle Out” begins.

To participate, you’ll need to sign a waiver when you sign-in on the day. Here is a copy for you to read in advance so you can save time:

Download the Peninsula Paddle Out Waiver here.

Save Westernport is pleased to assist the community by using its media avenues to get information to the public.

Then you can just…

Stay safe and enjoy this epic Paddle Out. We might even beat the world record (it’s only 511 paddlers!)

Parking Map for the Event

Get On Board!   Peninsula’s Biggest Paddle Out, January 6th

Get On Board! Peninsula’s Biggest Paddle Out, January 6th

Save Westernport is excited to help spread the word about this joyous Summer event, and to join with community in a peaceful protest of AGL’s floating gas proposal at Crib Point.   Join us at Pines Beach in Shoreham from 2pm onward to show your support and meet members and supporters of the cause!

Refer to our latest update for information about where to park on the day, and any other instructions you may need.

Continue reading “Get On Board! Peninsula’s Biggest Paddle Out, January 6th”

Save Westernport Wins Environment Award

[MELBOURNE, Victoria, Australia.  November 1st, 2018] – For their relentless hard work and environmental activism, Save Westernport was awarded the annual Community Environment Recognition Award by Environment Victoria at their Annual General Meeting last night in Melbourne.  The award, according to Environment Victoria’s website, “recognises the achievements of remarkable community groups and individuals who have led innovative and persistent grassroots campaigns to protect places they love, often with very limited resources.”

The Save Westernport group was formed spontaneously in May 2018 by a group of passionate locals who had grave concerns about AGL’s plans for a gas import terminal in the protected Ramsar wetlands area of Crib Point, on the Mornington Peninsula.  Many group members had never been involved in a community campaign before, but their frustration and anger caused them to organise quickly and accomplish what many consider some remarkable achievements in just a few short months.  As a result of their efforts (and the efforts of many of their supporters), Hon. Richard Wynne, Planning Minister for Victoria, put the AGL project on hold by requiring an extensive environmental investigation under Australia’s Environmental Effects Act (1979).   

Louise Page, a Save Westernport spokesperson, said: “We were truly honored to receive this award from Environment Victoria.  It’s been an extraordinary team effort, with enormous support from the community.  I feel we have played a critical role in holding back AGLs plans and we’ll keep going as long as threats to the bay arise”.   Her sentiments are shared by many, including AGL, who attributed the environmental assessment requirements as the direct result of community activism in the region.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact: savewesternport@gmail.com
Website: https://savewesternport.org

ACCC Changes Its Mind on a Gas Reservation Policy

ACCC Changes Its Mind on a Gas Reservation Policy

In a surprise announcement on Friday the ACCC Chair Rod Simms backflipped on his previous stance and “joined the chorus for a gas reservation policy on the east coast to keep a lid on prices and save key manufacturers from closure”.  ABC News published an in-depth article about the announcement containing some great analysis as well as a video segment that is worth watching. Continue reading “ACCC Changes Its Mind on a Gas Reservation Policy”

SaveWesternport Special Edition Part 2

The second part of our three part podcast talks about the value of Westernport Bay itself.   The group describes the Ramsar wetland status, and goes into detail about the valuable marine life and the dangers that industrial development pose to this fragile and misunderstood coastal ecosystem.

We Need Urgent Help with the EPBC.  This Article Tells you Why, and How to Help.

We Need Urgent Help with the EPBC. This Article Tells you Why, and How to Help.

What Is Happening and Why Is It Urgent?

Both APA and AGL have referred their projects for approval to the federal government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 (the EPBC). Based upon these referrals, and public comments and objections, the government will decide whether no further study is necessary (thereby giving the projects the go-ahead), or decide that significantly more study needs to be done before the projects can proceed.

Continue reading “We Need Urgent Help with the EPBC. This Article Tells you Why, and How to Help.”