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.

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.

~the people sign~rally for Westernport ~POSTPONED

~the people sign~rally for Westernport ~POSTPONED

Like everyone else, Save Westernport and Environment Victoria have been closely following the developments around COVID-19 and public health advice.

To reduce the risk to all of us of being exposed to the virus and ensure that our events are safe for everybody, we have made the decision to postpone the People Sign Beach Rally that was planned for Sunday March 29 on Somers Beach.

Instead, we will be meeting online on March 29 at 7:30pm to discuss our visions for protecting Westernport permanently from heavy industrialisation and pollution. You can RSVP here.

We believe this is the most responsible thing to do to ensure that we are not contributing to the spread of the virus, and to protect our collective health and all those that we have contact with in our daily lives. 

We are disappointed that these circumstances mean we can’t all gather together on March 29th but we are still excited about getting together online to talk about our visions for protecting our Bay permanently from heavy industrialisation and pollution.

You can RSVP here. Here is a how-to guide demonstrating how to use zoom for online meetings. If you would like a call beforehand to discuss how to use zoom, let us know by responding to this email. 

Even though COVID-19 has put a temporary break on our in-person protests and actions we are not giving up the fight. We will simply find new ways to express our outrage together and tell AGL to drop their plans for a gas import terminal in our Bay.

We will confirm new dates for the People Sign so that it can proceed at a later date that is safe for everyone.

Key things for your action now:

  1. RSVP to the zoom call.
  2. Let us know if you need a call from us to help you use zoom.

Can’t make this time? We will host a second webinar. Click here to let us know which time works for you.

If you have any questions, please contact me by responding to this email.

In solidarity, 
Victor Komarovsky
And the teams at Environment Victoria and Save Westernport

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.


World Wetlands Day 2020

World Wetlands Day 2020

Today is World Wetlands Day and Save Westernport celebrates all things wetlands as one of the most precious ecosystems on our planet.

We must all do everything we can to protect, preserve and enhance our wonderful wetlands.

On this day we call out to everyone to ensure no more wetlands are threatened and to ensure that proposed threats like the AGL Floating gas plant at Crib Point in Westernport bay are rejected.

Tell AGL you do not support their plans, tell your local Member of Parliament and tell your friends to boycott AGL.

Sign our Petition

Sign the pledge to boycott AGL

Celebrate our wetlands

World Wetlands Day on Sunday 2 February 2020 at Boneo Park

World Wetlands Day on Sunday 2 February 2020 at Boneo Park

World Wetlands Day will be celebrated again on Sunday 2nd February 2020.

2nd February each year is World Wetlands Day to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet.

This day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The theme for 2020 is Wetlands and Biodiversity – visit the Ramsar website here.

Boneo Park (near Tootgarook Wetland) will be hosting a number of activities on the day including wetland walks, a workshop and speaker Sean “The Birdman” Dooley.

The Boneo Park property has the largest privately protected habitat on the Mornington Peninsula with over 160 bird species across 300 hectares.

Tickets are only $5.00 and children under 13 are free – see website here.



Thank You and Best Wishes for 2020!

Thank You and Best Wishes for 2020!

Save Westernport would like to thank all our volunteers, donors and supporters for their help and encouragement during a busy 2019!

Special thanks to Environment Victoria, Crib Point Community House and the local businesses that continue to support us.

From the Peninsula’s Biggest Paddle Out at Shoreham Beach in January to the May Day community meeting at Balnarring Hall with every Federal Election candidate rejecting AGL’s gas project, we have worked hard to raise awareness of the need to stop AGL’s plans while seeking stronger legal protections for Westernport Bay’s valuable ecological character and Ramsar status.

As long as AGL persists with their proposal to import liquefied natural gas at Crib Point jetty and threaten the unique marine environment of Westernport Bay, we will continue the fight to stop this unnecessary and unjustified industrial project.

Since August 2017, AGL and its gas pipeline partner APA have sought to gain acceptance from our local communities and the Victorian State Government for this gas import project.

Their efforts will be a waste of time (and shareholder’s money) because we will never approve any heavy industry project that pollutes Westernport Bay and risks the safety of local residents and visitors.

We ask the AGL Board to make the right decision in 2020 and withdraw this flawed proposal and all the associated risks and hazards.

We wish you all a safe Christmas and a happy New Year in 2020!

Sign The Pledge – Put AGL On Notice!

Sign The Pledge – Put AGL On Notice!

Click Here to Sign this Pledge and say NO to AGL’s dirty Gas Plan NOW

AGL is still making plans to build a gas import terminal in beautiful Westernport Bay. AGL has admitted that by processing LNG and building their outdated gas pipeline, they would routinely destroy Westernport’s precious wetlands and wildlife.

AGL’s imported gas would produce 30% more carbon than local gas. 

It’s a classic case of profit over people and planet.

That’s why this community says NO!
Save Westernport and Environment Victoria are working with local groups to make sure our voice of opposition is heard.
Take Action, SIGN NOW
We deserve the sustainable energy forms and fair prices that Government and industry have been promising for decades now!

Support the fight to protect Westernport Bay from AGL’s corporate exploitation and unnecessary industry. Now is the time to ramp up pressure and hold AGL accountable for the damage their plans will cause to these precious ecosystems.

As an AGL customer or potential customer, AGL cares about what you say and do. IF YOU DON’T SUPPORT THEIR PLANS, THEN DON’T SUPPORT AGL!
You can use your voice to hit them where it hurts by signing the Pledge NOW 

Send a message to AGL to register your concern as a customer or potential customer; if they want your business, they need to dump their dirty gas project.

On behalf of nine groups including Save Westernport, Phillip Island Conservation Society (PICS), Westernport and Peninsula Protection Council (WPPC), Friends of French Island (FOFI) and Environment Victoria, this open letter was delivered to AGL board members and shareholders at the 2019 AGL annual general meeting.

The joint letter stated that community opposition to this project continues to grow, and demands AGL to DUMP their dirty gas plan.

Now we need to keep the pressure up, and as a customer or potential customer, you can influence what AGL does.

Let’s seize this moment and let AGL know it’s not just shareholders and the local community around Westernport Bay who want AGL to do better on climate – customers and potential customers across Victoria do too.

You can help protect our climate and our precious marine sanctuary by permanently boycotting AGL if they go ahead with this dirty plan.

Put AGL on notice by signing this pledge NOW 

We can make this action even more powerful if we get more people on board. Can you help by sharing this message with five or more  friends? Please follow this link and share it.

Are you  a Member of Save Westernport yet?  Join NOW by filling in the form at the end of the Take Action page here.

Thank You

Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry Into Ramsar Wetlands – public comments close Friday 29 November

Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry Into Ramsar Wetlands – public comments close Friday 29 November

Public submissions to the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into Ramsar wetland sites must be made by Friday 29 November.

Public comments can be made here. 

You may also submit your comments and concerns to the Committee via this link.


Public hearings will be also held in Melbourne, Chelsea Heights and Sale:

Monday 2 December 2019 – Parliament of Victoria, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne

Tuesday 3 December 2019 – Edithvale-Seaford Wetland Education Centre, 278 Edithvale Road, Chelsea Heights

Wednesday 4 December 2019 – Port of Sale (Wellington Centre), 70 Foster Street, Sale

See more information here.


The Victorian Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee has commenced a public inquiry that will investigate the response to an Auditor-General’s report on Victoria’s wetlands.

The audit report, released in 2016, examined whether Victoria was meeting its obligations to protect wetlands under the international Ramsar Convention.

Victoria’s wetlands are a critical part of our state’s natural environment.

The Auditor-General wanted to know that they are well-managed and that international obligations in relation to their conservation were being met.

The Auditor-General concluded that general management of Ramsar wetland sites needed to improve for Victoria to effectively meet its obligations.


Save Westernport encourages all Victorians to have their say on Ramsar wetlands and voice their concerns by making a submission to this inquiry.


Stop AGL Westernport Summer Action Launch

Stop AGL Westernport Summer Action Launch

Come to our
Stop AGL
Westernport Summer
Action Launch!

Join us at Somers Hall for afternoon tea
with others who care about
our precious and unique Westernport environment. 

Westernport needs you! 

Find out about our campaign to protect
the Bay’s Internationally recognized wetlands,
its spectacular creatures and ecosystems
from the threat of AGL’s heavy industry.

Sunday December 1st, 2019


afternoon tea

Somers Hall, RW Stone Pavilion,
68 Camp Hill Road

                                        *Please Note the 2pm start time, not Midday as reported elsewhere*

Urgent Please Make a Submission to EPA today

Urgent Please Make a Submission to EPA today

URGENT: We know AGL has asked the EPA to weaken Victoria’s waste water restrictions to allow them to dump cold chlorinared water from their heat exchange straight into the Bay. If this change is allowed, it would make it easier for their gas processing plant to gain approval, even though the cumulative impacts on Westernport‘s marine ecology are unknown and could be devastating.

Please make a comment to EPA, even if it’s past the deadline on Oct 31,  or let them know you intend to comment at sublegreform@epa.vic.gov.au 

Your submission does not have to be technical, it takes just 5 minutes. Please tell them
– no new emissions must be allowed into wetlands and waterways.

– Corporations cannot be permitted to regulate their own waste in water or air.

– the EPA MUST NOT lift restrictions and weaken the few environmental protection laws we have in Victoria.

It could make polluting legal for corporations like AGL. 

If these laws are changed, it could allow AGL to dump 450 million litres of cold chlorinated water into Westernport every day it operates. AGL has said “we expect it would cause no harm to Westernport’s marine environment”,  but we know in the past they have cut corners, polluting and degrading the environment and increasing their profits.

Please tell the EPA that the job of the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AUTHORITY must be to protect the Environment from corporations like AGL. They must not WEAKEN the Environmental Protection Laws already in place. We know that corporations who profit from environmentally harmful projects cannot be trusted to effectively regulate themselves.

AGL’s appalling environmental track record has been widely reported in national media. You can read the growing list of AGL’s accidents, spills and past convictions for DECEPTIVE AND MISLEADING CONDUCT  here.

Remember, if you need more time, please email EPA to let them know you intend to comment at: sublegreform@epa.vic.gov.au

Fill in the form here to make a comment

Thank you from Save Westernport.

More Info from Environment Victoria:

Right now the Andrews government is considering new rules that could weaken the EPA’s powers to stop companies like AGL from dumping polluted water into our precious wetlands. These new rules also fail to set clear guidelines for the EPA to fulfill their duty to cut climate pollution.

Will you make a submission to their public consultation to say this is not OK? Act now: the public consultation closes tomorrow! 

Make a submission here

On July 1 2020 Victoria’s new Environment Protection Act will come into effect. 

This will help shape Victoria’s environmental future. Strong environmental laws are vital to protect our precious ecosystems and cut climate pollution in Victoria.

Sadly, the proposed regulations that go with the new Act miss the mark on the climate crisis and protecting nature.

Earlier this year we exposed AGL’s efforts to weaken Victoria’s environmental legislation which would prevent them from building a gas import terminal in Westernport Bay’s Ramsar wetlands.

Now the EPA is proposing to weaken these regulations. For the first time in 30 years, companies like AGL could get the greenlight to discharge polluted water into our precious Victorian aquatic environments like internationally recognised Ramsar Wetlands.

And in the midst of a climate crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Australians marching for climate action, the proposed regulations fail to create clear guidelines for the Environment Protection Authority to deal with climate polluters. 

Despite already having the powers to deal with climate pollution, so far the EPA has chosen to do nothing, claiming existing regulations don’t provide clear guidelines. Now the EPA is about to pass up an opportunity to solve this “issue”, choosing to maintain the status quo. This is not good enough.

Have your say, help us raise the level of environmental protection in Victoria 

Make a submission: 

Writing a submission can take less than 5 minutes. Here are the two most pressing issues the EPA need to hear about:

The proposed regulations do not make it possible for the EPA to manage and regulate greenhouse gases. In the midst of a climate crisis, we need clear rules that empower (or even better, require) the EPA to engage with climate polluters to limit their pollution.

New legislation should raise environmental standards, especially for the most sensitive environments like Westernport. 

It is crucial to keep the protections of clause 22(3) of the current State Environment Protection Policy (Waters) that forbids the EPA from approving new wastewater discharges in areas of high conservation value.

Write a submission to the EPA today and tell them to step up their game.

Have your say: 

The new legislation is likely to shape Victoria’s environmental future for decades. We have until this Thursday October 31 to push for better environmental regulations that put our climate and our precious habitats first.

We need to seize this moment and let them know that Victorians care deeply about our climate, our unique ecosystems, and the generations to come. 

Thank you 
Save Westernport and Environment Victoria