Election Guide 2018

As the election is coming up, we’ve tried to assemble the best information we can to help you make a decision.   We’ll update this guide as election day approaches, so it may be a good idea to bookmark it.   Save Westernport does not favor any particular party, but feel it is good to ask candidates what they think about issues that matter, and report back.

We’ll start with the Environment Victoria Election Scorecard, which is a great party-by-party overview of their environmental position, then include information from our own candidate surveys.  We asked the same questions of everybody.  Unlike the others, the Greens provided an extensive reply to our questions.  Publishing it here is not an endorsement, as all parties had a similar chance to respond.  If we get additional responses, we’ll update this article.

Environment Victoria Election Scorecard

Save Westernport Overview of Election Candidate Views

Save Westernport recently sent a survey to all local candidates in the upcoming 2018 State Election to seek their position on matters important to our local communities around Westernport.

Candidates were asked to indicate their support (YES/NO) on the following issues:

  • the proposed AGL gas import terminal project at Crib Point
  • the proposed AGL/Kawasaki hydrogen project at Hastings
  • a future container port for Hastings
  • the phasing out of heavy industry around Westernport Bay

A number of responses from candidates were received – others did not reply before deadline.

Hastings District:

  • Nathan Lesslie (Greens) – “The Victorian Greens do not support the proposed AGL gas import terminal or the proposed new gas pipeline. The Victorian Greens do not support the project to turn coal into hydrogen to be shipped to Japan. The Greens oppose a container port at Hasting due to the impact on the local environment and on Westernport Bay, which is a Ramsar-listed wetland. We support a long-term phase out plan for heavy industry in Westernport Bay”.
    (See 3 page response from Ellen Sandell below.  Ellen Sandell is the Greens spokesperson for the environment.)
  • Neale Burgess (LIB) – No reply before deadline. Mr Burgess has publicly stated that he will stop the AGL gas terminal project from proceeding and recently set up a ‘NO AGL’ sign in Crib Point.  We also have noted his public support for the plan for a container port development in Westernport.
  • Simon Meyer (ALP) – “I go scuba diving at Flinders Pier and go sailing at Hastings Yacht Club. I love our bay and believe that Westernport Bay needs looking after.
  • Georgia Knight (AJP) – No reply before deadline

Nepean District:

  • Simon Mulvany (Independent) – “Westernport is in recovery and forms part of scarce wetlands habitat, needs no potential further environmental insults and has to be restored to its pre-industrial condition.”
  • Paul Saunders (Greens) – See Greens full statement below.

Eastern Victoria Region:

  • Greg Bell/Carmel Close (Reason Party) – “Fiona Patten has raised the need for a full EIS on the terminal in Parliament.”
  • Philip Seabrook (Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party) – “The proposed facility is an environmental disaster for the area.”

Save Westernport will continue to seek views from all candidates in the lead up to next Saturday’s State Election.

Victorian Greens Response to Save Westernport Pre-election Questionnaire

1. Do you support the proposed AGL gas import terminal and construction of a 60km gas pipeline from Crib Point to Pakenham? If ‘YES’, why?

Please indicate: NO

Comments: The Victorian Greens do not support the proposed AGL gas import terminal or the proposed new gas pipeline. The Greens have been extremely vocal in our opposition to this project and have actively campaigned to stop it.

This project should not proceed. It is a threat to the ecology of Westernport Bay and RAMSAR wetlands. It would also increase climate destroying emissions for Victoria when we know that a rapid transition away from all fossil fuels is required to prevent dangerous climate change.

Ellen Sandell, the Greens’ climate change and energy spokesperson, and Greens MP in the Victorian Parliament, has used her position in parliament to obtain information about this project from the Government. The Greens have called on Labor to withdraw their support for the terrible project.

Greens candidates and MPs will continue to stand together with the community in opposition to AGL’s project. The Greens will continue the campaign to oppose this project after the state election.

Our public position opposing AGL’s proposed activities in Westernport Bay is available at:
https://greens.org.au/vic/beyondgas

2. Do you support the AGL/Kawasaki proposal to convert coal into liquid hydrogen at Loy Yang then transport via ship from Hastings to Japan?

Please indicate: NO

Comments: The Victorian Greens do not support the project to turn coal into hydrogen to
be shipped to Japan.

The Victorian Labor Government has wasted $50 million in public money to support this project, and the federal government has also spent a further $50 million. This project is reliant on a plan to store emissions in the ground, which is unproven despite decades of investigation.

The Greens oppose this project because it will increase climate destroying emissions in Victoria and is an attempt to extend the life of Victoria’s toxic, polluting brown coal industry.

The Greens have a detailed plan to transition Victoria to 100% renewable energy by 2030, including a phase out of all coal. New Zealand and New South Wales are looking at ways to turn clean, renewable energy into hydrogen, why isn’t Labor spending its money on this instead?

More information about The Greens energy and coal transition policies is available at:
https://greens.org.au/vic/renewablevic

3. Do you support any proposal that would see Hastings on Westernport Bay become a future container port?

Please indicate: NO

Comments: The Greens oppose a container port at Hasting due to the impact on the local
environment and on Westernport Bay, which is a Ramsar-listed wetland.

Westernport Bay is a haven for the thousands of water birds that visit it from all around the world every year and a unique tidal mud-flat ecosystem that is very precious to Victorians.

A container port at Hastings is the wrong way to go. We should be looking first at preserving and enhancing the integrity of Western Port for future generations. The health and long- term integrity of Westernport is paramount.

Westernport has already suffered much damage, in terms of pollution and loss of sea-grass and mangroves, due to port and other activities on its shores
This level of damage cannot continue into the future and that is the threshold issue that needs to be addressed before any port expansion plans are entertained. It most likely that the Port of

Hastings should be down scaled, not expanded, in order to preserve the Westernport ecosystem for future generations.

4. Would you support a long-term plan to phase out heavy industry in Westernport?

Please indicate: YES

Comments: The Victorian Greens do not believe that Westernport Bay is a suitable area for heavy industry. The Bay’s already vulnerable ecosystem is under further threat from pollution, overdevelopment and degradation if heavy industry continues to expand in the Bay. We support a long-term phase out plan for heavy industry In Westernport Bay.

The Greens will always support communities and the natural environment over big corporations and heavy polluting industry. We know that we can have a sustainable, compassionate Victoria and still create thousands of new jobs – in many cases more than we can by relying on coal and dirty industry. All of our sustainability policies include transition plans to create new industries and jobs in areas such as renewable energy projects and expanding the local sorting and recycling industry. Protecting our natural environment is also important for food production and tourism.

5. What major policies/initiatives do you envisage for Westernport Bay and surrounding communities?

The Greens are working to secure a sustainable, liveable future for all of Victoria, including Westernport Bay. We want to see Westernport Bay’s marine environment and coasts protected and preserved, stop overdevelopment and dirty coal polluting the Bay, and ensure that the local communities have a say in major planning decisions that affects their areas.

Read the full details of our plan for Victoria here: https://victoria.greens.org.au/platform