Save Westernport were delighted to receive a Community Environment Recognition Award at Environment Victoria’s 2018 Annual General Meeting last night.
The award 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.
Some previous recipients have been Lock the Gate Victoria, Darebin Climate Action, The Sustainable Living Festival and Friends of Merri Creek.
Save Westernport is particularly honoured to receive such an accolade in light of the group’s infancy and urgent formation as a result of AGL’s import gas project proposed for Crib Point being fast-tracked by the energy giant and the Victorian State Government. It’s a testament to the dedication of the steering committee and the support of other passionate groups and individuals who are determined to ensure the protection and future health of Westernport’s unique and diverse environment and communities.
The Save Westernport Story
Six months ago, no-one had heard of ‘Save Westernport’. It formed almost overnight in May this year when a group of concerned locals got together to oppose AGL’s plans for Crib Point. Many had never been involved in a community campaign before. The rapid growth of the Save Westernport campaign is a powerful reminder of the passion that Westernport residents have for their natural environment and bay and the frustration and anger that they felt at government disregard for their views.
Thanks to the group and many supporters, the old views that Westernport is a “deep water port” and an “industrial area” are finally being debunked. Fish and other marine life have returned to the bay in the last decade after years of seagrass dieback and fish loss in the 1980s and 1990s. Whale numbers are increasing in the Bay each year.
Westernport is still little known by many on the Mornington Peninsula and most people in Melbourne. However, there is a growing awareness that there is a tranquil, natural marine sanctuary, teeming with life, close to the fringes of the rapidly expanding city of Melbourne. As Melbourne continues to grow larger, more crowded and more hectic, a dedication to preserving clean and quiet natural areas such as Westernport become more important; a precious heritage for all our children.