Jean and Rod Knowles’ Story

Four years ago my husband and I decided on a sea change so we retired to the seaside village of Crib Point, to enjoy the great fishing that Westernport Bay offers and the serene and tranquil bush environment.

We had no idea that instead, we’d be battling a massive energy company to stop our new home and town from being destroyed.

The nearby Bay is alive with marine life including the magical Weedy Sea Dragon, the Great Southern Calamari and the beautiful King George Whiting. Dolphins and Whales also visit the waters of Westernport Bay Stony Point and Crib Point. All kinds of fish, as mentioned above, are attracted to the food that flows from the prolific sea grasses that grow in the Bay and its special mangrove ecosystem.

At low tide, the precious wetland banks are exposed allowing wading birds access to all sorts of sea creatures. It is for this reason that Westernport Bay is recognised under the international Ramsar Convention agreement as part of a world-wide corridor for migratory birds and by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a special biosphere to be protected at all costs,.

There is a beautiful walk adjacent to the Bay that runs from Hastings to Stony Point (about 6 klm) consisting of a boardwalk and bushwalk. As you walk you can see the migratory birds feeding on the mud flats (like the Eastern Curlew). Also along the track we come across our lovely native birds like swans, parrots, parakeets, as well as black and white cockatoos there are also wallabies.

In the middle of this special 6k walking track is the Crib Point jetty. That’s where AGL are planning to moor what they call their Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU), but we call it “a dirty, dangerous floating gas factory”. It will be 290 metres long and 17 stories high. 

The plan is to use it as a mother ship where up to 40 Liquid Natural Gas tankers will offload their fossil fuel every year. The liquid gas will be processed by drawing in 480 million litres a day of water, chlorinating it to protect the ship’s pipework, and using it to warm up the LNG. The sea water would then be returned to the bay 7 degrees cooler.

Other issues that we are very concerned about are:

  • The very real danger of fire and explosion, that if it took place would decimate our Crib Point seaside village.
  • Constant noise and light pollution affecting wildlife and the community alike.
  • AGL has a past dangerous behaviour record. The company has been fined $7 millions in recent years for “deceptive, misleading and negligent” conduct. They’ve breached regulations around toxic coal ash and have allowed thousands of litres of sulphuric acid from their Bayswater power-station to flow into Tinkers Creek in NSW – the list goes on and on. We are very concerned that something like this will happen in our Bay.

 

It is very important all Victorians know what AGL is trying to do and are made aware of the uniqueness of this area. We must ensure this area is preserved for our children, grandchildren and all future generations.

 

Our action group we have setup to fight this AGL dangerous proposal is known as Save Westernport (SWP) we have joined forces with Environment Victoria (EV), who along with SWP, have become a driving force behind the campaign to stop AGL’s “dirty, dangerous gas factory” proposal.

 

EV and SWP have run 2 petitions and “Boycott AGL” Pledges collecting 17,000 signatures.  The petitions demanded the State Government make AGL carry out a full environmental effects assessment. Which they did and we successfully delayed the project from 2018 until now.

 

But AGL are still pushing ahead with their dirty project, at this point in time they have submitted to the Planning Minister a Environment Effects Statement(EES) as requested.  The Government is not expected to make AGL’s EES public until July when all of us will be able make written submissions challenging AGL’s EES, later on in the year public verbal submissions will be called for.

 

So we call on one and all to get behind SWP and EV, join SWP to financially support us, receive our email newsletters and ensure that you are kept in the link so you know what you can do to help us in this very serious campaign to save this very special area that we all live in.

 

Don’t forget our Save Westernport No AGL Gas Facebook and website   

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jean & Rod Knowles