#savewesternport stands with #schoolstrike4climate

https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/buildourfuture

Save Westernport supports everyone doing at-home protests against gas development on this Global Day of Action against Gas.
Many people on the Mornington Peninsula are running online or private events, joining Hundreds of Thousands of people protesting about the gas threat here in Australia.

Check out the local events for this global day of action here
https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/buildourfuture

Today the @schoolstrikeforclimate are calling us to flood the PM @scottmorrisonmp on social media —twitter, Facebook, Instagram, tiktok, and with phonecalls (02)6277 7700 to tell him we demand a safe, clean funded future, not a gas lead recovery.

Let’s call the PM to tell him that gas is no ‘transition fuel’. It’s just as dangerous and inefficient to burn as coal, and every dollar spent on it is a dollar taken from the Renewable Energy solutions needed to power our future.

Thank you @sachaguggenheimer #fundourfuturenotgas @schoolstrikeforclimate rallies are being held around Australia . @scottmorrisonmp

Sacha: ecosystem collapse will destroy far more than just our economy. We’ll look back on Coronavirus and think, what a walk in the park compared to the devastation brought on us by #climatechange

Link in my bio to the online @schoolstrikeforclimate wrap up rally at 6pm EST. We’re in a pandemic, so this Day of Action won’t have us gathering in huge numbers, but each of us will be taking action, however and wherever we can.

“Our demands are no public funds for gas and other damaging fossil fuel projects. Instead, recovery funds should be spent on.

1. Resourcing aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country.

2. The creation of jobs that fast-track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover.

3. Projects that transition our economy and communities to 100% renewable energy by 2030x through expanded public ownership”.

💪🌎 @savewesternport

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/17/scott-morrisons-gas-led-recovery-what-is-it-and-will-it-really-make-energy-cheaper

EES Directions Hearing Begins

EES Directions Hearing Begins

The Directions Hearing for the Environment Effects Statement on AGL’s gas import proposal was held on September 17.

For the first time an EES Hearing will be live-streamed via video link due to COVID restrictions.

The Hearings will be chaired by Kathy Mitchell, Chief member of the five-member Inquiry Advisory Committee Panel. The Panel was appointed by the Victorian Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne to oversee the EES Hearings and advise him of their findings at its conclusion.

Ms Mitchell was clear and direct, explaining the purpose of the Directions Hearing, and laying out the schedule. The Panel Hearings will review the Environment Effects Statement that AGL prepared, and the thousands of submissions that the public has written in response. 

The IAC Hearings will begin October 12continuing every day except Fridays and weekends until mid December. The Panel will break for Christmas and return their finding sometime in mid-February 

The Hearings will be live streamed, and recordings made available the following day along with other information on the EngageVic IAC website here

At the Directions Hearing, each of the Panel members introduced themselves, followed by the legal teams for the represented parties. These were:

– The local Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

– Cardinia Shire Council 

– Key community and environmental groups Save Westernport, Environment Victoria and Victoria National Parks Association, (VNPA) represented by Environmental Justice Australia (EJA)

– the Proponents AGL, and pipeline company APA

– the Port of Hastings Development Authority

– the EPA 

An article about the Directions Hearing appeared in the Australian Financial Review the following day. 

Probably the two most important aspects of the Directions Hearing were. 

1. Legal Counsel for Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (MPSC) requested the Hearings to be adjourned on the grounds that expert witnesses have not been able to conduct necessary site inspections due to current Stage 4 Lockdown restrictions.

They argued that it would be procedurally unfair to require expert witnesses for the Council and other groups to give evidence on subjects including visual amenity, marine impacts, coastal flora and fauna, traffic and more, without the benefit of visiting the various locations that would be affected by AGL’s project.

The IAC Panel seemed reluctant to allow any change to the Hearing schedule, but gave no reason for the rushed agenda.

In May this year AGL CEO Brett Redman claimed in The AGE that the EES process should be ‘fast-tracked’.

There is concern that this might have influenced Minister Wynne’s decision to proceed with the EES in the midst of the difficulties of COVID-19, and escalating lockdown restrictions.

The Minister for Planning refused to be swayed by appeals from Save Westernport, from the Mornington Peninsula Mayor, local Member for Flinders Greg Hunt MP, and hundreds of members of the community, asking him to consider how the limitations of the pandemic would compromise people’s ability to write submissions and participate in the Public Hearings if the EES were allowed to proceed with COVID restrictions still in effect.

This will be the first time an EES Hearing has ever had to operate remotely, and just as when our submissions were written, AGL could benefit from the considerable challenges of COVID-19.

Witnesses for AGL have been able to visit the area for the past two years without restrictions, but our experts may not even have the chance to see the proposed locations before their evidence will be required at the Hearing. 
Groups including Save Westernport will have difficulty  advising their legal teams when neither can be present at the Hearings.  

In response to the request for an adjournment, the IAC Chair asked whether the local Council could simply issue permits to allow expert witnesses to visit the proposed locations. Panel members we’re issued with permits to visit the area last week.

In his response the Shire’s legal Counsel referred to the State government’s list of exemptions to COVID restrictions, pointing out that it does not allow for witnesses.

The Panel Chair stated that twice during their recent visit to the area, the Members’ vehicle was stopped by local police patrols to check their permits and ask where the group was going.

According to Ms Mitchell, unless permits for site visits can be arranged, we may have to accept that our expert witnesses will have to give evidence without the benefit of ever viewing the areas they’re required to report on.

Nevertheless, expert witnesses will play an important role, challenging AGL and the information they provided in their EES reports during the Hearings.

You can help us meet to costs of providing expert witnesses by DONATING to Save Westernport’s Fundraising campaign here. Expert witnesses will test AGL’s claims, and present detailed evidence on key subjects at the Hearings.

 

2. The second point of interest resulting from the Directions Hearing was Panel Chair Kathy Mitchell’s announcement that the IAC overseeing the Hearings and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council have each issued AGL and APA with requests for further information that was not available in their EES reports.

Among the many tabled documents on the IAC website, are the extensive lists of further information that the proponents must supply.

These requests confirm what we discovered when AGL’s EES reports became available: they lack important detail and rely on flawed modelling, questionable data and incorrect assumptions.

The lists of extra information required by the IAC Panel and Mornington Peninsula Shite Council  are extensive and include requests for details of tidal and weather conditions that should’ve been provided with the original field work in the original EES reports and pipeline application.

Data on greenhouse gas emissions, on the handling of chlorine and formaldehyde, management of contamination by potential acid sulphate soil (PASS), management of increased truck traffic, the inadequacy of mitigation strategies and disposal of the oily sludge produced during regasification are further examples of the kind of extra information that is sought.

Other examples were listed in an article in the Financial Review this week.

AGL needed two years to prepare their EES reports. They now have until September 25 to provide all the requested information.

Counsel for the proponent AGL, Mr Townsend attempted to make light of the requests, claiming that additional information is routinely requested at this stage. However, if these details were available to AGL, surely they would have included it in their original EES it was released.

A recording of the Directions Hearing, and thousands of submissions from the public have been made available on the IAC Planning Panels website here

https://engage.vic.gov.au/crib-point-IAC

Panel Chair, Ms Mitchell provided this list of the main themes emerging in the public submissions so far. 

Members of the public who made submissions on the EES will be able to address the Panel at the Public Hearings. Whether people initially requested to speak for one hour or one minute, the large numbers of people wanting to address the Panel has made it necessary for spoken submissions from the public to be limited to just 8 minutes each.

This stage of the Hearings probably won’t commence until about mid November, and everyone who applied to speak will address the Panel via Zoom video link.

The IAC is accepting suggestions for sites that the Panel should visit until Friday September 25. Suggested sites should be marked up using this map book 

For more information contact Andrea Harwood or Georgia Thomas of Planning Panels Victoria (03) 8392 5116

cribpoint.IAC@delwp.vic.gov.au.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has suggested sites on French Island, Woolleys Beach and Warringine Park for members of the Panel to visit.

Warringine Park, between Crib Point and Hastings lies within the Westernport Ramsar site. The Park is considered significant to the survival of critically endangered migratory bird species, including the Far Eastern Curlew and the Fairy Tern. 

If the project ever went ahead, Warringine Park would be severely impacted by the construction of a new gas pipeline that would bisect its fragile wetlands.

A Virtual Tour of Warringine Park is available here

Bass Coast Council has also suggested several a locations on Phillip Island.

If AGL proceeded with their deeply unpopular plans, upper estimates of 40 LNG tankers per year would increase commercial shipping traffic in Westernport by as much as 40% for the next twenty years.

The ever-present spectre of AGL’s proposed floating gas factory at Crib Point, the visiting LNG tankers, dredging (‘levelling’) and diesel-belching tug boats, would permanently change the character of Westernport, altering its horizon from nearly every vista and vantage point around the Bay.

This and other disastrous impacts and safety concerns are explained Save Westernport’s submission against the AGL proposal and EES. Read it here.

Despite the limitations and difficulties of COVID, we should congratulate ourselves that a total of 6,059 submissions have officially been received in opposition to the AGL proposal.

These public submissions can be viewed here on the IAC website.

A controversial decision by Planning Panels Victoria has resulted in thousands of submissions not being included in the official tally.

The decision not to include several thousand submissions because they were lodged using an alternative government email address, has been disappointing. 
Understandably, people have been angered and confused, particularly because we know that the submissions were received before the deadline.

Though they won’t be counted as individual submissions, Planning Panels Victoria has said that they WILL be reviewed and the information they contain will be taken into account. 

The official total is still many times greater than numbers usually received for EES projects in Victoria, which indicates the extent of community interest, concern and overwhelming opposition to AGL’s plans.

Remember, Save Westernport is still raising urgently needed funds to take on AGL at the Panel Hearings on October 12.


Save Westernport will be represented by Environmental Justice Australia, but we are still short of our target to provide legal Counsel, and engage expert witnesses to challenge the technical and ecological information contained in AGL’s EES reports. 

The average cost of an expert witness to provide a report and undergo cross examination by AGL’s barristers is over $5,000 each.

You can help by donating towards the costs of our expert witnesses and legal representation. Our barristers will be required to attend up to ten weeks of Hearings, and will be appearing at a greatly reduced rate. 

If you’re able to help us challenge AGL, and ensure that the community is represented at the EES Hearings, 

PLEASE MAKE A DONATION TODAY.

We are determined to demonstrate how inappropriate and unnecessary AGL’s Gas import plans in Westernport really are.

 

 

Coming Up

Did you know the AGL corporation will be holding their Annual General Meeting , AGM, on October 7 2020. ?

In previous years, members and supporters of Save Westernport have attended the AGM in order to ask awkward questions of the AGL Board in the presence of their shareholders.

The AGM is as an important opportunity to raise our concerns with shareholders and board members, about the lack of Social License and absence of community approval for the Crib Point proposal.

The hypocrisy of the AGL corporation’s widespread misrepresentation  of their image as a responsible, innovative company is legendary. 
Despite giving lipservice to energy innovation and admirable sounding Sustainability Policies, the truth is ofcourse,  in practice AGL is exactly opposite, and we aim to challenge them on this whenever we can.

AGL wants to prolong the country’s hopeless dependence on gas, because it provides them with such enormous profits. They do this by postponing the inevitable uptake of sustainable energy solutions by promoting new fossil fuels projects like Crib Point..

It’s likely that sustainable energy solutions would far more advanced, and could be ready to roll out now if not for AGL spending several years and hundreds of millions of dollars attempting to gain approval for their dangerous, inappropriate, irresponsible and out dated gas proposal at Crib Point. 

But companies like AGL are under increasing pressure from their own shareholders and insurers to get with the times and do what is required by the Climate emergency.

The emphasis they put on renewables in their own advertising demonstrates the unmistakable awareness from within the highest levels of their strategic planning departments.

They know exactly their shareholders realise gas is no transition fuel, and that they expect more. They want responsible action on climate, and meaningful investment in sustainable projects, rather than having just a symbolic commitment that manifests only in their ‘greenwashing’ and advertising.

This year the AGL AGM will be streamed online, due to current COVID restrictions.

Only shareholders are eligible to attend their AGM.
However if you or someone you know holds AGL shares, and would consider allowing your shareholder status to be used by someone wanting to ask a question at the AGM, it is your right to allow a proxy shareholder to attend the AGM on your behalf.

This is a legitimate and frequently used way to affect change in the corporate realm, used to great effect by groups like Sea Shepard, Market Forces and Friends of the Earth.

If you’d like to know more, please contact Save Westernport at  secretary@savewesternport.org

Save  Westernport and Environment Victoria are planning an Action  to protest online and send our message to Boardmembers, shareholders and the media, that this community will NEVER accept AGL’s plans to import fossil fuels in Westernport. 

We know we have the support of our local Mornington Peninsula Shire Council , and Bass Coast Council, who have each declared a Climate Emergency, and have voted to oppose AGL in Westernport.

In February 2020, the Bass Coast Shire Council Announced:

1. Council declares its strong opposition to the development of fossil fuel assets on Western Port and in particular, opposition to the AGL’s proposed Gas Import Jetty project for Crib Point.

2. That Council will write to the Premier advising him that:

2.1 Council has declared a climate emergency and is currently developing a comprehensive Climate Emergency Action Plan pursuing a community target of zero net emissions by 2030.

2.2. Council strongly opposes further fossil fuel developments in Victoria and is opposed to the further industrialisation of Western Port to transport them.

Watch this space for regular updates and details of our AGM plans. 

 

 

 

Emphatic NO! to Gas Plan

Emphatic NO! to Gas Plan

 

Last week the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council ran a poll on their website that asked—

“Do you support AGL’s proposal for a gas import jetty and pipeline in Westernport Bay?”

More than two thousand people responded, with an overwhelming 93.6% answering NO –  a clear sign of the community’s emphatic rejection of controversial plans by gas giant AGL to import and process LNG near Crib Point for the next twenty years.
Read about it in this week’s Mornington Peninsula News

The decisive result was no surprise. Ever since AGL named the coastal village of Crib Point as their ‘preferred location’ to process gas, members of Save Westernport have been expressing the extent of local opposition to the company’s CEO and Boardmembers.

AGL seriously misrepresented the suitability of the proposed site, telling the government they could “make use of existing infrastructure”, when the project would require the construction of a 60km pipeline.

It’s now widely recognised that Westernport’s internationally recognised wetlands and unique marine ecology are entirely incompatible with the heavy industry of its past. 

What’s more— Westernport’s mangroves and Coastal Saltmarsh ecosystems are directly threatened by our dependence on fossil gas.
AGL must not be permitted to profit from perpetuating the misguided practices of a bygone era.

Save Westernport believes the company’s shareholders expect a great deal more from AGL, and we plan to make this clear to the members of the Board at their AGM later this month.

Forcing a project that has been overwhelmingly rejected by this community and its Shire Council would imperil the company, exposing AGL to the enormous risk of further degrading its tenuous reputation.

Read the recent article in the Mornington Peninsula News

Here.

Remember :

Save Westernport is urgently raising funds to engage expert witnesses to represent Westernport and challenge AGL at the Environment Effects Statement Panel Hearings next month.

We will be taking on the vested interests and limitless resources of the AGL corporation. The cost of providing marine and other experts, and legal representation—even by the good people at Environmental Justice Australia—are enormous.

But this is our one chance to make it clear to the Planning Panel: we want to see Westernport protected and valued as the priceless treasure that it is.

Please make a donation and help us make sure AGL’s irresponsible plans in Westernport are NOT APPROVED ! However big or small, if we pool the resources of our wonderful community, we can do this.

Contact secretary@savewesternport.org

 

‘Emphatic no’ to gas plan

Solastalgia by Jan Parker

Solastalgia by Jan Parker

Westernport Bay is a beautiful, wise, unsung quiet achiever; gentle beach coves, surf beaches, nature walking trails, unparalleled bird watching, unique coastal scrub and freshwater lakes.
Westernport Bay has a natural integrity that is precious and irreplaceable. That is evident in its listing as an internationally recognised, significant Ramsar Wetland site since 1982. It is well known as one of the three most important areas for migratory shorebirds in south-east Australia.
The Bay was also declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2002 (one of only nine in Australia).

I have been a visitor to many parts of the bay consistently over the past 20 years. To walk, observe, regenerate and to take photographs for my art practice. When I alight on any part of Westernport’s shores, she is instantly recognisable as being a very important and unique natural environment with a great deal to offer. The bay’s wetland areas are so fascinating to me. I particularly love mangroves and am so in awe of their quiet strength in stabilising coastal systems, nutrient cycling and the wildlife habitat they provide.

I gain much inspiration from their resilience and subtle complexities.

Westernport Bay is an understated beauty, a jewel in Victoria’s crown, a surviving example of other precious environments that are now just a memory…. a memory of ones that heavy industry has smashed down before for short term financial gains.

My love is for the mud, marshy swampland that is hard to traverse, tangled roots of mangrove, seagrass meadows and saltmarshes. It doesn’t seem like much is going on there………but underneath the water, inside the mud and marsh, skittering along the shoreline around the mangrove roots and in the scrubby trees is a complex, fragile, incredibly rich diversity of fauna, flora and marine life, the likes of which are not seen anywhere else in the world.

It is a bay with extraordinary, ecological values. The wetland flora diversity creates the food chains that sustain marine life and provide food for the 36 species of migratory shorebirds that land there for a sustained time every single year coming from within the Arctic Circle. It provides for thousands of local avian lives every day.

It is very quiet there, lapping water a constant companion, major tidal swings always bringing a different view and places to explore. It is a place for meandering, observing, sitting, contemplating, regenerating and somewhere just to be with an unsung hero…nature.

As I said, Westernport Bay is a quiet achiever.

AGL I believe you are being dishonest with Australians. Claiming that Victoria needs a gas terminal in Westernport Bay for its domestic needs and not owning up to the facts that the huge sell off in 2015 to GLNG and then selling your entire free gas portfolio to the LNG plants as the real reason for the shortfall.

That the plant will drive gas prices down is blatantly untrue. The LNG will be imported at raised international prices. AGL, you are a gas company, how could you not have been acutely aware of the decline in Bass Strait and stepped up sooner in moving to renewables?

AGL you do not have social approval to go ahead with this project. There is overwhelming community protest.

AGL your risk assessments merely contain regurgitated publicly known facts but contain no real, scientific investigations into the specific impacts of the plant on Westernport Bays environment.

AGL if you go ahead with your proposed re-gasification plant and the subsequent, inevitable and irreversible major degradation of the fragile ecosystems of Westernport Bay you will be responsible for creating a cultural malaise amongst the millions of local and visiting people who love unique Westernport Bay for what she is, a rare opportunity to experience a sense of wilderness less than 2 hours from Melbourne.

My message to our politicians is, ‘How could you even consider agreeing to the senseless pollution and despoiling of such a precious environment and be prepared to lose Victoria’s premier tourism destination worth billions of dollars?’

Personally, I will feel an incredible environmental grief if this Bay is pulled asunder by AGL’s dirty gas plan.

Will there never be an end to our desecration of nature?

Save our Westernport Bay ~ by Ingrid Tadich

Save our Westernport Bay ~ by Ingrid Tadich

I relocated from Sandringham to Somers 5 years ago, attracted by the unique environment and unspoilt beauty of Westernport Bay, recognised by Ramsar as a Wetland of international importance. I have learned that this unique and fragile place is also a beautiful sanctuary for people, sea mammals, such as whales, furs seals and dolphins and migratory and local birds.

My family delight in their stays at their Somers home, to enjoy the wildness of the foreshore, the swims, the play in the sand dunes, the discovery of the preciousness of nature and the natural environment as well as the changes seasons bring to it. What a wonderful grounding for my grandchildren, time out to explore, wonder and just be and learn to appreciate and respect the natural world.

My daily walks on the foreshore are a blessing, the water’s clean, the coast line ever changing with our strong tidal systems that wash up large varieties of usually hidden treasures such as seaweeds, sponges, crustaceans, jellyfish, shark eggs and mangrove seed pods, providing a peak at what’s below the surface.

A rich diversity of life.

I’m also fascinated by the variety of birds that live on the bay or around her shores. In the summer of 2018, migratory swans found refuge in our bay for a week or so, one morning on my walk I noticed that only a solo swan was left. It appeared to have a damaged wing, a very sad sight to see and was the subject of much community concern. Fresh water was left out for the bird and on my daily walk I was relieved every day to see that it had survived the night. The swan stayed through the autumn and the winter and in the Spring we were all delighted to see another swan had arrived with two signets, they stayed together for a few days and then flew away. A family reunion? Maybe, I like to think so. It was the cause of much celebration.

Walking to Sandy Point is a sheer joy, the beauty of the bleached banksia trunks that have been uprooted from their sand dunes by the wild storms and now lay silvered by sun and sea water. The clear waters in their aqua’s and blues revealing small fish darting from our shadows or those caste by a hunting bird. The walk reveals a changing landscape and the high tidal changes can make this an exciting adventure for those caught unaware. It is when reaching beautiful and historic Sandy Point that you can truly appreciate the beauty of Westerport Bay as the separation between Philip Island and French Island is seen for the first time revealing the grandeur of her waters.

I learned to kayak in Westernport Bay motivated by the proximity of our resident dolphins . To watch them hunt and play and to witness their curiosity as they swim among people, play with dogs and come up to yachts and small boats. I’ve had the privilege of having a proud mother swim right up to my kayak with her young pup trustingly almost placing her head on my bow, as if to say look at the wonder I’ve created. Unforgettable. Westernport Bay is also a refuge for migratory whales with Southern Right Whales, Humpbacks and Killer Whales being regular visitors.

The AGL proposal threatens the pristine environment of Westernport Bay. They plan to draw water from the bay to thaw their frozen gas. In this process our sea water is chlorinated to destroy all living things and cooled by another 7 degrees celsius before being dumped back into the bay. Imagine the impact of 468 million litres of cooled chlorinated water being dumped in the bay everyday. How can this not have impact? How can it not destroy a beautifully balanced eco system?

This totally goes against our commitment as a signatory to the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands of International Importance to protect Westernport Bay.

To add insult to injury AGL could install a closed system to recycle the chlorinated waters, without dumping them in the bay. They have so little respect for the environment that they are unwilling to do so, due to the cost. A much greater cost would be the denigration of these wetlands for the future generations of living things.

AGL’s project has a 20 year lifespan before it changes to renewables.
Is 20 years delay really worth the destruction of our beautiful Bay?
Renewables are available now, they are efficient, effective and cheaper than the price we pay for our current forms. A much greater cost is to enable short term greed to delay the use of renewable energy to provide cater for our energy needs. Gas is toxic, its destructive and it’s ultimately far too costly .

Wetlands are amazing places and are among the most biodiverse eco systems in the world. Research suggests that they can also capture and store large amounts of carbon lessening the impact of climate change. Shouldn’t we be protecting this unique and irreplaceable wetland on Melbourne’s doorstep for future generations?

Not only for our people to witness and enjoy, but also or for the survival of the huge variety of species in their own right.

Is it not our sacred duty to do so?

Say no to AGL!

 

Brian Thomas’ story

Brian Thomas’ story

My first memory of Western Port was driving down Stony Point Road to the jetty and there on the mudflats was a small group of Yellow–billed Spoonbills. This was sometime around 1978 or 79 and as a newcomer to Australia the sight of spoonbills just milling around near the shore was terribly exotic and etched itself into my memory. I had no idea at the time of course that I would return to live and work within cooee of this endlessly fascinating bay.

I was on my way to French Island with a friend and this was also my first introduction –albeit brief – to that amazing island. Years later, I was to take part in catching koalas on French Island for relocation to the mainland and this took me to parts of the island seldom seen except by residents and rangers. The beautiful heathland in flower in spring time and wildflowers and orchids springing up on the fire breaks were memorable moments.

Visiting with the Peninsula Birdwatchers in the 1980s we were led by the indefatigable Des Quinn, striding over the countryside, on his long legs, dragging a weary group of birdwatchers in his wake. He showed us some wonderful birdlife – Cape Barren Geese in the paddocks, Swamp Harriers drifting low over the mashes and Sea Eagles soaring high overhead. It was all a wonderful introduction to the very special wildness of Western Port.

My interest in birds has drawn me into several surveys – some one-offs and others with a bit more longevity. One of my first was a banding trip with the Victorian Wader study Group. This group has done incredibly valuable work in the study of migratory and resident shore birds by fitting identification bands on the legs of birds to track their movements and in recent years with advanced technology, by fitting geo-locators to birds to do the same. Some of the results have been mind boggling with birds flying up to 10,000 km non-stop on their migratory journey! On this occasion, though the gods were against us and we were unable to catch any birds, however what sticks in my mind was the bay itself as we walked back along the shoreline. The sea was perfectly still – like the proverbial millpond – and in the setting sun, the reflections of the mangroves and the lines of colour on the water and in the sky was a sight that Turner could have painted.

Another banding expedition I took part in was catching Pied Oystercatchers. The Oystercatchers are one of the few shorebirds whose population is doing OK. French Island is important for these ground-nesting birds because of its remote beaches (with few people) and the absence of foxes. What I remember best about this outing was laying behind the scrub covered fore-dune and watching the sandpipers, stints and godwits slowly making their way towards us as the tide rose and covered their feeding grounds and drove them quietly towards us.

I also took part in a bird survey which was related to a port development proposal of some sort (I forget exactly which one, but there always seems to be someone who wants to “develop” Western Port and we always seem to have to repeatedly supply information as to why they shouldn’t). Anyway, this was Western Port in a different mood. Part of the survey was done from a boat (the part that I was participating in) and the weather was wet and windy but we managed to complete the survey (one of several) despite the conditions.

I also had the opportunity through my work learn a bit about a habitat that although I was familiar with on a superficial level I soon discovered that I knew little about the actual plants and animal that lived there. For a couple of years I coordinated an intertidal survey called Reef Watch at Mushroom Reef, Flinders. This involved surveying and recording the sea life within quadrants (metre squares) placed on the reef. To do this the surveys had to be timed for low tide and it was always a worry that I’d get the times wrong and the team would turn up to a submerged reef. Fortunately this never happened but there was one occasion when we had to beat a hasty retreat as the tide started to fill up the neck of the reef (our way back to shore) and we had to splash through the rising tide.

What I did get from this work though – thanks to the very knowledgeable volunteers who had been doing this for years – was an appreciation of just how varied the life is in this inhospitable zone and of course one couldn’t help notice the birds that use this zone too; the Sooty Oystercatchers and Turnstones on the rocks (one of these Turnstones wearing the aforementioned geolocator was tracked flying 4000 km non-stop on its migration), Red-necked Stints following the tide in and out on the sandy beach and Double-banded Dotterel amongst the sea weed, this New Zealand shore bird breeds in NZ and is the only east-west migrating shorebird in the world.

At present apart from enjoying the bay on a casual basis I take part in two bird surveys: the Orange –bellied Parrot Survey – a search for what is probably our rarest parrot (to date we haven’t seen one but we live in hope and there are always other interesting birds about) and the Western Port Bird Survey – possibly the longest running bird survey in Australia. The Western Port Survey is always interesting, especially if you have the luck to survey some of the more remote corners of the bay. The birdlife is astounding; Red-necked Avocets with their impossibly thin, delicate, upturned bills, yapping Black winged Stilts on their ridiculously long pink legs, flocking migratory birds in their hundreds, flotillas of hundreds of ducks, Caspian Terns with their long red bills, Gull-billed Terns with their neat black caps and so much more.

It’s an avian wonderland worthy of a David Attenborough documentary here on our door step, or if not exactly our door step at least a short walk down the garden path.

 

Save Westernport Submission against AGL’s Environment Effects Statement Lodged

Save Westernport Submission against AGL’s Environment Effects Statement Lodged

:

Save Westernport’s  Submission against AGL’s Environment Effects Statement has been lodged with EngageVic.

Our submission can now be viewed here

You can DONATE to support us at the EES Hearings against AGL 


Many Thanks to everyone who collaborated to produce this wonderful work, and to Chris and Jane from Save Westernport for bringing together the many contributions.

Thanks also to Victor and all Save Westernport’s campaign partners at Environment Victoria- EV, Westernport Peninsula Protection Council- WPPC, Phillip Island Conservation Council- PICS, and Victorian National Parks Association- VNPA, and to all our wonderful friends.

I am so encouraged by what we were able to achieve in just 40 days, under extremely difficult lockdown conditions. 

The next stage of the EES will be the Panel Hearings beginning on October 12.

Those of you who indicated in their submissions that they’d like to address the Panel directly will have the opportunity to do this via video link at the Hearings. 
Planning for the Panel Hearings will begin soon.

Remember, these Hearings will require us to go up against Energy giant AGL—to take on the limitless resources of a corporation with past convictions for ‘deceptive and misleading conduct’. 

But we have yet to reach our fundraising target.
Funds are urgently needed to secure the best legal support and expert witnesses to ensure 
the interests of our community are represented at the Hearings.
This will be essential to challenge AGL’s exploitative plans.

To contribute to this monumental effort, please consider…‘What Does Westernport Mean to Me..?.’

and PLEASE Donate Here.

By pooling our resources, however large or small, we can make sure those without a voice  are heard.

Donate Now to the No AGL Campaign

And let’s do this!!

Julia Stöckigt,

Secretary Save Westernport 

 

 

Still Time to Make a Submission

Still Time to Make a Submission

Making a Submission before September 1 is the best way to STOP AGL.
It’s our chance to have a say and stop the exploitation of our precious natural world.

You can write you own submission on the EngageVic website here 

OR

Write a ‘fast and furious’ submission  using Environment Victoria’s   Survey-to-Submission tool 

 

1.) To write your ‘fast and furious’ Environment Victoria submission follow the steps below:

Yesterday the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) decided that each submission must go through their site, so they have put another step in place:

1. Go to this link: https://environmentvictoria.org.au/build-submission

2.Fill out the survey and amend if necessary, then submit
Due to DELWP’s new requirement that all submissions must go through their EngageVic website, Environment Victoria will then email your submission back to you.

3. Once you have received your submission from EV go to the DEWLP site:
engage.vic.gov.au/crib-point-IAC  click on: Make your submission.

4. Answer their questions then copy and paste your submission into to the “Add your submission” box

Job done. (Thanks Rod Knowles)

2) If you can write your own, more detailed submission and/or would like to attend the Panel Hearings in person to have your voice heard, make sure you tick the box when submitting here:

3) Check out Environment Victoria’s tips on How to Make a Deadly Submission against AGL  here 

4) Last week Mornington Peninsula Shire Council voted unanimously to oppose AGL’s dangerous, unnecessary plans.
Council’s Submission against AGL is now online here.
You might find it helpful when writing your own submission.


They suggest writing about whatever point/s  you decide to make, whether that’s Marine Life, Safety, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Birds, etc using the words of the ‘Evaluation Objectives’.

The EVALUATION OBJECTIVES  are in the blue box at the start of each section of the Council’s submission..
Please feel free to copy and paste text from their online Submission, but to give it more value, they advise adding some of your own perspective and words.
MPSCouncil’s submission starts on page 4  here.

We’ve heard the number of Submissions AGAINST AGL that Minister Wynne and the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) have already received has Blown the previous record right out of the water !

Let’s keep going, and really send the message home—
There’ll be NO AGL IN WESTERNPORT !

Some EES report findings ~

Some EES report findings ~

Please note that in the above mock-up from AGL’s EES report, I found out that the United tanker shown on the left is 180.01 meters long, whereas AGL have told us that the FSRU is 290 metres long.  Is this an accurate depiction of what this picture would look like if the FSRU was moored there? Answers on a post card please…I’d laugh it wasn’t such a lie!! Candy

Admission of guilt by AGL in their EES

from Rod Knowles
(highlighting is his)

5.3 Questioning of AGL’s safety record

AGL EES Community Consultation Attachment V

 7.5.3 Questioning of AGL’s Safety Record

Concern about the proposed Project

safety processes, given previous AGL

incidents.

“Thanks for the effort… but I am not

reassured, given AGL’s safety history.”

(Hastings community session,

August 2019)

AGL understands the community concern about past behaviour. We need to do better. All the breaches and fines referenced are publicly available and as a major ASX listed company AGL’s conduct is rightly subject to high levels of regulator, shareholder, customer and media scrutiny.

 

The breaches and the resulting fines are evidence that AGL is closely monitored, and action is taken by both regulators and AGL to address past failures. AGL is made accountable for our actions and often take further action to ensure these types of issues don’t happen again.

In relation to the Project, AGL is not expecting the community to trust us and we recognise the community can’t simply take our word that safety and environmental risks will be well managed.

 

The purpose of the EES process is to independently assess if these risks can be addressed before the project is approved by the state government and many other regulators.

In addition to the EES, AGL will be subject to oversight by numerous regulators and government agencies, including:

  • Environment Protection Authority Victoria
  • Transport Safety Victoria
  • Marine Safety Victoria
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority
  • Office of Transport Safety (Commonwealth)
  • Energy Safety Victoria
  • WorkSafe Victoria
  • Harbour Master
  • Victorian Regional Channels Authority
  • Port of Hastings Development Authority

The project also must adhere to several legislative requirements, including:

  • Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(EPBC) 
  • Environment Effects Act 1978
  • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988
  • Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act)
  • Victorian Advisory Lists
  • Planning and Environment Act 1987
  • Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme
  • Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (DELWP 2017a)

The local community also play an important role to ensure AGL is accountable to the highest safety standards.

~ Rod Knowles

——————————————————————–

AGL’s schematic drawings of the proposed LNG Receiving Facility at Woolleys Beach Crib Point

 In their EES reports, AGL suggests relocating our picnic area at Woolleys Beach to accomodate their gas factory, but acknowledge that no suitable alternative location exists fail to present any alternative location.

This news, and these pictures appeared for the first time in their EES document, and were not disclosed in over two years of ‘community consultation sessions’.
Plans outlining the extent of the proposed changes at Woolley’s Beach reveal the great loss to locals and visitors if AGL is permitted to permanently close public access to Woolleys beach and the foreshore reserve.

The ‘mock-ups’ used by AGL in their EES are not accurate or to scale. AGL’s reports refer to a place called ‘Woolleys Beach North’, that is not known by that name locally. No information is given about the whereabouts of such a place.

Map references and boundaries shown in the Visual Amenity Report vary from those in the Pipeline Application and other reports. No attempt appears to have been made to reconcile that information between the various documents, which makes assessing the changes difficult, if not impossible.

If AGL proceeds with this ill advised project, Woolleys Beach picnic zone, that is perhaps the only shaded, beachfront BBQ area with shell chair access between Flinders and Tooradin would be permanently lost to the public.

It seems inconceivable that a private corporation could co-opt a public amenity, making it unusable due to the continual noise and industrial lighting light from the engines of their their gas import jetty

If you were a dolphin would you be ok with that? As a local, are you ok with your beach amenity turning into AGL’s gas import jetty?

Please make a submission before 1st Sept 11:59pm. Even just your heart-felt opposition to this monstrous proposal will make a difference.
If you want help go to: https://environmentvictoria.org.au/how-to-write-a-submission-opposing-agls-gas-import-terminal/

and checkout the tips here

AGL’s photos and of the proposed FSRU are particularly misleading. If you know a draughtsperson who could prepare an accurately scaled diagram for us, based on the actual measurements of the FSRU and the Crib Point Jetty, we’d be extremely grateful.
We need it to be based on the actual measurements so that it could be used as part of our submission to the Minister.

There’s no question that an accurate depiction would demonstrate-
1. How oppressive the proposed plant and vessel would be in that quiet coastal location.

2. How deceptive AGL’s own representations have been throughout all their “consultation sessions”, and continue to be even now, in the EES.

AGL has continually underestimated and downplayed the size, noise, danger, and threat of every single one of the many impacts of their operations on our community, on the area’s environment, its amenity, safety and economy.

Now AGL’s plans to apply to have Woolleys Beach Foreshore Reserve REZONED FOR PORT RELATED USE have only now been discovered because community members have been spending countless hours—days even—to read the detail contained in the EES reports .

It makes a joke of AGL and the claims made at local public meetings “as a company we haven’t always got it right but for this project we are trying to be as open and transparent with the community around the issues and to engage with you because we are not standing here asking you to trust us we are standing here to ask you to hold us accountable”

Candy vR 

Mark Seymour shows his support for Westernport

Mark Seymour shows his support for Westernport

AGL’s claim that Australia is running out of gas is a lie.

Australia has plenty. It’s extraction has been poorly managed and sold cheaply overseas with little direct benefit to the Australian Tax payer.

Right now the Morrison government is planning a complete structural overhaul of local gas extraction in this country and love it or hate it, if it’s plans go ahead the AGL plant will be rendered superfluous because it depends on imported gas.

There is no valid industrial or economic argument to justify building this monstrous plant in Westernport.

Make no mistake, AGL is running out of time.

If you’re a voter and a tax payer and you live on the Mornington Peninsula..

Now is the time to get angry and loud.

The proposed AGL gas plant will be an environmental disgrace and a permanent stain on the reputation of any government that allows it to go ahead..

The AGL gas plant can be stopped

GO HARD NOW!

M Seymour