The briefer includes essential info on the hearings, appearance dates, access links and contact details for spokespeople.
AGL is proposing to build a 290-metre floating gas import terminal at Crib Point in Westernport Bay, south-east of Melbourne. Westernport Bay is recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
It is home to vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered whales, turtles, fish and waterbirds. The terminal, known as a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU), would receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) via shipments from interstate or overseas, then convert this LNG back into gas for distribution via a new pipeline (to be built by APA) running 60 kilometres from Crib Point to Pakenham. AGL’s description of the project is at www.gasimportprojectvictoria.com.au
Two energy companies, AGL and APA, have proposed the project. In October 2018, the Victorian Minister for Planning required the companies to submit an environment effects statement (EES).
AGL took two years to create the 11,000 page EES, and the community was given 40 days to respond during a public exhibition phase from 2 July to 26 August. This coincided with stage four lockdown restrictions.
A joint Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) was appointed to consider the EES and submissions and give advice to ministers and government agencies on the project. All documents relating to the hearings, including public submissions, are at: https://engage.vic.gov.au/crib-point-IAC The hearings will be held online from Monday 12 October to 17 December.
The timetable is here.
Zoom details for the hearings:
Meeting ID: 810 4993 0543
The environmental assessment for this project has generated an unprecedented number of public submissions.
More than 4345 submissions are publicly available on the IAC website, and more than 9,000 additional individual submissions were attached to Environment Victoria’s submission.
The previous record for most submissions to a Victorian EES was the Mornington Safe Harbour project with 2018 submissions.
WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS?
Submissions opposing include federal MP Greg Hunt, several shire councils (Bass Coast, Mornington, Cardinia), recreational fishing peak bodies, tourism operators, local business owners, environment and climate groups.
All submissions can searched at https://engage.vic.gov.au/crib-point-IAC/submissions
Links to submissions from conservation and community groups: Environment Victoria Victorian National Parks Association
Save Westernport Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council (submission 3149)
Friends of French Island (submission 1140)
For a summary of concerns related to tourism, fishing and local businesses, contact Environment Victoria Media and Content Manager Greg Foyster on 0410879031 or email@example.com
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE HEARINGS?
The committee has 30 days to send a report to the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
The Minister has 30 days to respond and make his decision. The committee’s report is not public until after the Minister has decided, and the Minister has discretion to ignore the committee’s recommendations.
In the recent North-East Link EES, the Minister approved the project and dismissed key findings of the panel.
Greg Foyster, Environment Victoria, 0410879031, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Stockigt, Save Westernport, 0425 306 830,
Candy van Rood, Save Westernport, 0412494985, email@example.com
Shannon Hurley, Victorian National Parks Association, 0433 481 346, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Nottle, Phillip Island Conservation Society Inc, 0419 158 232, email@example.com
Karri Giles, Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council, 0425707448, firstname.lastname@example.org
Livia Cullen,Environmental Justice Australia, 0411108239, email@example.com
Bron Gwyther, Friends of French Island, 0422032527, firstname.lastname@example.org
Key Hearing Dates
Date Group or expert appearing 12 Oct Opening submission from AGL and APA 13 Oct
Opening submissions from Minister for Planning, Minister for Environment, EPA, councils, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Environment Victoria, Save Westernport and Victorian National Parks Association, instructed by Environmental Justice Australia 14 Oct – 6 Nov
Expert witness statements from AGL and APA covering economics, environment impacts, pipeline etc 9 Nov – 16 Nov
Mornington Shire and Bass Coast Shire with expert witnesses on greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater, marine ecology, water birds, traffic etc 17 Nov
Cardinia Council expert witness on groundwater 18 Nov
City of Casey, EPA Victoria,
Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation 19 Nov
Westernport and Peninsula Protection Council with expert witness Mary Cole on Phytophthera cinnamon, Amphiboulus Chytrid Fungus G & K O’Connor Pty Ltd with expert witness Peter Ramsey in Engineering 23 Nov Environment Victoria,
Save Westernport Inc and Victorian National Parks Association with expert witness Bruce Robertson on energy finance and Perran Cook of Monash University on environmental chemistry 24 Nov
As above with expert witness Matt Edmunds on marine ecology and ecological assessments 25 Nov As above with expert witness John Wardrop on environmental science (oil spills) and Tom Baldock of the University of Queensland on hydrodynamics 26 Nov
As above with expert witness Bonnie Rosen on social impacts and Vanessa Wong of Monash University on soil science 30 Nov
Environment Victoria, Save Westernport Inc and Victorian National Parks Association continued 1 Dec – 2 Dec
Save Westernport and Environment Victoria continued 3 Dec Expert witnesses on animal wildlife rescue, green retrofits and climate/energy French Island Community Association 7 Dec – 15 Dec
Approximately 340 individual submissions, each allotted 5 to 8 minutes 15 Dec Discussion on Mitigation Measures/Environment Performance Requirements 16 Dec
Closing submissions from Minister for Planning, Minister for Environment, EPA, Councils, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and Environment Victoria, Save Westernport and Victorian National Parks Association, instructed by Environmental Justice Australia 1
7 Dec Closing submissions from AGL and APA