Federal Court challenge to save the Bay

Blue Wedges Media Release Friday 16 November 2007
Blue Wedges files action in Federal Court

Lawyers for the Blue Wedges Coalition filed an application in the Federal Court today - Friday 16th November
Application is being made to the court preventing the Federal Minister for Environment and Water Resources from making an approval of the proposed Channel Deepening Project.

This now puts the spotlight on the Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Labor Environment Spokesman Peter Garrett. Will they save Port Phillip Bay?

The grounds for the application are:

1)      That Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden’s assessment report was outside the parameters of the 2002 channel deepening referral to the Federal Minister.

2)      That the assessment report fails to consider, or consider adequately:

a)      Impacts of maintenance dredging

b)      Impacts of the proposed 588ha CAD (confined aquatic disposal, or toxic waste dump)

c)      The contract between the Port of Melbourne Corporation and the dredge contractor- Boskalis, the contents of which have never been disclosed.

d)      Maximum dredge depth and maximum volumes of spoil

e)      Impacts of expected ultimate depth at the Entrance

f)      Impacts of toxic algal blooms

“It is now up to the Port of Melbourne Corporation to decide whether they want to join this action,” said lawyer for Blue Wedges, Michael Morehead. “But they then risk having to disclose the terms of their contract with Boskalis.”

Blue Wedges asserts that the CDP poses irreversible risks to the Bay ecosystem. The Trial Dredge operation in 2005 has caused unpredicted and ongoing disintegration of rock at Port Phillip Heads, incrementally changing the hydrodynamics of the Bay. This will alter tidal levels, thus increasing coastal erosion and sand movement, and necessitate extra maintenance dredging. Increased maintenance dredging ultimately multiplies the damage to seagrasses, threatened species, fish and international migratory bird habitats.

Previous page: General
Next page: Coming Events