Mr. Garrett is getting all steamed up about plastic bags in our waterways but is quite happy to allow the Port of Melbourne Corporation to construct a huge toxic dump in our Bay
On the same day that we headed off to the Federal Court to challenge Mr. Garrett’s decision to approve the channel deepening project, which now includes a 5 sq. kms underwater toxic dump we are met with the rather contradictory announcement by the Minister that he is terribly concerned about the state of our waterways, and his remedy is to ban plastic bags.

Although we commend the idea of starting to clean up our waterways by reducing plastic bag pollution, Mr. Garrett would have been better off taking a closer look at what the Channel Deepening Project REALLY entails compared with when it was referred to the Commonwealth in 2002. At that time, the then Victorian Channels Authority referral to the Commonwealth described a project of one tenth the scale, and without any mention of millions of tonnes of toxic spoil or where to put it. 

At Federal Court on 10th January, Counsel for Mr. Garrett, Peter Hanks argued that amendments to the EPBC Act in 2006 allowed the project to change in scale, location and activities but still be the same project! That’s like your neighbours getting approval to build a one storey home next door, but building a ten storey block of flats complete with its own toxic rubbish dump, without further reference to the Approving Authority.  

The EPBC Act is our means of meeting our national and international environmental obligations. It is sincerely hoped that the Court does not agree with the tortured interpretation of the Act that Mr. Garrett’s counsel put forward to justify the project and its toxic legacy. If it does, we will have just allowed PoMC and their dredging partners, Royal Boskalis to turn Port Philip Bay into a quarry in the South and a toxic dump in the north – a $1 billion irreversible and permanent legacy of destruction.

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