The state of the Bay

News update. No decision yet from Federal Court, The Noisy Queen, and turbidity not quite how the PoMC reports it.  

Federal Court… still waiting for the decision! After more than three weeks to consider the case, we still await a determination, suggesting our case has warranted close consideration. Can it be the PoMC is in for a rude shock?


However, the Court is only able to determine whether Mr. Garrett followed the correct procedure in making his decision – ie: that he made a lawful decision. The Court is not able to determine whether the Minister has made an appropriate or sensible decision – just a lawful one.


Mr. Garrett apparently had 50,000 pages of information before him in the three days between 17th December and 20th December 2007 when he made his decision to approve the project. Anyway, we have been assured Minister Garrett was fully briefed ……...


A Noisy Queen.  During February, a Rye resident was awoken by dredging noise during the night whilst the Queen of the Netherlands was working in the South Channel. Numerous other reports have been received since then. Last week, a McCrae resident reported she was so disturbed by dredging noise during the night of 19th March, that she went down to the beach at around 1 AM, where she confirmed the presence of the Queen. When she complained to the PoMC the following day she was told that the Queen had not been dredging in the south of the Bay since 12th March! How interesting!


Mornington Peninsula residents will be all too familiar with the Queen's ugly presence in the south of the Bay regularly since dredging clayey materials in the Northern channels commenced on 3rd March. Apparently the Queen needs a dose of clean sand every day or so to clean her hopper of the sticky clay from the north. She has been a regular sight in the south channel or doing circles just east of the Hovell Pile.


In fact, a number of our supporters saw the Queen arrive in the south of the Bay on the evening of 12th March around 7 PM, and there she stayed for quite some time, and she has been a regular down south since then, right up until our most recent sighting yesterday evening (24th March).


The PoMC website states that clean sand will be taken from the south, see:


Note, the PoMC website claims ‘No activities’ for the south of the Bay, and is careful not to describe taking this entire dredge load of sand from the south as “dredging” but as “taking sand”. We wonder why PoMC is being so careful with its wording.


Whatever  - the Queen of the Netherlands is dirty, noisy and unwanted, so we suggest anyone who is bothered by the noise of the dredge “operating” should report the disturbance to the EPA hotline 9695 2777. But be prepared: We understand the EPA suggested the noise from the dredge was no different to any other ship. Yeah right! Other ships pass in the night and are gone in a few minutes – and there might only be one or two during the entire evening. In contrast, the Queen of the Netherlands goes up and down and up and down for hours on end, and in a blaze of lights ….and would be doing it constantly for years to come if we aren’t careful. So – don’t forget to tell the EPA that. 


To show her disgust at how she and the Bay are being treated by the PoMC the McCrae resident has now put up a prominent Save the Bay banner outside her home. (See for how to obtain your own placard for your fence or shop front - or be creative and make one, as many bayside residents have done)


Turbid Plumes. Although the PoMC has been pumping out propaganda that they are performing well within the parameters of their Environmental Management Plan (written by themselves) and that turbidity is well below trigger points, a satellite photo of the Bay taken on 17th March tells a bit of a different story about the actual conditions in the Bay. 



(Note: Dump site in middle of northern Bay clearly visible, heavy plume from northern channels extending well down the eastern coastline, and a swirling plume just east of Hovell Pile in the south.)


Reports of cloudy water continue to be received from around the Bay. swimmers on the Mornington Peninsula are reporting a constant background level of murky, milky water, even though the dredge supposedly stopped dredging in the south in late February and is only “dredging” in the north of the Bay. This photo confirms what we know from observation and are being told by many other concerned people – that there is a noticeable deterioration in water quality in vast areas of the Bay – even if the dredge is only “dredging” in the north.


Even if the PoMC’s self imposed “limits” have not been exceeded, the public is not happy with the condition the Bay is being left in by the PoMC. Imagine what state it would be in if 2 years of constant dredging was allowed to proceed! 


So – who’s in charge of the Bay? Mick Bourke, the Chair of the EPA, fulfils the role of "Independent Environmental Monitor", whilst still retaining his EPA Chair. In practice his office will do nothing more than oversee Port of Melbourne Corporation's compliance with the Environmental Management Plan written by the Port of Melbourne Corporation - there is no Red Button to stop the project. Mr. Bourke's 'Office of the Environmental Monitor' is reported yesterday (MP Leader 24th March) as saying it had not received any complaints from residents about reduced water clarity at any beaches.


If you do wish to complain about water quality to the "watchdog without teeth" the Office of the Environmental Monitor can be contacted on 9637 8235. The PoMC's channel dredging complaint line is: 1800 731 022 or email via channel deepening website And don’t forget annoying noise can be reported to the EPA Hotline on 9695 2777


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