The damage so far

So far, Boskalis and PoMC have admitted oil spills and rockslides, and with dredging set to continue for the rest of 2009, there's no reason to be complacent.  

Dredging is still happening in the Yarra and in the South of the Bay with the project only a little over half way through – and already it is looking like being a giant white elephant for the Brumby government (and us taxpayers who are funding it). It is far too early to stop being vigilant, because…..


  • We have an enlarged entrance through The Rip which is allowing around 20 million cubic metres extra water[1] to flow in out of the Bay on every tide, increased tide heights and increased risks to shipping. 
  • We have large mobile rocks moving around in the strong current, moving towards the protected sponge gardens and posing further risks to shipping (see image below)
  • There is still 6 months dredging to be done in the south channel including deepening by a further 3 metres, and enlarging (to approximately 4.5 sq. km) and deepening the Hovell Pile turning circle off Rosebud. The most southerly section of the turning circle will also now be closer to shore.  
  • Yarra bank stabilisation and “protection” of services (sewerage, electricity, gas, telecommunications) under the Yarra shipping channel will likely continue in the Yarra for most of the year
  • When independent divers last looked at the dredged area at The Entrance, (see recent newsletters) they reported a large quantity of loose mobile rocks making its way towards protected unique species;
  • We have an unregulated, unlicensed toxic dump in the Bay. PoMC was not even able to predict whether the toxic sludge would act as a solid or a liquid once dumped[2], and we still don’t know the answer to that.   



Rocks slidng towards protected sponge gardens after dredging works "complete" at the Entrance October 2008

Image: Alan Beckhurst

And, when will the bigger ships ever arrive? Having taken substantial short and long term environmental and economic risks, and spending $1billion+ taxpayers’ funds up front, it seems we just have to wait to see if they will ever arrive!


It’s likely that many impacts from channel deepening will be subtle and long term, so time will tell.

[1] Calculated by Dr. David Smith, during EES Panel Hearing 2004

[2] Port of Melbourne Dredged Material Ground Alliance document No CDP_ALL_MS_410 Paragraph 4.3.1



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