Big problem for Bracks - EPA not happy!

Congratulations to the EPA on alerting the community to what is so obvious about the Bracks government’s channel deepening project – it will be an environmental disaster - Not to mention an economic lemon!






Congratulations to the EPA on alerting the community to what is so obvious about the Bracks government’s channel deepening project – it will be an environmental disaster. (Not to mention an economic lemon!)

It is now clear that full scale dredging at the Heads could not be done without sustaining a lot more damage than the recent trial dredge caused. If the channel deepening project proceeds, even the PoMC admits more damage is inevitable in this beautiful area, and EPA is unconvinced that there will be sustained regeneration.

In its Media Release accompanying its latest ‘benchmark report’ even the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) is unable to deny that during the trial, most of the rockfall damage occurred  “in the shallow regions above 30 metres…” . Dive Industry Victoria President Len Salter says: “Our initial assessment of the report suggests that at 17 metre depth, scouring or bare rock damage occurred along the vast majority of the test area length, with several areas sustaining up to 100% damage. At the 27 metre contour, approximately half the area sustained some damage” and “It confirms what we saw and filmed last September when our members dived the area which the Port of Melbourne Corporation had tried to stop us entering”.

“Aside from the massive damage to habitat and species, the shallow region below 30 metres is precisely the depth to which most recreational diving is done. And maximum damage occurred right smack where most diving is done  - from 17 metres to 27 metres depth. What’s more, the porous limestone rock becomes highly mobile once loosened and stay suspended in the turbulent water, like rocks in a washing machine - continuing to do damage to slow growing sponges and corals. We don’t expect this area to recover for many years, and it may never recover to its former condition. Although some quick growing kelp has returned, we have not seen any evidence of sponge gardens recolonising. Sponges and corals can take decades, and if the present rockfall keeps moving around who knows what the outcome will be – let alone if the full project were ever to proceed” says Mr. Salter. 

Blue Wedges spokesperson Jenny Warfe says “This appalling damage occurred in an important Victorian dive site – even more appalling is that it is on the border of Victoria’s unique Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park. We need only check Parks Victoria’s website to see how proud the Bracks government is of its world class Marine Parks, including unique Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park. And yet the Bracks government is prepared to use the largest dredge in the world to demolish and remove 500,000 tonnes of rock right up against the park boundaries!

The trial dredging damage may also have caused the loss or permanent damage to priceless, irreplaceable underwater scenery……..scenery the likes of which state government uses to promote its world class Marine Parks! ……. Just so that the container transport industry can save some costs over the next 30 years”.

Does anybody really believe the container and shipping industry will pass on their savings to consumers?

“If full scale channel deepening proceeds, much more damage will occur. The only winners would be faceless international shippers and the container industry. Consumers will still pay through the proposed levy on all containers arriving into the Port, which PoMC admits will be passed onto consumers. Consumers will also pay for the damage to our irreplaceable environmental asset Port Phillip Bay, which sustains thousands of jobs and much of our tourism industry. Those costs will of course still pass to the consumer – every Victorian Taxpayer!” says Ms. Warfe.

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