Melbourne Water’s Westernport Science review a crucial first step for the future of Westernport region

Blue Wedges congratulates Melbourne Water for their initiative in planning and sponsoring the Western Port Science Review Seminar held in Pakenham on 5th April 2011.
Along with over 200 other people interested in the future of the Westernport region, Blue Wedges members heard presentations from a diverse team of eminent environmental scientists lead by marine ecologist Professor Mick Keough, University of Melbourne.
This timely review aims to update and consolidate our understanding of Westernport’s natural resources and identifying future research programs to better inform government policy. We were struck by each scientist’s candid view that there are so many crucial knowledge gaps in our understanding of Westernport’s unique environment.
Given the Victorian Government’s recent commitment to fast-track the Port of Hastings as an alternative container port to the Port of Melbourne, we call on the Baillieu government to halt its port expansion plans until these crucial studies have been completed. Ports invariably pose major risks, so any further port expansion in Westernport’s unique environment must rely on a clear understanding of Westernport’s natural processes. That can’t happen if the cart comes before the horse and port expansion precedes the research.
Governments often ignore science when planning controversial major infrastructure projects, being driven more by political opinion, profit motives of lobbying corporatio­ns and sometimes plain ignorance, and debate is stifled. Blue Wedges insists that the community be allowed to have an honest debate based on facts before major decisions about Westernport’s future are taken. The Westernport Science Review is an important first step.
More information on Melbourne Water’s Western Port Science Review is available at:

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