Madden leaves a stone unturned!

Planning Minister Madden said in Parliament on 2nd May that the SEES left no stone unturned......well that's a bit different to what the Independent Expert Group thinks in their recently released 40 page report. 



Despite Minister Maddens' soothing words it seems even the government appointed 'Independent' Expert Group (IEG) says the Supplementary EES leaves lots of stones unturned.


In Parliament on May 2nd, Mr. Madden told Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik that MLC that the "14 000-page SEES is absolutely comprehensive" and "It has been probably the most expensive and exhaustive process ever undertaken. In every sense of the term it left no stone unturned. I am conscious that we want to see this process brought to a conclusion".


Unbeknownst to anyone much, the IEG's report slipped out silently on 1st May - but didn't hit our desks until 8th May - the day after submissions closed. Alarmingly, the IEG confirms lots of things are still unknown or unclear. They say:  

  • The EMP appears to consist only of proposed activities during dredging as nothing yet scoped out for 6 monthly reviews (or longer). We say - it’s still a work in progress! That's not how Minister Madden describes it. 
  • Performance monitoring does not protect against all classes of uncertainty – e.g. underestimation on impacts on seagrass – We say these issues are critical to survival of many species and critical to biodiversity. 
  • Medium term and post- construction phase Environment Management Plan (EMP) features should be developed ASAP. We say - more evidence that the SEES is incomplete.
  • The proposed turbidity limit in the EMP is not acceptable. We say - Turbidity (light) is a critical issue for seagrass- critical to various species.
  • The magnitude of flow-on effects is not well described. We say - This means too many uncertainties and risks.
  • Lack of detail on proposed deep reef inspection – We say it sounds like another rockfall disaster in the making. Quite a few more stones unturned we think. 
  • The fate of contaminated sediments should be monitored- We say good idea, given what we have read about toxins in the Technical Appendices about risks to human health fro eating fish and swimmers in the Bay.   

How can the PoMC seriously expect us to accept that the Project will have no long-term impacts on the Bay if they can’t even show us a completed EMP?


The public was required to accept the SEES was complete in every way, to make our minds up on what we have had put before us, read over 14,000 pages in 6 weeks whilst still earning a living and getting some sleep. The PoMC has had two years to prepare its SEES - the best ever study of the Bay according to them - and yet the Expert Group now confirms that there's a whole lot still missing. Minister Madden and the PoMC are breathtakingly insulting! 


How can PoMC seriously expect us to believe the project costs are known when they haven’t even agreed on the scope of the EMP with responsible agencies such as EPA, DSE let alone how much dredging down time at $250,000 per day they might experience?

And – if the PoMC was to properly address all of the concerns outlined, costs of the project would have to rise even further – making it even more of a lemon than it already is.


The SEES is really just a very expensive promotional brochure. It’s the PoMC’s ambit claim for the use of the Bay. As with any promotional literature, it’s almost certain to have exaggerations in it.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the plan is a dinosaur, the risks and uncertainties are dangerous and it’s certainly an economic lemon


Blue Wedges Editor





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