Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) is continuing to gather evidence for the Supplementary Environment Effects Statement (SEES) on its proposed channel deepening project even though the SEES submision period has closed. 

A Notice to Mariners dated 2nd May 2007, issued by PoMC’s Harbour Master Cpt. Tim Muir reveals that studies are part of the environmental data gathering for the PoMC’s SEES. The survey work, along the entrance deep walls at The Heads are expected to take a month, beginning on the 11th of May. The work involving divers and remotely operated underwater cameras will disrupt shipping through the Heads.


While the public has had only 30 working days to review some 15,000 pages of documentation contained in the Supplementary Environment Effects Statement (SEES), the Port of Melbourne Corporation is now planning to present information to the Panel of Inquiry that the public may not see, and will not have a chance to question, as cross-examination before the panel has been disallowed by the government.


The Panel of Inquiry set up to examine the SEES and the denial of the right to cross-examine witnesses is a mjaor issue. Senior Victorian legal identities also criticized the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, whilst prominent Barrister Chris Canavan SC declined to represent the Corporation at the Inquiry.


“Public confidence in the process set up by the Brack’s government to assess the SEES is already very low,” said Blue Wedges president Jenny Warfe. “This latest revelation is turning the process into a farce.”


“We have requested an extension to the 30 day submission period, but received notice from Planning Minister Madden on 30th April that an extension would not be granted. Meanwhile Port of Melbourne Corporation is playing catch-up with their data behind the scenes.”


“The corporation has already had 2 years to compile their data, and we’ve had 30 days to read it. It appears the process can be manipulated to suit the PoMC while the public is being hamstrung at every turn.”


It was only by chance that the Blue Wedges Coalition became aware of the additional studies being done by the Port of Melbourne Corporation, when an alert member discovered the information on the Corporation’s website Notice to Mariners.


To date, Minister for Planning Justin Madden has refused to meet with the Blue Wedges Coalition to discuss issues of process for assessment of the SEES.


The first EES for the channel deepening project was rejected by a Panel of Inquiry as inadequate in 2005.


See: Notice to Mariners No. 058(T)-07





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