Join us to help make Peter Garret realise that he has been misled and misinformed by his people by sending an email to Peter Garrett.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett needs help as he has made the wrong decision on internationally important wetlands and threatened species, and relegated our national environment laws to rubber stamp status.
What Mr. Garrett has done is endorse the Port of Melbourne’s efforts to exclude the latest version of the dredge project from proper scrutiny. It’s like approving a 10 storey building when the planning permit describes a single storey one. No responsible Minister could allow that – of course a ten storey building would require a fresh approval.
Likewise, the original channel deepening referral to the Federal government was for a 2 million cubic metre dredge plan but it has morphed into a 20+ million cubic metre dredge project and we still haven’t seen the final plans or any assessment of the future maintenance dredging required to keep the channels open.
Our lawyers will need to amend the application but the case remains essentially the same and we are confident that the Federal Court will overturn Garrett’s decision.
Mr. Garrett might think he is being hard on the Japanese in regards to protecting whales but he has been very soft indeed on the Port of Melbourne Corporation. For more information see the Sea Shepherd Society web site
THE AGE LETTERS -TUESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2008
Mr Garrett, your bedrock is burning
PETER Garrett, how do you sleep? A monster pulp mill in Tasmania, and now one of the greatest acts of environmental vandalism in Australia, the dumping of toxic waste in Port Phillip Bay. Approved.
Whatever happened to the rock star environmental warrior? Environment Minister? A joke. Some 25 million cubic metres of sludge to be dumped in our bay, including dioxins, mercury, cadmium, cyanide, DDT and other chemicals; industrial waste from 150 years of industry.
The waste is too toxic to be treated on land, and prohibited from being dumped at sea. The project exploits a loophole, because Port Phillip is not defined as "sea". The waste will stay in the bay for six months before being covered with sand. No one knows what will happen because it's never been done before.
The State Government has offered a bond of $100 million against damage. But it's taxpayers' money, not the Port of Melbourne Corporation's or the shipping and stevedoring industries'.
Greed has overridden sense and proper planning, with details being kept secret in a deal done with money-hungry corporations. Peter, what do I say next summer when my kids ask if we can catch flathead for dinner?
Will Baillieu, Portsea
A letter from a concerned citizen
Dear Mr Garrett!
Well Mr Peter Garrett, I woke from my somewhat disturbed “Sleep” very early this morning to the sweet sounds of the “Bird Noises” coming from from the “Outside World”.
Last night I was reeling with news of your decision to dredge Port Phillip Bay and I was up late burning the “Midnight Oil” while “Looking for a new solution”. I recall “looking at the clock on the wall and it said three minutes to midnight.”
“Hope drains out the side of the page” There was no new solution!
There is a somewhat refreshing “light wind on the eastern side” blowing from inside “the heat of the land” but I cannot help feeling, “take this heart; break this heart; wrap it up and let me sleep!”
I honestly haven’t felt so empty, and so devastated by mankind since awakening to hear the news on S11 It reminds me that “the old world is not as safe as it appears to be from here!” There certainly is a “new world closing in” and it certainly ain’t for the better!
“The Generals very pleased” this morning.
“When the General talks you better listen to him” “cos he wants to win elections.”
But “how do we sleep when our beds are burning” Mr Garrett? You have rocked the confidence of an expectant nation who believed you when you said that we could have the “best of both worlds’ But that was obviously just “spray can information”
“The real world is not as calm as it appears to be from here.” “ You say times are tough” but I say that in the “outside world” “the fat cats still push the thin cats around!”
Excuse us Mr Garrett for wanting to protect what’s ours!
Excuse us for wanting to protect our Bay!
Excuse us for wanting to swim in clean water!
Excuse us for wanting to protect all of our marine life, our sea birds and “65 million years” of evolution that created Victoria’s marine environment.
You Mr Garrett once described that same marine environment as “one of the most important in the world!”
You also said Mr Garrett “The spin-offs are clear - more fish, more tourists and genuinely sustainable communities.” Do you honestly think that we all have such a “short memory?”
We don’t need to “read about it.” This is just another case of “the rich get richer and the poor get the picture.”
“Now I know what you mean” when you sing “When I’m locked in my room I just want to scream!” “Oh, the power and the passion!”
Its now obvious that “Uncle Sam and John were quite enough” and that you are now “laughing at the truth”. But can we excuse you? After all, even “Gough was tough till he hit the rough!”
So it seems that US forces gave the nod. It is certainly a setback for OUR country. Maybe we don’t have “bombs and trenches all in rows” but we do have Gunns and dredges causing the same devastation. It is the same war Mr Garrett!
Its just as you predicted Mr Garrett – “The pigs have come to ground”
It is now longer the “land of wide open spaces where the world turns around us and we just follow suit.” You now truly have “white flags on the clothes lines and the deals are never clean.”
Just how often have you made “business deals in parking lots?”
“Who can stand in the way when there’s a dollar to be made?”
Port Phillip Bay Channel Deepening is YOUR “Maralinga” Mr Garrett! You are about to turn OUR Bay into a “Blue Sky Mine!”
LETTER FROM ONE OF MR. GARRETT'S CONSTITUENTS, SEAT OF MAROUBRA NSW. APRIL 08
I have written to you on a number of occasions to raise the issue of freight management both at a national and state level. I do so because you are:
the Federal Minister for the Environment:
you are my local federal member;
and your electorate includes the largest airport in Australia and the second largest container port. Kingsford Smith handles more than 50% of the total value of airfreight in Australia while Port Botany handles around 30% of Australia's seafreight.
I have yet to receive a reponse or even an acknowledgement of the concerns I have raised.
The House of Representatives reported in July 2007 on the Rail and Road interface with Ports in Australia and more recently, March 18,2008, IPART reported on the Port Botany context. IPART was severely restricted under its terms of reference but even so it is clear from reading the IPART report that a number of the objectives listed as given in the Port Botany Expansion EIS will not be achieved. One of the more important of these is to increase rail's share of container movements from below 20% to 40%. It is also evident from reading the various reports, submissions and transcripts - including the Port Botany Commission of Inquiry, NSW Upper House Inquiry into NSW Ports, BTRE and DOTARS reports - and from speaking to various people in Rail Freight, Trucking, Supply Chain analysis, Customs, AQIS, Stevedoring, that we don't have an adequate appreciation of the current task let alone what befalls us. The Garnaut Review report for Transport, Planning and the Built Environment made a similar point regarding freight, that while there are plenty of commentators for domestic car use the road freight task which is growing at a faster rate has been largely neglected. ABC Radio broadcast a program on the Port Phillip Bay dredging in February (see below for comments). It was not within the scope of a program such as this to come to grips with the detail but it does point the way to establishing a national forum on our freight task in 2030. I would suggest that such a forum would need to include a broad range of participants who understand the future challenges, the bigger picture of freight as well as being expert operatives in their own fields.
The Eddington Audit will include a review of infrastructure available for 'Australia's Freight Task' but by the time it reports the two defining projects for the early 21st century will be underway - the dredging of Port Phillip Bay and the expansion of Port Botany. Both State Governments have responded to the call of competition between the states - between each other but also recognising the threat of Queensland on their growth stategies - and steamrolled these projects through. Once again they are attempting to bend nature and the market to their will while ignoring the bigger threats of climate change and peak oil.
There are many forums with notable people speaking but freight is way down on the list of concerns and some of the notables chosen may know part of the picture but not all of it. There are few people who work on the big picture. Most are concerned with one part or are driven by a narrow agenda i.e. prosperity for a State or for one group of players in the supply chain. The lack of understanding and readiness to instead settle for simplistic analysis will cost us dearly. We shouldn't kid ourselves that the work that has been done to date is adequate. To use an analogy, 'ecological footprinting' calculations have become popular and on a regular basis one sees 'calculators' on the internet or in the print media or even translated into television shows where 'eco warriors' take suburban families to task over water and car use. Most of this is a smokescreen and a dangerous one at that because it neglects to address the major components of individual footprints and allows people to feel comfortable and even smug about the situation. For example, externalised water use (at workplaces, in goods consumed, in the transport of goods) is not calculated nor is there credit for environmental contributions (ie. growing habitat appropriate for indigenous wildlife, offsetting local carbon emissions by maintaining the heath of trees). Some of the assumptions about ecological footprinting have underpinned inner-city responses to outer suburban lifestyles to a point that they enter mainstream interpretation of issues. The western suburbs of Sydney, for example, have been labelled the macmansion set. I recall a conversation I had a few years back with the co-ordinating author of a Department of Environment and Conservation submission to the Port Botany Expansion. I had telephoned to suggest that the unsustainable growth figures listed in the EIS should be questioned by the Department. I was told that the demand was coming from the macmansion people and there was little more to be said. Besides being ignorant of a bigger picture concerning changes in distribution this officer had taken as given some of the prevailing myths about sustainable living. Using more than such superficial assumptions the team at the University of Sydney, including Manfred Lenzen, have since established that the real bigfoots in Sydney are those living in the richer inner suburbs, lower north shore and Eastern Suburbs.
It is commendable to be engaged in debate on the future of our nation but I sense that some of the major issues such as the future shape of sustainable supply chains will not be given the attention that is due. Our major cities grew out of their harbours and the current Melbourne and Sydney expansions are simply extensions of what was established in the 18th and 19th century not what needs to be established in the 21st to meet looming challenges. We need a national response sooner not later. From 1942 to 1950 we had a system of rationing in Australia - the threat was far too real to gamble our future on the whims of the market. Many knew in the mid thirties where the world was heading. Many more knew from late 1939 but it wasn't until after Pearl Habour that Australia put all citizens on alert. Today we face far greater threats than those presented by the Axis powers yet it seems we are still cheering the Chamberlains as they wave their worthless 'peace in our time' scraps of paper. We should be pursuing Churchills.