Under present Victorian legislation, Environmental Effect Statements (EES) are prepared by the proponent (or developer) of a project. This leads to the unhappy situation of the entity who most wants the proposal to proceed being responsible for hiring the scientists, planners and other “experts” they think would be most suitable to  prepare the EES. In the case of channel deepening, our government and its agent the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) is the proponent. 


In 2004, PoMC prepared its first EES into the Channel Deepening project. An Independent Panel took three months of submissions from the Port and its scientific and legal team (a QC attending every day), and from members of the public. The Panel comprised Dr. David Smith, Melbourne University Chemistry professor and ex EPA scientist, Dr. Bronwyn Ridgeway an engineer and specialist risk analyst, Rynd Smith Lawyer and Mr. Nick Wimbush Coastal planner. The Panel assessed the proposal as not suitable for implementation at that stage- making 137 recommendations as to why it should not proceed. Various further investigations were recommended, culminating in the present SEES.


Channel deepening in Port Phillip Bay is the centre piece of PoMC’s business plan; so the Supplementary EES could be described as the PoMC’s most glossy and expensive promotional brochure yet. So far, PoMC has spent over $110 million on the science and trial dredging. At 15,000 pages the SEES weighs in at perhaps 40 kgs and fills the boot of an average sedan…….but it is still just the PoMC’s best shot at getting the most they possibly can out of our Bay!

See: http://www.channelproject.com/supplementary/about_SEES/index.asp

You might also be interested to read our suggested submission to the SEES under our documents section - although it is now too late to lodge a submission to the Inquiry, you could use this information to write a letter to Premier Brumby, Environment Minister Jennings, or Ports Minister Pallas asking that they reject the PoMC's Channel Deepening proposal.




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