Channel Deepening Project

Channel Deepening Project

Channel Deepening ProjectThe Channel Deepening Project is managed by Port of Melbourne Corporation. (August 2005) aims to provide current, useful information about the Port Phillip Channel Deepening Project for the community, industry and users of Port Phillip Bay.

Overview - Channel Deepening Project

The port, just like other economic infrastructure, needs to be upgraded and expanded to meet changing needs.

Sections of the shipping channel in Port Phillip Bay are too shallow to allow some larger container vessels to visit Melbourne. Currently, around 30 per cent of the container ships that leave Melbourne are unable to be loaded to full capacity. This inefficiency is not sustainable for our farmers, business and jobs as this percentage grows.

If this continues over the next thirty years our exports will start to become too expensive and we run the risk of losing business and jobs.

The Port of Melbourne, Australia's export gateway to the world, is proposing to remedy these constraints and safeguard our competitive advantage by deepening the channel in the areas outlined in the map below.

This is the equivalent of around one per cent of the surface area of Port Phillip Bay.

Impacts of Channel Deepening

Earthcare St Kilda has major concerns in regard to the impact of the Shipping Channel deepening proposal on the Port Phillip Bay ecology.

We fear oil spills, toxic algal blooms, ships running aground, sick and dying penguins, water that is murky and unsafe for swimming and release of pollutants such as lead, Mercury and DDT.

These are the very real risks of the Channel deepening project.

Blue Wedges aims to provide as much information as possible to help you decide on how to vote to stop channel deepening!

Penguins in Peril - Friday 15th February, 2008

Port of Melbourne Corporation ignores the effects of the Channel Deepening Project on Melbourne's precious little penguin colony.

The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the Channel Deepening Project (CDP) that was released last week does not specify any monitoring of the St Kilda little penguin colony. This is despite recommendations from both an independent panel and the state Minister for Planning Justin Madden to monitor this colony of penguins both during and post-dredging.

Monash University PhD candidate Tiana Preston researches the St Kilda penguin colony and said that 'some areas where the penguins normally forage are going to be effected by the dredging plume. As the penguins from St Kilda spend most, if not all, of their lives within the bay they are at risk of bioaccumulating heavy metals and toxins that are going to be dredged up only a short distance from their colony.'

Concerns about the effect of the dredging on penguins from St Kilda were raised at the inquiry into the supplementary environmental effects statement for the CDP by several community groups, including Earthcare St Kilda Inc.

Zoe Hogg, co-ordinator of Earthcare St Kilda's penguin study group said 'It's disappointing the community has been ignored, PoMC seem to just do as they please, we contacted them recently and have heard absolutely nothing back. They don't want to monitor the penguins that will be most effected by the dredging as they don't want the public to know what is happening to these animals.'

Regarding the absence of monitoring in the EMP Tiana Preston said 'The St Kilda penguins should be the obvious choice for monitoring the effects of this project on penguins in Port Phillip Bay, and the fact that they're not being monitored at all is of great concern.'

The EMP only makes provision for monitoring the weight of a sub-population of penguins at Phillip Island as they enter and leave the Penguin Parade, by using an existing automated weighing platform. This research will not indicate whether the penguins have entered Port Phillip Bay, and will have little relevance in relation to effects of the CDP on penguins.

Zoe Hogg said 'Monitoring at Phillip Island is completely inadequate and simply a deliberate act by the PoMC to make it look as if they're actually doing something.' Tiana Preston agrees that the monitoring is inadequate and is worried that 'The monitoring program will only analyse the data quarterly and report on it every six months, so by the time any changes are detected at Phillip Island it will be too late for penguins from St Kilda.'

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❊ Web Links ❊

Channel Deepening Project

Earthcare St Kilda

EPA - Channel Deepening Project - Port Phillip Bay

Blue Wedges

Channel Deepening Panel Nears Completion - Melbourne Indymedia

Port Phillip Bay Channel Deepening Proposal - Department of Sustainability and Environment

Bay expert warns on dredging - The Age

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