06/05/2010

"Recent media reports* of serious beach erosion at Portsea add to the rising tide of reports of unprecedented high tides and inundation of beaches, land and roads at the southern part of Port Phillip Bay since the Entrance to the bay was deepened by five metres," said Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik today.

"There have been growing reports of excessively high tides around the south of Port Phillip Bay over the last 12 months," she said. "I have raised these issues in parliament and on 15 April I requested the Minister for the Environment to commit to additional quarterly reporting and public disclosure of tidal data for at least the next two years to enable comprehensive, accurate and reliable data can be collected and analysed," she said.

"In addition to the reports of excessive tides, there have also been reports of a marked increase in swell (surge from Bass Strait) since the Entrance has been deepened," she said. "Boat operators have reported 12 metre dive boats being lifted by the swell (even on otherwise calm days) and dumped on the bollards of the low landing. Aside from the damage to boats, this is presenting a serious public safety issue."

"It is noteworthy that the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) in its environmental effects study (EES) or supplementary environmental effects study (SEES) never even considered whether enlarging the Entrance would contribute to increased swells entering the Bay. The Office of the Environment Monitor appears to be discounting this too.

"Aside from the dramatic and ongoing loss of Portsea beach that has been seen since dredging, in the last few days there has been a massive collapse of the pier head, requiring immediate works to remediate. Two massive holes appeared overnight last Friday (30/4) at the pier head.

"I am extremely worried about the serious beach erosion that is being seen at many places around the south of Port Phillip Bay," said Ms Pennicuik. "It is one of the most serious adverse affects that the government was clearly warned about and chose to ridicule at the time," she said. "Unfortunately, the five metres of sea bed and rock can't be put back and Port Phillip Bay may be permanently damaged as a result of the channel deepening that we didn't need, as super-sized ships are not coming to Melbourne."
 
*in C9 news (4/5) and ABC Radio AM program (5/5)