Reports in their local media state the new Frankston Council has voted to reverse its previous very pro port stance for the Port of Hastings development.
This is to be commended, if only because otherwise, they would go down in history as the biggest bunch of hypocrites in Australian Local Government history.
Along with their hypocrite bedfellows at Mornington Shire, on grounds of the “impact on tourism and beaches”, they are on public record at the Port of Melbourne Privatisation Enquiry as opposed to any further dredging in Port Phillip, but happy to see 24 million cubic metres (minimum) pulled out of Western Port and in the process wreck one of the most environmentally sensitive waterways in Australia.
Frankston’s submission started off with a pledge to “do no harm”.
You also have to love the fact that Mornington Peninsula participated in three recent Western Port environmental studies, to wit the Western Port Local Coastal Hazard Assessment, the Central Region Coastal Plan and Western Port Ramsar Site Management Plan, all of which basically say “leave it alone”.
Yet on the economic front, they are quite happy to ignore this for the sake of a few automated container port jobs. Don’t their respective staff in these areas talk to each other at all?
Whatever jobs would come out of the container port would probably be well surmounted by those lost in the $300 million a year tourism industry on the eastern side of Mornington Peninsula facing Western Port in places such as Balnarring, Somers and Shoreham (reference Worley Parsons 2015, mentioned in the Ramsar Plan above).
Tourists like wildlife and beaches, not gigantic container ships.
Plus, how come their Port Phillip beaches deserve future protection, but none, including their own at Shoreham et al, are worthy of same in the far more tidal Western Port?
And as for dear old Matthew Guy sounding off about jobs, 5000 or 1/3 of all jobs in Bass Coast depend on the $600 million tourism industry, plus another $700 million in recreational fishing throughout the bay.
So there’s $1.3 billion pa at risk if he gets his way and builds the container port.
The water bores at Tyabb have already gone salty from the aquifers under Western Port at the container site. Dredge down far enough and you hit the ones that supply the whole Bunyip food bowl.
His previous Liberal Government knew all about ‘Ramsar’ and funded the other two studies mentioned above. All the while they spent $30 million of our money with their “pet” Port Of Hastings Development Authority trying to prove the opposite to the “leave it alone” conclusions of all three reports! “Pet mongrel” more like!
To murder a metaphor, “you can’t have your Port and drink it too”!
Plus, to quote the old television series ‘Minder’, Matthew Guy has “form” on our side of Western Port, ie that land deal he OK’d as Planning Minister at Ventnor.
So rather than pull esoteric economic data out of the ether, let’s all cool down a bit and face the real facts. Ross Gittins summed it all up so well in the Age recently. (Future) “Jobson Growth is a Liar”.
Kevin Chambers, The Gurdies.