An unprecedented coalition of 28 businesses and community organisations representing tens of thousands of people have banded together to fight for the future of Western Port. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and the coalition, which includes Surfrider Foundation Australia, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Environment Victoria and the Green Wedges Coalition, today delivered a video and letter to Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne urging him to reject a plan by AGL to put an industrial gas plant at Crib Point and build a 55km pipeline to Pakenham through bush and farmland.
The letter, signed by Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Despi O’Connor, says the project “poses a significant risk to the environment, economy and local amenity of Crib Point, with potential impacts on Indigenous cultural heritage values. The project threatens to over-industrialise the area, all for unproven economic and resource gains”.
Cr Despi said a council poll last September found 93 per cent of respondents opposed the project. She said the council’s key areas of concern related to climate change and the “unsatisfactory accounting” of gas emissions and offsets; potential impacts on the area’s marine ecology and biodiversity; the possible loss of more than 15ha of native vegetation, including “globally endangered native flora”, and negative effects on groundwater; and damage to the region’s tourism economy.
“Strong community sentiment expressed to us over last year, supported by those countersigning this letter and the tens of thousands of people they represent, sends an unequivocal message: we do not want the AGL and APA gas import jetty and pipeline project at Crib Point.”
The letter is countersigned by ClimActs, ClimARTE, L.I.V.E., Crib Point Action Group, Crib Point Stony Point Foreshore Committee of Management, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Environment Victoria, Flinders Community Association, The Friends of the Glenfern Green Wedge, Green Wedges Coalition, Merricks General Wine Store, Elgee Park, Baillieu Mornington Peninsula, Mornington Peninsula Climate Action Network, Mornington Peninsula Wine, Peninsula Preservation Group, Phillip Island Conservation Society, Save Westernport, Snorkelling Melbourne Victoria, Somers Residents Association, Sunbutter Skincare, Victorian National Parks Association, Lighter Footprints, Miller’s Bread, Devilbend-Hastings Landcare, Surfrider Foundation Australia, Westernport & Peninsula Protection Council, and Western Port Biosphere.
An open letter was also delivered to the AGL board detailing concerns about the project.
“The clock is ticking; the future of our beloved Western Port Bay hangs in the balance,” Cr Despi said. “In less than four weeks the Victorian Government will make a decision that could seriously risk this internationally recognised ecosystem. Mornington Peninsula residents will soon learn the fate of our beloved Western Port Bay. The community is demanding to be heard. We do not want this gas plant.”