The Napthine Government had big plans for the Port of Hastings, a massive container port that would have risked Western Port’s natural values.
Those plans were put on hold with the 2014 election of the Andrews Government. But they could be back on the agenda if the Port of Hasting is chosen as the site of Victoria’s second container port.
It is one of two options being reviewed by Infrastructure Victoria; the other is Bay West on the western shoreline of Port Phillip Bay.
The big risk for Western Port
Under the Napthine Government’s plans, Western Port would have seen shipping traffic increase from fewer than 100 ships per year to more than 3,000.
Research commissioned by VNPA and the Westernport and Peninsula Protection Council shows that most high-value conservation areas could be hit by a spill within less than six hours. Those areas include Phillip Island Nature Park, home to colonies of little penguins, and French Island Marine National Park, critical roosting, feeding and wading areas for waterbirds.
Two other expert reports heighten fears that internationally significant birdlife would be put at risk from oil spills, dredging, land clearing and vessel wash. Seabirds such as little penguins, cormorants, grebes and hooded plovers, along with seagrass, mangrove and saltmarsh habitats, could be seriously impacted.
For more information see:
> Impact of proposed Port of Hastings expansion on the birdlife of Western Port
> Impact of proposed Port of Hastings expansion on seagrass, mangroves and salt marsh
> The ecosystem service value of Westernport Bay
> Quantitative assessment of exposure risks due to oil spills from shipping in Western Port Bay