what a drawn out process to pass on my opinion and advice to your company re the crib point project.
I believe this project is most unsuitable for Westernport due to the delicate nature of the bay. International Ramsar listings, which crib point has, are not handed out for nothing. Having lived in this area for 35 years, I have witnessed the bays' wonders first hand. Many locals are against such a project, worrying that the environmental impact will be too great to risk.
My advice to your company is to discontinue with your project, otherwise you will
1. lose your credibility as a community minded company
2.risk being held responsible for future environmental damage costing you your reputation and financial standing.
yours very sincerely
We agree Western Port is an important environmental area that must be cared for.
We identified Crib Point as a proposed location after an extensive evaluation process; because, we could make use of existing infrastructure at the Crib Point jetty and minimise our footprint on the environment. We also wouldn’t have to dredge a new channel because it was an existing deep water port currently used for petroleum imports.
For the past 12 months, we’ve been working with the community consulting on our plans and recognise that local community are very concerned about the proposed project . During that time, we’ve commissioned 15 expert studies assessing potential impacts on issues like the environment, historic heritage and the marine ecosystem. These reports have spelled out the potential effects and the final reports been published online at www.agl.com.au/cribpoint.
These decisions will not be made by AGL alone and we expect to be held to account on any potential environmental impacts.
Based on these expert reports we have recently made a referral to the State government who will decide whether or not a Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required for the project. After 20 days, the EES referral to the Minister results in three outcomes: an EES is required; or an EES is not required if conditions specified by the Minister are met; or an EES is not required.
AGL’s Board has yet to decide if the project will go ahead (i.e. a Final Investment Decision hasn’t been made). A decision is unlikely until the board fully understand what is required for planning approval which would most likely be after the EES referral process is complete.
In the future please feel free to contact me directly: email@example.com
Senior Manager Project Engagement
Can AGL GUARANTEE there will be ZERO damage/impact (either directly or indirectly) to the Ramsar-listed wetlands of Westernport Bay? What about to the various sealife & wildlife that call the area home?
By definition a Ramsar site is (https://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/ramsar):
The Ramsar Convention encourages the designation of sites containing representative, rare or unique wetlands, or wetlands that are important for conserving biological diversity. Once designated, these sites are added to the Convention's List of Wetlands of International Importance and become known as Ramsar sites. In designating a wetland as a Ramsar site, countries agree to establish and oversee a management framework aimed at conserving the wetland and ensuring its wise use. Wise use under the Convention is broadly defined as maintaining the ecological character of a wetland. Wetlands can be included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance because of their ecological, botanical, zoological, limnological or hydrological importance.
May I highlight that we, as a country who has this Internationally recognised site, are responsible to conserve the wetland and ensure it's "wise use", whilst maintaining the ecological character of the wetland area. Construction and running of a gas import terminal is not in line with this - it certainly is not "wise use" nor is it "maintaining the ecological character".
So with that being said, I (along with all those that are becoming aware of your plans of making this gas import terminal in Western Port Bay) are very interested to know exactly how AGL will be GUARANTEEING this condition - because anyone in their right mind would know that there is no possible way that anybody can GUARANTEE such a condition (not with 100% certainty).
As such, this project should NOT be going ahead, as there should be 0% risk exposure to a site of this importance.
AGL you must abort these import plans immediately.
I am also concerned with this plan. We have an interesting environment in Westernport Bay. It is a narrow bay, with strong tidal currents, some parts are very shallow, and the risk of running aground is always present. To have a gas plant on a constrained site is a people hazard and the Ramsar wetlands are vulnerable as well. Given that we are moving away from fossil fuels, including Methane, will this site become a stranded asset for AGL ? Will the damage be done for just a short term gain, or will the asset be stranded before it gets to be used ?
Hi Arron W
We fully recognise there is significant community concern around the potential impact our project will have on the Ramsar site and acknowledge these are of environmental significance. The combination of the mangroves, seagrass and wildlife in Western Port make it a very valuable marine ecosystem both in Australia and internationally. We agree that Western Port is an important environmental asset that must be cared for.
While the studies completed to date in the preliminary assessments demonstrate that the impacts to the environment associated with this project will have minimal impact on the environment, an in-depth investigation is being undertaken as part of the Environment Effects Statement (EES). This was a requirement from the Victorian Government, predominantly because of community concerns around the environmental impact.
The EES will assess the potential effects of the project on the environment and proposed measures to avoid, minimise or manage adverse environmental effects. The Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said “The EES will investigate the proposal’s effects on native vegetation, wildlife and marine life as well as Aboriginal cultural heritage areas.”
As you pointed out, it is impossible to guarantee something won't happen, and we realise for many in the community, this is not good enough. There are serious and legitimate concerns with a project like this, such as damage to the wetlands, safety any risk of accidental spills. The EES will need to demonstrate whether these can be addressed and mitigated effectively.
The Minister for Planning will decide on the suitability of the project. Because the EES process is the most rigorous avenue for obtaining government approvals, without the Minister for Planning’s assessment that the project would have an acceptable level of environmental effects, AGL would not be able to pursue the project.
We understand your concerns about the impact this development may have on the environment.
It was not a decision we undertook lightly. We investigated several different sites across Australia, including Crib Point in Victoria, Port Adelaide in South Australia and Port Kembla in New South Wales. The evaluation process considered several factors including access to key gas markets, cost of incremental pipeline transmission, availability of suitable land for onshore facilities, cost of existing or new build pipelines, existing investments within AGL’s wholesale gas portfolio and marine and port suitability.
One of the reasons we chose the site was that Crib Point has an existing jetty that is already in commercial use.
Crib Point has in-built flexibility because unlike a coal fired power station, which takes seven or eight years to build and leaves a lasting imprint, Crib Point will host a FSRU which will receive gas from the most competitive source via a jetty which has been there for 50 years. If the demand for gas reduces, we can bring in less gas. The FSRU is likely to be leased and if the facility is no longer needed the FSRU will be unmoored and will sail away.
The community has been successful in communicating their concerns to government with the Minister for Planning requiring AGL (with APA) to undertake an Environment Effects Statement.
We will follow all assessment requirements deemed necessary by the government and regulatory bodies and are willing to be held to these standards.