Melbourne deepening project delayed by government
The Australian minister for planning, Rob Hulls, said Thursday the Port of Melbourne Corp. has to carry out a supplementary environmental effects statement (EES) before it can go ahead with the proposed Port Phillip Bay deepening project.
An independent panel report on the original EES made 137 recommendations, including:
* Examine channel deepening designs to determine if alternative designs could reduce environmental impact.
* Investigate dredging technology, with possible small-scale trial dredging project.
* Investigate the best methods of sediment disposal.
* Examine silt and sand disturbance caused by the dredging process.
The government said it will establish a taskforce and a group of international experts in the areas of oceanography, channel dredging and the environment to help guide the port authority.
The project requires the removal of 500,000 cubic meters of rock from Port Phillip Heads, dredging and disposing of more than 1.7 million cubic meters of Yarra River sediment and dredging more than 30 million cubic meters of sand and clay.
“The supplementary study will build upon the EES process to date. It will be based on the key areas outlined by the panel and allow for further expert analysis,” said Hulls.
“We are confident that the matters arising from the recommendations can be addressed,” said Stephen Bradford, chief executive officer for the Port of Melbourne Corp.