Saturday, October 4, 2014

WA Greens slam the federal government for approving Point Peron marina

by Brendan Foster

Little does it: A little penguin plays in the sun at Manly. The Penguin Island little penguin breeding population is half what it was in 2007. Photo: Jon Reid

WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has slammed the federal government's approval of the Mangles Bay development at Point Peron in Rockingham.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt gave the green light on Thursday for the 500-pen marina at the southern end of Cockburn Sound, which will also include stacking facilities, boat repair and refuelling services.

Developer Cedar Woods, which will construct the marina, also wants to build a cafe, restaurant and holiday accommodation.

The 77-hectare project had already been given approval by WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob and the Environment Protection Authority.
Mr Ludlam said the whole federal environmental process was 'absurd.' "It was expected – they approve everything," he told Fairfax Media. "It's disappointing but not surprising. No one will be monitoring the compliances, so when the bulldozers turn up there is not going to be someone from the department standing around taking notes."

Mr Ludlam said the Greens hadn't ruled out bringing in lawyers over the approval. "If we get advice the minister has overlooked anything we will challenge it in the court," he said.

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said the marina would damage seagrass beds. "Seagrass beds that are not easily replaced, eliminate habitat and food sources and expose penguins them to injury from boat strikes," she said. "The Penguin Island little penguin breeding population is now half what it was in 2007, with starvation the leading cause. The marina proposal is smack bang in the middle of these animals' feeding and foraging ground, as well as an important fish nursery which supplies their food."

Both Mr Ludlam and Ms MacLaren said the federal minister and the WA EPA failed to examine how the marina will "irrevocably damage" the penguin colony of Penguin Island. "It is not good enough for the federal minister to have ruled out examining the impact on the colony based on the state of knowledge in 2010," she said. "There have been grave concerns for the colony's survival that have been raised since then that have not been taken into account. This type of coastal development is also extremely vulnerable to severe storms and sea level rise and creates a huge liability for taxpayers and ratepayers. The carve-up of this precious public land on the coast, that was set aside for community recreational purposes in 1964, is a moral, social, economic and environmental mistake, and it will be opposed." 


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