FOI Documents Reveal A Lower Impact Solution For Bastion Point Was Recommended By Government Taskforce
Documents have recently been obtained by Freedom of Information (FOI) from the Department of Transport (DoT) that show that the controversial ‘Option 3b’ breakwater and beach road proposed by East Gippsland Shire Council (EGSC) was not the preferred solution of DoT executive for Mallacoota’s Bastion Point. It recommended that Minister Napthine support the lower impact, Option H2’. Read our Media Release here and the Snowy River Mail .
The documents directly refute EGSC’s recent public claims that the lower impact options did not meet relevant design guidelines or usability and were rejected by the Department of Transport. Please read the documents here.
After coming to Government with a promise to review the long running and controversial project, DoT developed the lower impact option they named Option H2. The Executive Director of Freight, Logistics and Marine of DoT advised Minister Napthine that of the 254 submissions to a community consultation, the ‘vast majority (88.2%) would prefer to see a smaller development than Option 3b’. This included the Boating Industry Association of Victoria submission.
In June 2012 the Executive Director wrote to the Minister recommending; ‘The whole of Government project group has formed a view that Option H2 would perform as well or better than Council’s preferred Option 3b. It has significantly fewer environmental impacts and provides an estimated cost saving of $2 million…DSE has advised they will take a submission to Cabinet in July 2012 seeking endorsement of Option H2’.
Yet, the unpopular Option 3b has been given Coastal Management Act approval, with construction tender documents being released last week.
It is believed that direct and close communication between Mallacoota businessmen and Minister Peter Ryan led to the overturning of the advice by the Department of Transport. The material that points to this conclusion may be read here in FOI material obtained from EGSC – the Mallacoota businessman copied all his letters to the Council.
Please add your message, and send an electronic postcard to East Gippsland Mayor Dick Ellis, and local MP Tim Bull, here.
Hundreds of locals and visitors gathered at Bastion Point on Easter Sunday 31 May 2013, to both celebrate Bastion and make the Point to East Gippsland Shire Council that opposition to 3b is as strong as ever. The centre piece was an enormous white elephant, symbolic of both the over sized 3b proposal and the drain it will be on the public purse.
To the beat of drums the crowd paraded under the elephant and along the beach, waving placards and marine motifs, adding colour and movement to the afternoon. See reports in the Snowy River Mail, Eden Magnet, and Bairnsdale Advertiser.
Video footage was taken of different aspects of the day, which will be used to promote our cause.
Late in the afternoon 30 surfers paddled out for a traditional and moving ceremony to honour the memory of Dave Allan. Dave was one of the three locals who gave “Broken Board” surf break its name.
On Sunday evening people filled the Mudbrick Pavilion to enjoy the music at the concert “Standing Together for the Last Bastion.” The audience was entertained with great music by a range of musicians. Thanks to all involved, especially Justin Brady for putting it all together.