Mayor backs port plans

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MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Bryan Payne thinks the floating gas terminal proposal for Crib Point is “a good thing”.

Cr Payne, speaking on ABC radio on Monday, said the area between Crib Point and Hastings was designated for port-related purposes, which he believed fitted AGL’s floating gas terminal and a pilot plant to convert hydrogen gas to liquid at Hastings.

Although the proposals were yet to go before council, Cr Payne said he believed environmental concerns and the two proposals could coexist.

He said the council was campaigning to have 70 per cent of the peninsula “enshrined” in Green Wedge zoning.

“We are very environmentally concerned,” he said.

Cr Payne’s comments came before a meeting organised by the No AGL Gas Terminus for Crib Point group which starts at 7.30pm tonight (Tuesday 8 May) at Crib Point Community House.

The group has expressed fears that the proposal by AGL to moor a floating LNG (liquid natural gas) to gas terminal at Crib Point could detrimentally effect the environment and pose a health risk.

The group is also opposed to the hydrogen plant being built at Hastings, which also involves AGL, to export liquid hydrogen to Japan.

The hydrogen gas will be extracted from brown coal trucked to Hastings from the Latrobe Valley.

“Japan will get the benefit of a clean green fuel while we are left with the dangerous emissions from burning brown coal,” Candy Spender-van Rood of the No AGL Gas Terminus for Crib Point group said. Speakers at tonight’s meeting will provide information about the possible dangers as well as the environmental implications, and the fact that there will be no jobs for locals.

Information sessions are also being organised by Hastings MP Neale Burgess and an international consultancy firm hired by the business consortium behind the half billion dollar coal to hydrogen project. The project has been promised $100 million from the state and federal governments.

While planning approvals are yet to be given, work on the pilot plant at Hastings is expected to begin next year with the first exports within three years.

Two information sessions at Hastings are being organised by GHD, an international consultancy firm hired by the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

GHD says the information sessions are designed “for people to find out more about an Australia-Japan HESC project to safely and efficiently produce and transport clean hydrogen from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to Japan via the Port of Hastings”.

“This is an exciting joint venture between Japan and Australia, which will put our countries at the forefront of the developing hydrogen clean energy industry, and bring jobs and economic growth to Victoria,” Kawasaki’s executive officer Dr Eiichi Harada said.

GHD describes the HESC project as an “innovative, world-first” with the pilot project demonstrating “the viability of producing liquefied hydrogen, from brown coal in Victoria for export to Japan”.

Information will be available at Hastings Community Hub, 1973 Frankston-Flinders Road, 2pm–8pm Thursday 10 May and 9am-1pm Thursday 24 May at the High Street market.

First published in the Western Port News – 8 May 2018

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