Signing up to sink floating gas plant

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A PETITION presented to Hastings MP Neale Burgess on Friday – which he will present to state parliament – opposes power company AGL’s proposal for a floating gas plant at Crib Point to process liquid natural gas.

Mr Burgess says he has consistently supported the Crib Point community’s opposition to new port developments.

“I made a commitment to this community while in government that there would be no industrial development south of Hastings,” he said.

“It’s time the wishes of Crib Point residents came first.”

The gas plant, or floating storage regasification unit (FSRU), is a 290-metre vessel planned to be moored at the Crib Point jetty. It would convert LNG to gas to be transported by a new pipeline to Pakenham.

To accommodate the vessel the Port of Hastings Development Authority is undertaking what it says are “remediation works” on the jetty which are expected to be completed in January 2019 (“Jetty gets ready for gas” The News 15/5/18).

The No AGL Gas Terminal for Crib Point group says the process of converting LNG from liquid to gas would require 450 million litres of seawater a day, “sterilised” with chlorine, and returned to the bay six degrees Celsius colder than the surrounding water.

The group says little is known about the potential effects of this process on Western Port’s fragile marine life.

It has also raised fears of fire or explosion and for the potential for tankers under “flags of convenience” transporting the LNG to be poorly maintained and crewed with cheap, foreign labour.

It says the unit poses a potential negative impact on local businesses dependent on tourism and fishing, and that construction of 60 kilometres of pipeline from Crib Point to Pakenham would disrupt landowners and the environment with “its own inherent risks”.

A public meeting at Crib Point Community Centre on Tuesday 8 May attended by 130 residents voted to “move the anti-gas terminal gas campaign forward”.

The Crib Point Action Group last year prepared a detailed plan for the 320 hectares of port land at Crib Point, which includes new parkland, some housing and rural residential lots.

The anti-AGL group supports the community plan and wants the state government to abolish the port zoning in Crib Point and adopt the community vision for the future of the township.

“I cannot believe that when federal government ministers and Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors are told of our serious concerns over the proposed AGL floating storage gas terminal to be moored at Crib Point jetty they all tell us to talk to AGL about our worries and go to their website to find out more,” Crib Point resident Rod Knowles said (“MP urges ‘feedback’ for gas terminal” The News 22/5/18)

“All governments involved should be carrying out joint independent and rigorous reviews of AGL’s assessments on their FSRU proposal.

“Yet all these governments seem to be taking notice only of AGL in this matter … I call on them to please listen to the people – not the multi-nationals. That is what we elect [them] for.”

First published in the Western Port News – 29 May 2018

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