5 July 2017

Page 7

NEWS DESK

State takes over port control Keith Platt keith@baysidenews.com.au THE state government has this week taken over the management of the Port of Hastings through the Victorian Channels Authority. The port was run under contract until 30 June by Patrick Ports Hastings, also known as Linx Stevedoring. As from 1 July the harbourmaster Captain Shane Vedamuttu and assistants Capt Chris Noon and Capt Martin Leavold will be responsible for shipping in and out of Western Port with the Port of Hastings Development Authority (PoHDA) managing the ports on-land requirements (jetties, land side infrastructure and port maintenance). The port authority’s eight staff - down from a peak of 30 full time and 30 part time staff, including consultants – will now be based at Stony Point alongside the harbourmasters. “The PoHDA will have responsibility for oil spill responses in the port and along the Victorian coast line between Cape Schanck and Wilsons Promontory and all emergency response within the port,” Capt Vedamuttu said. About 100 ships have visited the port in each of the past three years, either picking up gas, crude oil or steel for export or importing petroleum products. In the 1970s and 1980s there were about 600 ship movements a year. The port management moves follow a recommendation in May to the government by Infrastructure Victoria that the state’s next container port be built at Bay West, in Port Phillip north of Geelong and not at Hastings. The Advice on Securing Victoria’s Ports Capacity report also states that it is unlikely there will be a need for a new container port until 2055, with detailed planning needed to begin in 2040. While a previous state Labor government saw Hastings as its preferred site for a container port, this was changed after the subsequent Liberal state government established the Port of Hastings Development Authority. Following Labor’s 2014 election victory the authority was stripped of finance and staff.

Weed killer on trial AN ALTERNATIVE weed killer will be trialled around Kingston playgrounds for the next 12 months. Mayor Cr David Eden said the existing weed-control product Round Up containing glyphosate is approved for use by the World Health Organisation, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and WorkSafe but council is happy to trial other options due to community feedback. “Over the next 12 months council will be using herbicide Local Safe around our 114 playgrounds to see how it performs,” Cr Eden said. “While our current product is perfectly safe we are adopting a proactive approach in key areas around playgrounds and using a vinegar-based product instead of chemicals.” Round Up is regarded as being substantially cheaper and more effective in controlling weeds when compared with other products or steam-based treatments. The European Union declared in March that there is no scientific evidence to suggest glyphosate causes cancer.

Pizza and books

Management changes: Shipping in the Port of Hastings is now being managed by the state government from offices and yards at Stony Point through the Victorian Regional Channels Authority (harbour control and harbourmaster) and the Port of Hastings Development Authority (infrastructure, maintenance and oil spills).

TEENAGE book fans can snack on pizza while helping choose new books for Kingston libraries at a Readz Teen Activity Club event at 4pm on Tuesday 25 July at Cheltenham Library. The event will include new books from Readings Carlton and a drawing workshop. Held every second month, the club brings together 12-16-year-olds for an hour of activities and to share the latest news and views about books. Bookings essential. Call 1300 135 668 or see kingston.vic.gov.au/library

Stingray catch limit on the horizon FISHERIES Victoria has called for public comment on proposed new rules to reduce the killing of stingrays, skates and guitarfish but an action group wants killing completely banned. Fisheries is proposing cutting the bag limit from five rays a day a person to one; a 400-metre exclusion zone around human-made structures including jetties, piers and break walls; and a ban on killing rays over 1.5 metres wide. The 800-member Project Banjo action group, led by Safety Beach resident and scuba diver PT Hirschfield, says the changes “would be a move in the right direction” but the group wanted a complete ban on taking rays. The group’s move to ban killing gained traction on social media when Ms Hirschfield posted photos of a mutilated ray under Rye pier earlier this year. A petition launched in April garnered more than 28,000 signatures. Ms Hirschfield was interviewed in The News of 18 April (“Cruel end for ‘puppies’ of the sea”) about the killing of a smooth ray, which “lived” under Rye pier.

Ms Hirschfield said the group had almost 800 members. Rays were now protected in Western Australia and it was hoped Victoria and other states would follow suit, she said. “Rays provide benefits to both natural and human-made underwater ecosystems where they perform vital filtration services to maintain habitat health, which will benefit all water users. “Many recreational fishers, charter companies and fishing identities have publicly expressed their support of our position after seeing disturbing photo and video evidence.” Fisheries Victoria said it would provide additional education and enforcement initiatives, including signs on piers that attract rays. Public consultation runs until 14 August. Email responses to stingray.consultation@ecodev.vic.gov.au Project Banjo details: projectbanjoactiongroup@gmail. com Ray ban: Fisheries Victoria may limit stingray catches but Project Banjo wants a total ban on killing. Picture supplied

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5 July 2017

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