5 July 2016

Page 13


Beach erosion ‘natural’ – govt Liz Bell liz@mpnews.com.au Steve Romig’s protest was missed by Greg Hunt but picked up by the federal police.

Note of ‘dischord’ outside MP’s office It was at this stage that the troubadours spotted the four-wheel drive with darkened windows. “We noticed the occupants watching us and thought it may have been Greg avoiding us,” Snelson said. “Steve decided to walk over to them, continuing his singing. “Once he finished his song the occupants exited the car and introduced themselves as federal undercover police officers. “They were very friendly and we all had a laugh about Steve having just serenaded them. “They confirmed they were called by Greg's office before the staff had left. They also confirmed the staff left because of us, which was interesting considering Steve hadn't even gone near Greg’s office at that point. “They explained their presence was precautionary only and agreed their presence was probably overkill given the circumstances.” Show over, Romig and his entourage moved to High St and the VEC polling “shop” where, according to Snelson, they found a few other Flinders candidates “were more than happy to talk to Steve and get involved with him. A very different outcome to what we faced at Greg Hunt’s office. Keith Platt

Caring for nature NATURE lovers and those who like to get outside are invited to join the Balcombe Estuary Reserve Group (BERG) during its working bees on the second Sunday of each month. Sturdy boots or shoes, long pants and long sleeves are required to minimise the risk of scratches, injury from tools or bites. BERG will supply drinking water and gardening gloves. The next working bee runs 9am-midday Sunday 10 July at the top of the Rabbit Paddock above the Ferrero ovals, Mt Martha. Inquiries: Liz Barraclough, 0408 388430. Other activities: Friday working bees 10ammidday. Details: Sue Betheras 0408 808 201 or Liz Barraclough 0408 388 430; Tuesday morning (monthly – second Tuesday) 9am-midday (meet behind Mt Martha Preschool). Details: Jenny Selby 0432 719 288; Wednesday morning (monthly – third Wednesday) 9am-midday; foreshore group. Details: Suzanne Ryan 0418 387 604; and WaterWatch. Details: John Inchley 5974 1095.







MUSICIAN Steve Romig didn’t quite get the audience he was hoping for when singing a protest song outside the Hastings office of Flinders MP Greg Hunt. A troubadour with a message about his concern for the environment, Romig, of Tootgarook, says the Environment Minister’s staff quickly left and locked the office before he even played a note. Despite the empty office he decided to continue his performance, even though it seemed his only public audience were the occupants of a mysterious black four-wheel drive, parked just across the car park. His manager, Michael Snelson, of Balnarringbased Soul Management, said Mr Hunt’s staff “shut up shop” just after 10am Thursday as he and Romig were waiting for Arts Party Senate candidate, Maureen Andrew. “They literally closed the office and drove away. We know this as other members of the general public were trying to get into the office and couldn't enter, so they all left,” Snelson said. “Steve decided to continue and commenced his peaceful protest by singing his song Come My Children.”

A LEADING state government environmental monitoring agency is playing down about erosion on Mornington Peninsula beaches. Alarm is mounting over the loss of sand at several beaches, including McCrae, with claims that sand loss is due to weather and the deepening of Port Phillip shipping channels. Paul Millsom, of McCrae, has accused authorities of ignoring the threat and not doing enough to protect the coastline (“Bay beachers faces diminishing returns”, The News 28/6/16). Port Phillip Baykeeper Neil Blake echoed Mr Millsom's fears, drawing on data that suggests the increases in tide heights are substantially greater than predicted by consultants' reports prepared for the Port of Melbourne Corporation before the 2008-2009 channel dredging. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning spokesman Nick Talbot said last week the department was “not aware of significant erosion along the Mornington Peninsula from storm events this year”. Mr Blake has recorded and mapped Point Nepean beach profiles and water levels, citing significant erosion exacerbated by channel deepening over the past five years. He has just started a study of McCrae beach. He said the “prevailing” view that beach sand lost along the peninsula will eventually return had resulted in the real threat being ignored. “We know that sea levels are rising, so councils and governments need to be acting now,” he said. Mr Talbot said sand movements at McCrae

Beach were not related to channel deepening and were a “natural occurrence”. “Sand movements at McCrae beach are driven by wind-generated waves from within Port Phillip, rather than ocean swell and as such these movements are expected to increase during storm events,” he said. “The coastline is a dynamic environment with sand movements along Port Phillip Bay being a natural occurrence that DELWP continues to monitor.”

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