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AGL defeat ‘start’ for community action Keith Platt keith@mpnews.com.au THE community is being urged to see the state government’s rejection of AGL’s gas import terminal at Crib Point as “the start and not the end” of action to protect Western Port. The Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Foundation chair, Jo McCoy, said AGL’s plan had created a “focal point and motivation” for municipal councils, traditional owners and the community “to frame conversations around population growth and development projects in a way sympathetic to our sensitive environment”. The biosphere foundation includes the five “member councils” whose boundaries fall wholly or partly within the biosphere: Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, Casey, Bass Coast and Cardinia (see map). Ms McCoy said many of the threats to the region were gradual, and included climate change, increased sediment flowing into Western Port from agriculture and “poorly planned” residential development, waste and emissions from industry and recreational activities and “behaviours insensitive to the environment”. “We are stepping up our skills and resources to broaden our reach and effectiveness throughout the Western Port Biosphere Reserve region,” she said.“The Victorian government’s decision to reject AGL’s proposal [and pipeline to Pakenham] … should mark the start and not the end of community action to preserve the internationally

The Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve Location and Zonation Map

Casey Frankston City Frankston

Port

Queenscliff

Phillip

Cardinia

Koo Wee Rup

Bay

Mornington Tooradin

Yaringa Marine National Park

Mud Island Marine Reserve

Western Port

Quail Island

Mornington Peninsula

French Island MarineNational Park

Hastings

Portsea Harold Holt Marine Reserve

Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve

Devilbend Natural Features Reserve

Dromana

Sorrento

Rosebud Arthurs Seat State Park

Mornington Peninsula

Greens Bush National Park

Park

Nyora

Stony Point Main Ridge Flora Reserve

National

French Island National Park

Tankerton

French Island Gurdies Nature Conservation Reserve

Coolart Historic Area

Grantville Flora and Fauna Reserve

Bass Coast

Cowes Churchill Island Marine National Park

Legend Biosphere Boundary (Stage 1) Shire/City Boundary

Phillip Island

Cape Schanck

Port Access Zone

Penguin reserve

River/Creek

Bass

Roads

Reserves In Stage One

Strait

Stage 1 Zones

Newhaven

Bass

San Remo

Phillip Island Nature Park

Kilcunda Cape Woolamai

Buffer zone

State Coal Mine Historic Area

Commonwealth Owned Land Core Zone Marine Core Zone Other Ramsar Area

Cape Patterson

Reserve

Bunurong Marine National Park

New Buffer Zone

Note - Areas not shown as core or buffer zones are part of the transition area

0

2.75

5.5

Kilometers

11

®

acclaimed Western Port Biosphere Reserve. “However, it is important that the community maintains momentum in addressing the challenges we face in achieving sustainable development in the region. “The Western Port Biosphere is known for its natural environment,

including world class wetlands and its importance as a destination for migratory birds from as far away as Siberia.” Ms McCoy said UNESCO did not recognise biospheres “in order to preserve the environment at all costs, but to designate areas where it was possible to reconcile the conservation of high value biodiversity”.

Printed by the Western Port Biosphere Reserve 09/04/2014

Western Port’s Ramsar wetlands met that designation and “decisions needed to be based on good science that enables people to live in harmony with their natural environment”. Without coming out directly against a proposal for a quarry at Arthurs Seat, the biosphere foundation says it will “argue for protection of the natural en-

vironment and the biodiversity of the region” as the proposal is within what the biosphere defines as a core conservation zone (national parks or conservation reserves). Charitable organisation the Ross Trust, and the company it owns, Hillview Quarries, plan to dig the quarry on the north face of Arthurs Seat which would destroy remnant oldgrowth bushland that is home to koalas and 27 threatened or endangered species (“Holding Ground for Arthur’s Seat” The News 20/4/21). “We are seeking opportunities to partner more closely with stakeholders [government, business, traditional owners and community groups] within the biosphere reserve boundaries to develop programs such as water stewardship, which had successfully helped local landholders and businesses manage water on their properties and ensure its quality is improved downstream,” Ms McCoy said. “Managing our natural resources sustainably can be environmentfriendly, while improving the bottom line.” Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Best Bites program is used as an example of a partnership the biosphere foundation is “proud to be involved with”. “Best Bites is an important initiative to support and promote the local food economy and safe and healthy food, while also encouraging businesses to excel in the areas of energy and water efficiency, waste management and recycling,” the foundation’s website states.

Southern Peninsula News

28 April 2021

PAGE 13

Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

Southern Peninsula News 27 April 2021  

Southern Peninsula News 27 April 2021

Southern Peninsula News 27 April 2021  

Southern Peninsula News 27 April 2021

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