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East Gippsland Council proposal bad for Bastion Point

Environment groups campaigning against the East Gippsland Shire Council’s breakwater development proposal for Bastion Point today delivered to the Victorian Government 1400 postcards signed by people urging it to protect the icon of the Wilderness Coast.

When delivering the postcards to Hon Elaine Carbines, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, representatives of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne Save Bastion Group and the Mallacoota Coast Care/Coast Action outlined their serious concerns about the environmental, social, economic and safety impacts of the Council’s proposed development.

Those concerns are shared by the Friends of Mallacoota, Far East Gippsland Boardriders and the Surfrider Foundation Australia, the other groups involved in the campaign.

“How the Victorian Government acts on Bastion Point will be a real test of its commitment to coastal and marine protection,” said Chris Smyth, ACF’s Marine Campaign Coordinator. “Under the Council’s proposal, Bastion Point would be transformed from a natural icon into an industrial zone, with its scenic and wilderness coast values ripped apart.”

“Through its deeply flawed Environment Effects Statement process the East Gippsland Shire Council has shown itself to be incapable of resolving the decades-old Bastion Point problem. An independent body and an inclusive process should determine a long-term sustainable and community-supported solution to ocean access.”

“Bastion Point is a popular spot for surfing, swimming, beachcombing, rock pool rambling, scientific study, snorkelling, relaxing, angling and many other recreational and social activities throughout the year,” said Narelle Warren of the Melbourne Save Bastion Group. “These uses would disappear under tonnes of concrete, rubble, rocks and sand if the East Gippsland Shire’s breakwater proposal proceeds and have a serious social impact on the town.”

“The breakwater would encourage inexperienced boat users to launch into Bass Strait’s treacherous waters, creating serious risks for them and the people who would have to rescue them,” said Leo Op den Brouw of Mallacoota Coast Action.

“Mallacoota’s tourism future depends on protecting the area’s internationally renowned natural capital and Wilderness Coast values. These features and the area’s low-key development are major drawcards for residents and visitors to Mallacoota.”

"The proposed development would greatly compromise most visitors’ experience of East Gippsland's Wilderness Coast,” said Phil Ingamells of the Victorian National Parks Association. "There are far less intrusive alternatives to the East Gippsland Shire Council's Bastion Point breakwater proposal that would protect Bastion Point's remarkable natural, social and cultural values, while improving safety and supporting the town's economy."