USERS of Port Phillip and Western Port are being asked to tell Parks Victoria about any risks they know about in either bay.
The feedback may be added to the safety and environment management plan (SEMP) covering the two bays and Port Campbell.
“Our local ports feature unique marine habitats that have been recognised internationally for their diversity and we want to make sure we are serving the community and our marine environment as best we possibly can,” Parks Victoria senior manager local ports and waterways Victor Teoh said.
“We’re keen to hear from a whole range of people who use or enjoy Port Phillip, Western Port or Port Campbell. Whether you’re a swimmer, a recreational boat operator or even a resident living nearby, we’d like to hear your thoughts on our safety and environment management plan and how we can ensure the best outcomes for safety and the environment.”
The draft plan released for public comment says the state government sees climate change as a major risk to the environment, “our way of life and our economy”.
It says port environments could be adversely affected by heatwaves, accelerated erosion events, sea level rise and coastal impacts.
“Long term and immediate impacts of extreme weather are becoming more common and severe,” the plan states.
“The challenge is to provide a safe and reliable service offer by maintaining boating channels, aids to navigational equipment, piers, and jetties, break walls and launching facilities.
“Local port environments will also be effected by climate change with coastal land forms, habitats, flora and fauna experiencing more rapid change.”
Statistics show more than 70 million people visit Parks Victoria’s three “local” ports with 58.9 million in Port Phillip, 8.7 million in Western Port and 3.2 million at Port Campbell.
“Parks Victoria manages local port infrastructure and facilities across a diverse range of commercial and recreational activities,” Mr Teoh said.
“Managing the interaction of these activities and the supporting infrastructure is challenging and resource intensive and this is a great opportunity to provide feedback about the future management of safety and conservation on the water.”
The three ports include 40 piers, wharves and jetties; 2500 moorings and berths; 1000 navigational aids as well as dredged channels, harbours, slipways, breakwaters, sea walls and launching sites within the local ports.
The final draft of the Safety and Environment Management Plan and details about how to submit are available at www.parkweb.vic.gov.au
The deadline for submissions is 18 March 2016.
Call Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit www.parks.vic.gov.au