As a leading advocate for the Bay, the ABM influences major projects affecting the region, striving for significant, positive outcomes for coastal communities, visitors and the environment.
Ban on single use plastic bags
The Association of Bayside Municipalities (ABM) called on the Victorian State Government to join South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, the ACT and Queensland in passing legislation to ban the distribution of free single use plastic bags.
As coastal councils, the ABM is acutely aware of the impacts of plastic bags on marine wildlife and waterways, and the amenity of our beaches, foreshores and parklands. Port Phillip Bay is home to internationally significant coastal reserves, wetlands and waterways and the ten councils of the ABM play a key role in managing these significant assets.
The ten councils of the ABM unanimously called for greater action to reduce the distribution and use of plastic bags. The ABM councils are demonstrating their leadership and commitment to reducing single use plastic bags through local operations and services – developing policies and strategies to reduce the use of plastic bags, implementing education campaigns to encourage community action, and ensuring council run or supported events are plastic free.
Marine and Coastal Act
On 1 August 2018, the Marine and Coastal Act 2018 came into effect. The new Act replaces the existing Coastal Management Act 1995 and provides a simpler, more integrated and coordinated approach to planning and managing the marine and coastal environment.
Development of a new Marine and Coastal Act was an election commitment of the Victorian Government. An Expert Panel was established to guide development of the new Act and arrangements. A stakeholder reference group was also formed to provide input. The MAV and ABM were members of the stakeholder reference group.
96% of the Victorian coastline is Crown Land.
About 30% of coastal public land is managed by Committees of Management (CoMs).
More than 60 different entities are involved in coastal and marine management.
All 22 councils along the coast have responsibilities as a CoM.
There are 5 Category 1 CoMs on Victoria’s coast and the remaining CoMs are Category 2.
Surveys indicate that four out of five Victorians visit the beach each year
Draft Environmental Management Plan for Port Phillip Bay
The ABM was strong in its advocacy on behalf of coastal councils during negotiations for the Port of Melbourne Lease.
This contributed to securing an agreement for ongoing monitoring of Bay health; cessation of additional major dredging of shipping channels or widening/ deepening of the Bay entrance; and the establishment of a $10 million fund for the Bay.
Through direct communications with the State Treasurer and Port of Melbourne Select Committee, the ABM proposed a set of principles for maintaining the environmental health and amenity of Port Phillip Bay. While not all the principles were agreed to, they provided a framework for ongoing discussions.
The principles included:
Adopt the Treasurer’s Principle, “Do no harm” to the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of Port Phillip Bay.
Ensure the health, amenities, economic benefits and environment of the Bay are protected for present and future generations.
Prepare and publish a comprehensive report outlining the current health and condition of Port Phillip Bay including water quality, marine biodiversity and shoreline conditions.
Ensure impacts to amenities are rectified to a high standard that reflects community expectations, current and future needs.
Establish a ‘Fund’ from the Port of Melbourne lease to improve the amenity of the Bay.
Prior to any decision to lease the Port, the State Government commits to its promise to consider all options for future port operations within and outside Port Phillip Bay. Outcomes should then be referred to Infrastructure Victoria for a decision.
Channel Deepening Project
The ABM undertook an independent peer review of the Environment Effects Statement for the Port Phillip Channel Deepening Project outcomes. The ABM’s lobbying, on behalf of the citizens of Victoria, ensured the Port of Melbourne committed to more effective monitoring and timely distribution of information to coastal communities about the Channel Deepening project.