Kingston Coastal Management Plan

Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — I raise a matter for the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. The action I seek is for the minister to work with Kingston City Council to amend its Coastal Management Plan 2014 to respond to the concerns about its potential impacts on the Kingston foreshore and wider community. The Kingston foreshore runs for 13 kilometres and is an incredible community resource. It provides a wonderful attraction during the warmer months of the year, but local residents will attest that this incredible foreshore is majestic all year round. Port Phillip Bay is a hive of activity during the warmer months as Victorians flock to the beaches to share moments with family and friends under the warm sun and careful eye of volunteer lifesavers. Importantly Kingston’s foreshore is also a major environmental asset that must be protected and preserved for future generations. It is incumbent upon this government and future governments to strongly protect this environmental resource and denounce short-term pursuits that might undermine this central goal.

Recently the City of Kingston put forward its Coastal Management Plan 2014 for consideration and approval by the minister. The management plan identifies a number of key precincts along the coastline from Carrum to Mentone. The plan illustrates key attributes of the foreshore, the range of legislation that governs its management, the agencies that protect and preserve it and the significance of its environmental benefits. There are some good things about the Coastal Management Plan 2014, including the consideration of infrastructure needs balanced against protecting the foreshore. Chapter 3 of the plan is entitled ‘Keys to the coast’. Under the heading ‘Natural environment and processes’ Kingston council acknowledges that:

The Kingston foreshore has been recognised as having high conservation values …

The plan goes on to say:

Foreshore vegetation plays an important role in stabilising the dunes, providing habitat and a food source for local and migrating fauna …

However, it is difficult to comprehend a further section of the plan headed ‘The impact of foreshore vegetation on private bay views’, which is described as a ‘hot topic’. One can only conclude that this section is in substantial conflict with the rest of the plan. There is no evidence or justification put forward as to what the effect would be on the environment or how this might exacerbate erosion of the sensitive sand dunes along the foreshore. Council states that:

Some concerns have arisen as a result of foreshore vegetation blocking the bay views of private properties.

The plan goes on to say:

Council will cease planting the tree species … to reduce any future impact on private bay views.

I am left wondering whether council has considered the effects of such a drastic approach and how this would impact on our community. Let me put on the record that in the nine months I have been the member for Mordialloc, and during the three years or over 1300 days that I was an adviser to the federal member for Isaacs, I have never, ever received an inquiry about vegetation and its alleged impacts upon bay views. I would strongly reiterate to Kingston City Council that it, along with the Victorian government, is an entrusted custodian of protecting this environmentally significant foreshore. In conclusion, I ask the minister to work with the City of Kingston to amend the Coastal Management Plan 2014 to respond to the concerns about the impacts it will have on our community.