Australian Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has declined the Victorian government's proposal to construct an offshore wind terminal at the Port of Hastings, citing potential environmental impacts on the Western Port Ramsar wetlands.
The rejected plans outlined the development of a facility for assembling wind turbines dedicated to offshore wind farms. The proposal involved substantial alterations to the environment, including dredging up to 92 hectares (227 acres) of the wetlands and reclaiming 29 hectares of seabed.
In her rejection statement, Minister Plibersek expressed concerns about the significant impact on the wetlands, stating that “large areas of the [wetland] will be destroyed or substantially modified as a result of direct impacts of the proposed action.”
The Victorian government had allocated AUS$27 million in its latest budget to advance the offshore wind terminal, aiming to support the generation of up to 1GW of offshore wind annually for multiple projects.
Minister Plibersek emphasized that the proposed plan posed a risk of irreversible damage to the habitat of waterbirds, migratory birds, marine invertebrates, and fish. She underscored that such damages could not be adequately mitigated or offset.
The decision reflects the government's commitment to environmental conservation and protection of sensitive ecosystems, highlighting the challenges associated with balancing renewable energy development and preserving crucial natural habitats.