Court dismisses appeal against Melbourne channel deepening

By: Jason Whittaker


The Federal Court of Australia has today dismissed an application to block the controversial dredging of Port Phillip Bay. The Port

The Federal Court of Australia has today dismissed an application to block the controversial dredging of Port Phillip Bay.

The Port of Melbourne Corporation immediately declared the channel deepening project, to allow bigger ships access to the port, will proceed as scheduled on February 1.

Justice Peter Heerey dismissed an application by the opponents, Blue Wedges, to overturn federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett's decision to approve the project.

Port Corporation CEO Stephen Bradford says the project will be delivered by the end of 2009 while complying with strict environmental management plans.

Bradford has thanked the court for its "diligent and thorough" review.

"Port Phillip Bay is a valuable asset to the port, as it is to all Victorians, and we embark on this project in the most environmentally responsible manner," he says in a statement.

"This important project is critical to ensuring Melbourne remains Australia's largest container port.

"The port will remain strong and competitive and this will safeguard Victorian jobs now and in the future. Importantly it will also drive business confidence in Victoria."

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