Proponent: Port of Melbourne Corporation (POMC)

The Port Phillip Bay Channel Deepening Project involves deepening sections of the shipping channels to the Port of Melbourne in order to accommodate vessels with a draught of up to 14 metres.


May 2002: the Minister for Planning required the Victorian Channels Authority (now the PoMC) to prepare an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) under the Environment Effects Act 1978 to investigate the potential environmental effects of the Channel Deepening Project.

July 2004: the EES was released for public comment in July 2004.

Note: the Supplementary Environmental Effects Statement (SEES) released in March 2007 has replaced the EES.

July 2004: an Inquiry was appointed to consider the Channel Deepening Project, including the EES and public submissions.  

March 2005:, the Minister for Planning released the EES Inquiry Report together with a Ministerial Statement providing a provisional response to the Inquiry's recommendations:.

  • July 2005: the Minister for Planning issued a statement requiring  PoMC to prepare a Supplementary Environment Effects Statement (SEES) and setting out the broad requirements for the SEES process. The SEES further investigates matters previously assess in the EES released for public comment in July 2004:-
  • October 2005: the Minister issued Assessment Guidelines to guide the preparation of the SEES by PoMC:-
  • 22 March – 7 May 2007: the SEES was exhibited for public comment.

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) appointed an Independent Expert Group (IEG) to provide advice on environmental investigations being carried out by the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) for the Channel Deepening Project SEES.

The members of the IEG and their expertise were:

  • Dr Graham Mitchell – Chair of the IEG and one of the Chief Scientists of DPCD
  • Professor Michael Keough, Melbourne University – specialist in marine ecology
  • Dr John Parlsow, CSIRO Marine Research Division – specialist in ecological modelling
  • Dr Kerry Black, ASR Consulting – specialist in hydrodynamics and coastal processes
  • Mr Nick Bray, Dredging Research Ltd. UK – specialist in dredging.

During the SEES process, the IEG provided advice within their area of expertise to the Secretary DPCD and SEES Inquiry.

The Minister for Planning appointed Dr Allan Hawke, Ms Kathy Mitchell and Dr Mike Lisle-Williams under the Environment Effects Act 1978 to conduct an inquiry into the project, in the context of the SEES and public submissions:-

Channel Deepening SEES Terms of Reference Channel  Deepening SEES (PDF, 243.5 KB)

  • 18 June – 31 July 2007: Public hearings conducted by Inquiry to consider the SEES and public submissions.
  • 13 August 2007: SEES Inquiry received further submissions on the PoMC's Environmental Management Plan (Revision C) and the Reports on rock scour at the Entrance tabled at the Inquiry by PoMC on Friday 27 July 2007.
  • 20 August 2007: PoMC provided response to submissions received by 13 August 2007.

More information

For further information visit the Port of Melbourne website.