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Mount Martha North Beach – Keep the Bathing Boxes

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) — I rise this afternoon to address the issue of Mount Martha north beach. This is an issue that has had a number of appearances in debates in this place previously.

For more than a decade the beach has been subject to frequent inundation from the bay, resulting in considerable sand loss, damage to the cliff face and damage to existing bathing boxes.

Sand renourishment has occurred — in excess of 10 000 cubic metres of sand has been transported from the south — but given the prevailing weather conditions and the breakup of the reef that formerly protected the northern end of the beach, that sand has been lost.

The most recent problems have caused the beach to be closed. There has been significant damage to the cliff face at the southern end of the beach.

Late last year I met with representatives from the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change’s office to discuss the issue and to seek support for works to protect the cliff face from further undermining.

To her credit the minister approved the works very promptly and the existing revetment is being extended to the south to ensure that the cliff face is protected.

Unfortunately there is a chance that some of the existing bathing boxes may need to be removed to facilitate the works. The occupancy of bathing boxes on the foreshore has been an ongoing matter for local debate, and predictably bathing box opponents have seized on this opportunity to have even more boxes permanently removed from the foreshore.

I want to place on record my total opposition to any lessee being forced to surrender their licence because a bathing box must be temporarily removed. The Mount Martha bathing boxes, on both north beach and south beach, are a feature of the area, and much loved.

I urge the minister to ensure that as these urgent and very necessary works are undertaken that no licensee is dispossessed of their opportunity to maintain their bathing box on Mount Martha north beach.

Legislative Assembly 20 February 2018