At 6am on January 29, environmental activists from the Bellarine Seastar — an arm of the Blue Wedges Coalition — crammed onto the Point Lonsdale pier, on the western side of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, to protest the arrival in the bay of the giant Dutch dredging ship, the Queen of the Netherlands.
The ship has been contracted by the Victorian state Labor government to dredge a new shipping channel in the bay. The dredging operation will release large amounts of toxic sediment into the bay's waters. A flotilla of about 25 protest boats swarmed around the dredger after it entered the heads before docking at Melbourne's South Wharf at about 11am.
The Port Lonsdale pier protesters reconvened two days later outside the electorate office of state Labor MP and community services minister Lisa Neville in the east Geelong suburb of Newcomb. They demanded that she listen to their concerns about the $1 billion dredging project. She has agreed to meet the protesters on February 8.