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December 16, 2021
The South Gippsland Conservation Society wishes to acknowledge that the Bunurong and Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin nation are the traditional owners of this land, over which they have never ceded sovereignty, and we pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.


Best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year.   We would like to thank all our volunteers for supporting us during a year that was sometimes quite difficult and we look forward to seeing you all at our working bees and member events in 2022.

Conservation Society News

From the President

Hi from Ed


At the November 2021 AGM, after a decade as a member and of indigenous vegetation rehabilitation work on my short reach of the Ayr Creek, in an emotive irrational moment I took on the role of President. I express here thanks to all members, especially to our past president Annette Read.

Our Society welcomes all. Our role is to facilitate the expression of our members’ conservation/environmental dreams at the local level, whether it’s birds, bees, energy, education or advocacy. 

The good ideas department is never empty. However, the defining thing at this time is work. We are an accomplished and capable group but all are short on energy. If any member wishes the Society to facilitate and apportion scarce resources in the pursuit of their good idea, then they must, as the originator, be prepared to do the hard and persistent work required. It is an amazingly efficient way of sorting through priorities.  Nobody is going to do it for you. Help, yes; do it all, no. That’s why joining a collective of the like-minded is so valuable to the individual. Behind every good idea must be an individual champion who keeps the light burning.

Our job in this Society is to be the local beacon for conservation/environmental values. The power of our Society is continuity.  The great victories, such as Screw Creek Reserve, took years.  Persistence and continuity win. We adapt, just as society adapted to the realities of Covid. The value of the local has never been better appreciated. You can see climate change in action at our own Surf Beach. (Don’t forget the Rally Round our Dunes on January 12th.) Or consider that the last uncleared five per cent of this almost wholly cleared shire is at risk of being mined for sand. (Buy Aunt Elisabeth a Save the Western Port Woodlands calendar for Christmas from the shop, and spread the word with a car sticker.)  

And so our Society adapts. It was formed in 1976, around the time Paul Ehrlich came to Melbourne and prophesied that if the average Chinese adopted the lifestyle aspirations of the average American then we were in deep trouble. Of course, this had no effect on our profligate splurge on resources.

On the positive side, this over-cleared, biodiverse-diminished shire now holds some shining lights of conservation/environment: 
  • Phillip Island Nature Parks, the largest not-for-profit of its type in the State, employs hundreds of locals and specialist environmental rehabilitation companies
  • The Bunurong Marine National Park is a world hotspot of seaweed biodiversity and extremely beautiful
  • The Cape is pioneering new forms of living
  • Our council was an early adopter of the green bin, reducing landfill by 80% overnight, diverting organics to make compost to replenish our starved soils
  • Hundreds of individuals have adopted electric mobility
Compared to 1976, we are an environmentally literate and empowered society, gradually emerging from our colonization mindset to a stewardship mindset. 

Never look to government for leadership. Leadership comes from the community. We are the ones well positioned to give a fuller account of our local place to the next generation; we are the ones to lead by example (without doing all the work); we are the ones with the collective gravitas to advocate for conservation/environmental causes. 

- Ed Thexton, SGCS President

Project Updates



Preparations for the ‘Rally Round Our Dunes!’ on 12 January are in full swing. The link to the Rally Q&A is here. With the recommendations of the Victorian Government’s Coastal Hazard Assessment now due in late March, now is the time to show how much we value the surf beach and its dunes and the urgent need for action. Register your intention to attend the Rally here.

A refreshed ICRP exhibition is open for viewing at the Bunurong Environment Centre. Please come and visit and bring your friends, and when you visit, sign our petition for urgently needed funding for short- and long-term surf beach protection. An on-line version of the petition is also available.

- Philip Heath, ICRP representative

Cape to Cape Resilience Project


The Cape to Cape Resilience Project team has issued its Project Update #3 November 2021. The update outlines progress being made with completion of a ground survey and development and refinement of computer models of the coastline. The models have been applied to analyse Inverloch Surf Beach erosion, and are currently being peer reviewed. Adaptation options are to be assessed in early 2022.

It’s encouraging to read of this progress and the focus on Inverloch Surf Beach erosion. Future community engagement opportunities to discuss this work were not provided, but appear unlikely until after the Christmas/New Year holiday period. The Project Update did not provide further advice on the timeline for completion, nor respond to community and Council calls for urgent, short-term beach protection. These matters will be raised at the next Stakeholder Reference Group meeting on 15 December.

 - Philip Heath, SGCS SRG representative

Bunurong Coast Education

Summer Activities Program


There are still vacancies in our exciting Summer Activities Program, scheduled from December 27 to January 30.

Choose from:
  • Walking on Dinosaurs
  • Rockpooling
  • Paleolab
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Inverloch Beach Erosion
  • Wildlife at Night


Calls for Submissions

Planning objection


The Esplanade - Inverloch


Would you like to see this building - 42 apartments with shops, over 3 storeys plus a rooftop bar on the 4th - overshadowing the peaceful, family-oriented Glade?

Planning Application #210247 has been lodged with Council and you can see all the supporting documents here.

We have concerns about:
  • increased parking from visitors to the apartments and the rooftop bar in an already difficult parking environment, especially in Summer
  • the visual impact of the height of the building and its effect on the enjoyment of the Glade and the adjoining playground
  • noise from the rooftop bar, especially if music is permitted
We will be lodging an objection to this development and ask you to do so as well. Details about lodging an objection can be found here.

Other News

Volunteer wanted for Save Western Port Woodlands campaign


General admin duties ~5 hours / week


Volunteer needed with good admin and organisational skills. Ideally seeking someone with the time and capacity to volunteer longer term for 6 – 12 months. This is an opportunity to vitally contribute to the campaign to save Bass Coast’s last coastal woodland.
General admin tasks:
  • Respond to emails / queries.
  • Attend a weekly 1 hour meeting (via Zoom), taking notes and record follow-up actions.
  • Keep track of and liaise with supporters.
  • Keep track of finances (no accounting experience required)
  • At times help to organise events, merchandise and people.

Parliamentary Enquiry into Eco-system decline in Victoria


Report released


You might remember that in August, Conservation Society member Gerard Drew appeared before the Parliamentary Enquiry into Eco-system decline in Victoria. Ours was one of nearly 1000 submissions and Gerard one of 130 witnesses. The report was tabled in Parliament earlier this month.

The report makes more than 60 recommendations to the Victorian Government. Key recommendations include substantially increasing biodiversity and threatened species funding, and using Victoria's existing legal tools to protect habitat and species. 

The key message: Victoria's ecosystems, biodiversity and threatened species are in serious trouble and still in decline. Turning this crisis around will take significant new funding from the Victorian Labor Government which has six months to respond to the report. 


Yallock-Bulluk Access and Infrastructure Plan


Report released


The Conservation Society provided significant input to Consultation stage so it was pleasing to see the report finally released last month.

Dates for your Calendar

Wednesday 12 January     Rally Round the Dunes - Inverloch Surf Club - 10:30am

Monday 27 December        Summer Activity Program commences

Deadline for contributions

We would love to share your photographs and stories in the newsletter. Please send your contributions by Friday 7 January. Email to

Newsletter archive

Read past copies of the newsletter in our archive.
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